Biomedical Sciences

Student Blog: Alejandro

Alejandro on his experiences as an international students and hopes for the future.

We can all agree that the world has changed quite a bit this year. Coronavirus has definitely caused quite a reaction from the international community, and I am sure many of you are uncertain about what will happen this academic year. I remember how nervous (and excited!) I was to start First Year at university. I am sure that all of you starting now are even more anxious about what might happen as you start this new chapter in your life. I also do not really know what might happen, but hopefully I can give you some useful insights that I have accumulated over the last three years studying Medical Sciences at the University.


Adapting to University

I have always been an international person; before university, I lived in six countries! As such, you might expect that I was completely confident and ready about moving to Edinburgh… but honestly, that was not true at all. It would be my first time living away from home, away from my family, in a completely new place. 

That is why in First Year I lived in Pollock Halls. Now, self-catered and private accommodations can also work just fine, but for me, Pollock Halls served a small gate stone into a wider world. I went to as many events organised by  the Resident Assistants (RAs); met so many of my new university friends (and my current flatmates!) just by simple getting to know the people living in the rooms close to me and spending late nights watching movies and hanging out.

Now, I know that things are still uncertain about what exactly accommodation might look like due to Coronavirus; maybe you will have to follow some new guidelines, there might be changes to the catering, and events might not have as many people as before. However, I hope you will slowly find a way to call Edinburgh your new home.

Societies and sports

Of course, a major part about university is finding your place, getting to experience so many new things – and a major wait to do that is through societies and sport clubs. In my first year, I went to so many events. I ended up joining and becoming part of the committee of the Swing Dance Society, attending tabletop and board-game nights, eating some food the  Latin America Society food and ended up joining boxing in my Third Year. None of these things I had really done before! Through these societies and clubs, not only was I able to find new hobbies, but they were a way for me to relax after deadlines, talk to my friends, keep healthy and, most importantly, develop my ability to go out of my comfort zone.

Nevertheless, similarly to accommodation, things will probably change. Nobody can predict what can happen, but what I can predict is that every single society and club will try their best to adapt! This will obviously not be easy, but humans are incredibly resilient, and as the world changes, so do we.

What lies ahead

I hope that I have been able to give you some reassurance about what lies ahead. I understand that maybe what I said might not apply to you, and I promise you: no matter how much my friends and family told me that everything would be alright, I was still anxious about starting university. Even now that I am going to start my last year at University, I sometimes worry about what will I do next: Should I do PhD, or study medicine? Which University should I apply to?

However, I have also realized that the best way to act is to always be prepared for the unexpected, while trying to do your best with what you know already. Take one-step at a time, allow things to change and go wrong, learn from those experiences, and move forward! Even if this First Year is a bit unusual, I hope that by the time you are – like me – approaching your last year of university, you are glad of the experiences you’ve had.