The Student speaks to Edinburgh freshers about their university experience so far

Ignoring the hijinks of ‘Welcome Week’, the first five days of ‘real’ university have now come to a close.

Gone are the seemingly never-ending nights spent in Hive, excessive drinking and slightly awkward flat parties, instead having been replaced by admin, lectures and a constantly increasing workload.

For many, the transition to university can be a daunting experience, fraught with difficulties.

This week The Student spoke to some of the University of Edinburgh’s newest students to find out how they have been settling into the city, student accommodation, the university and the Edinburgh lifestyle.

Accommodation is one of the biggest worries for students who have just moved away from home.

The Student spoke to a group of students from the self-catered Riego Street accommodation, located in Tollcross, about how they are finding their new home for the year.

Emily, studying Arabic, admitted that judging by reviews found online Riego “has a bad reputation.”

However, she is reassured that “student accommodation is student accommodation wherever you go and the people make up for it… the location is great too.”

Lucy, who studies Russian and Philosophy, was fairly non-committal in saying that the accommodation has been an “adventure”, but thus far, “it was not as expected.”

Similar to Emily however, she stressed that “the people make it”, seemingly a commonly shared sentiment.

Psychology and Philosophy international student Fabien told The Student that she “feels very welcomed.”

However, “as an international student, it has proved very hard to keep in contact with my family due to the Wi-Fi problems.”

Many students living in Riego have reported intermittent problems with the Wi-Fi network, with some unable to access the internet at all.

This has led to a string of complaints with one, unnamed, student referring to the situation as a “big fat joke.”

Both the staff on site and the Wi-Fi company Keysurf have acknowledged this issue. The provider has reportedly stated they have “[…] realised there are some ongoing issues with the Wi-Fi.”

Moving away from the accommodation, The Student asked first-year students to share how their courses are faring thus far. We were met with a mixed bag of responses.

One first-year student studying English Literature and Language, who wishes to remain anonymous, summarised the first academic week of the year as “stimulating but overwhelming”, attributing this perhaps to a ‘freshers’ comedown’.

A Modern Languages first-year student, who also requested not be named, admitted that he has found it “very difficult to adjust” to academic university life and that the “university administration has been unnecessarily tricky to deal with.”

He went on to say that, “the support networks in place at the university do not seem nearly as easy to access as I had hoped.”

Not all is negative, however, with Koren, who studies Gaelic, stating that she is very happy with her “small class sizes”, some of which only have two students.

The Student carried out a quick-fire survey in Bristo Square to try and gauge the overall mood amongst freshers. A selection of students were stopped and asked to summarise their experience of week one in a single word.

Overall the mood seemed very positive, yielding answers such as ‘interesting’, ‘thought-provoking’ and ‘exciting’. This is reassuring news and we hope that this will be the start of a brilliant four years.

Image: JonVrushi @flickr

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