By Michael Grundy
Scotland’s capital cannot have many rivals in the UK, or indeed the world, when it comes to being a student.
In such a relatively small and compact city, there are a considerable number of universities and colleges offering a wide range of courses to suit anyone thinking of studying here.
Studying in Edinburgh also means living in a genuinely international city of great worldwide fame and significance.
Edinburgh’s universities have an outstanding reputation on a truly global scale. The University of Edinburgh was recently ranked 17th in the QS World University Rankings, and, along with Heriot-Watt University it enjoys global recognition on account of its research institutions. The University of Edinburgh in particular is one of the top campuses targeted by employers, with no lack of professional and graduate opportunities. Napier University prides itself on working with businesses, with a focus on developing employable graduates, and its postgraduate courses are designed to cover a broad range of vocational fields. Queen Margaret University also works with businesses of all sizes, and has excellent student and graduate employment opportunities.
It is with good reason that Edinburgh is frequently referred to as ‘the Athens of the North’. It has long been established as a highly respected academic centre, and its universities have fostered some of History’s truly great minds, including Charles Darwin, Robert Louis Stevenson, Walter Scott and Alexander Graham Bell. Edinburgh is also the home of the Scottish Enlightenment which reached its peak in the eighteenth century, with figures such as David Hume, Adam Smith and Robert Burns among its most prominent thinkers. The tradition of progressive academic learning that they championed is continued by the city’s universities today.
Despite its size, Edinburgh, or ‘Auld Reekie’, still manages to be a city of contrasts. There is a huge choice of student accommodation, ranging from elegant flats in the picturesque New Town, rich with Georgian period architecture, to modern halls of residence, and as an international student city it offers good value in terms of accommodation when compared to many other cities in the UK. While most journeys can be made on foot, Edinburgh has an extensive bus network for longer journeys, and trams have recently been reintroduced, connecting Princes Street to the airport.
There is no lack of things to do in Edinburgh, and students can really make the most of living here. The city has a rich nightlife, and there is a seemingly never-ending choice of bars, pubs and cafes in which to soak up the city’s vibrant cosmopolitan atmosphere. It boasts stunning panoramic views from both Arthur’s Seat and Calton Hill, and a walk along the Royal Mile from Holyrood Palace to the Castle is one that few cities can beat. Edinburgh is of course home to the world famous Edinburgh Festival, in which every August the city explodes into a month long cultural, literary, television and comedy festival with an innumerable amount of shows and performances on offer.
Those students choosing any course of further education in Edinburgh, in any of its institutions of learning, will be making the decision to study in a leading European and international city, which holds spectacular opportunities to develop academically, professionally and culturally.
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