Judie's Blog: Once Watt, Never Not
A little bit about me...
I am a Year 5 Taiwanese Actuarial Science student and joined as a second-year entrant (so this is actually my third year in Edinburgh.)
A fun fact about me, this is my eighth year abroad, and on average, I move to a new place every two years. I studied O-Levels in Singapore, A-Levels in York, and worked in London for a year. I decided to go abroad as I would like to widen my horizon and enhance my life experiences. Often people asked me whether I was afraid to leave home at 14, I was actually just too curious to fear. For international students, purposes are more important than anything else just because it gives direction.
I chose Heriot-Watt for two reasons, the course and the location. I was interested in Actuarial Science and thought Heriot-Watt would be great as the oldest university providing the course as well as the placement year. I went to a few university open days and realized that campus universities were more for me just because the ones without campus are just too much temptation. It made Heriot-Watt great as it is a campus that is not too far from the downtown.
Life At Heriot-Watt
I always believe that one way to learn more is through people, as they tell you their personal stories.
Life on campus is brilliant because of the accommodation facility, activities, and people. I have lived in Christina Miller, Leonard Horner, and Muriel Spark halls, and throughout the years, I saw the constant improvement in the accommodation. There are a lot of activities, e.g. Wednesday chaplaincy dinner and Thursday accommodation social in Christina Miller. Most importantly, people here are just great – I am still in touch with my flatmate from fresher’s year, and catch up with my current flatmates at least once every week. This is a brilliant opportunity to make friends!
If you don’t live on campus, there is still plenty to do at the university. There are regular events in the student union, and the most recent one was the Annual Beer Festival where you just get to try all sorts of different beer! It’s one of the must-try in Edinburgh for sure. Also, remember to pop into chaplaincy from time to time as there are various events, Tuesday soup, Wednesday dinner, and regular trips.
Societies are a great opportunity to get involved. I was part of Heriot-Watt orchestra and TEDxHeriotWatt, and I also founded Heriot-Watt Taiwanese society. These societies expanded my social groups massively and kept me busy during the semester.
Edinburgh as a city is chilled but not dead. I always go around the city to hunt for good café with mates. For “me time”, I just go to the cinema regularly (with an unlimited card.) If you ask me how to find off-campus events, the tip is to make the most of social media. There are plenty events in Edinburgh, and you will not be bored.
Being an international student in the UK
Staying away from home is never easy, and there are always challenges like culture, languages, loneliness, and etc. To survive well, it is very important to remember the purpose of going abroad.
For those deciding to go abroad, here are a few things to think about:
- why do you want to go abroad?
- how do you achieve what you want?
- are you ready for the challenges?
Take me as an example, I wanted life experiences, and going abroad allows me to meet more people which helps me understand more of other people’s life experiences as well as creating my own. I knew English and culture would be hard, but I was mentally prepared for that.
For those already here, if you are looking for a job in the UK, remember to use the Career Service as they are very friendly and helpful. Also, do start searching early because opportunities are limited. It is very important to understand what your interests are, and this can be helped if you start the research early. Lastly, if you are a foreign fresher, you might wish to do a placement as that gives you a brief idea whether the UK is a good workplace for you.
Hope you enjoyed a bit of the experience sharing today and please let me know if you would like to have a chat about anything mentioned above 😊
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