Where are your favourite spots in Edinburgh? What would be your top recommendation for an international student exploring Scotland for the first time? Can you offer some Scottish hospitality to someone far from home?
For the thousands of international students who enrol at Edinburgh every year, matriculation is not just about timetables, tutors and textbooks. They are here to explore a brand new city, along with all of the challenges that come with getting to know a new country.
Alumni based in Edinburgh can help these students feel at home, and learn something about their home country in return.
June and Norman Henderson have been hosting students for five years, from countries including China, South Korea, North America, Japan and Germany. They are still in touch with some of these students now. They find that the experience is very much a two way process.
At Christmas we have received packages in the post of Green Tea from China and homemade biscuits from Taiwan.
Experiences vary between pairings, but the Hendersons feel a certain sense of responsibility towards their matched students, inviting them home for dinner and showing them the main sites of Edinburgh.
They have hosted students for Christmas dinner in the past and have been able to practice their language skills with some.
We really enjoy learning about new cultures and countries. We have even been cooked for by students!
Karen Holmqvist came to Scotland from Norway as she was attracted to the beauty of the city and the culture of Scotland. Experiencing more of Scottish culture was one of the reasons she signed up for Go Connect.
Having experienced Scotland for herself, Karen would take a new resident on one of the famous walking tours of the city, either literary or ghost.
The best thing I did with my hosts, Arnot and Brian, was coming home to them. They invited me home a couple of times, first to eat haggis, and later to decorate the Christmas tree.
Go Connect can be adapted to the availability and interests of hosts, and can involve anything from a coffee and a walk up Arthur’s Seat, to Christmas dinner and a visit to St Andrews.
The next networking session will be held for new students in October. For more information, including details of how to register interest, please visit the International Office website. Please contact Erika Sella with any questions.