International applicants

Culture shock

Culture shock can be caused by differences in language, weather, clothing, food, people and expectations on time. Watch our videos on culture shock to learn more about what you may experience and how to manage it.

Not everyone will experience culture shock and it can be experienced in different ways. Some effects can be physical, like headaches, stress or loss of appetite. Other effects are psychological, such as feeling sad, feeling like an outsider, or not being able to concentrate.

Knowing the early signs of culture shock can help you manage it and adjust to a new culture.

Hear from our students who have given their accounts on adapting to life in Edinburgh.

Main concerns before coming to Edinburgh

A member of staff helping a student at the Centre for Research Collections.
You may feel concerned about moving to a new country, making new friends, living apart from your family for the first time or worried about bringing your family to a new place.

Making new friends

Being worried about making new friends in Edinburgh is one of the most common concerns for new students.

Adapting to life in Edinburgh

edinburgh view
When you arrive in Edinburgh, you may notice differences in the language, weather, clothing, food, and customs of the local people. Researching Edinburgh and the Scottish culture before you come will help you understand what to expect on arrival.

Adapting to the academic style in Edinburgh

How you will learn
You might find the academic style in Edinburgh is different to what you are used to in your own country.

Top tips for new students

New Students
There is a lot of information available to new students on our website covering immigration, welfare, practical advice, and what to expect when coming to the University of Edinburgh.

Being away from home

A group of female students
Moving to a new country, possibly for the first time, can be daunting for some and exciting for others. You will be moving from all things familiar to a new place with many differences, but you are not alone.

The food in Edinburgh

Scotland is famous for haggis, salmon, shortbread, and even deep-fried Mars bars! However, it is also a multi-cultural nation and Edinburgh has hundreds of restaurants and food shops that cater for all international tastes.

Scottish Weather

Salisbury Crags. Credit: Marketing Edinburgh
Scotland’s weather can be changeable in any season. It is common knowledge in Edinburgh that you may need an umbrella and sunglasses in the same day!

Understanding the Scottish accent

Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies
Accents across the UK and within Scotland vary and it can take some time to become accustomed to them.