Pros and Cons of Studying at Edinburgh?

I’m an American thinking about applying as a civil engineer major at Edinburgh next year. What are some pros and cons ? I’m looking at things like tuition, professors, classes, social life, culture, etc. I know weather can be a con for a lot of people but I fare pretty well in the cold and rain.

I am pretty sure with a UK qualification you would need to take some extra classes to obtain certification to work as an engineer in the US. I would advise you to research this because it could be costly and time consuming. If you want to work in the UK, it may be very difficult to obtain a work visa.

It’s not the cold that will get you, it’s the dark. In winter it will be dark very early, at 3-4 pm.

There is usually no meaningful financial aid for overseas undergraduates in the UK (£100 book grants will not make a dent in your costs) and you have to show you have all the money for all four years before you can obtain a student visa (said visa will allow you to work part time during term time and full time during the vacations though).

Are you quite an independent sort? You will be treated as an adult. US colleges coddle their students a lot more. Your college experience is not going to be the same as your friends and you can’t ever exchange this. Do you mind?

You will likely have to “live out” during at least part of your course, in private rental accommodation not halls (dorms). This is usual in the UK but may increase accommodation costs (I have no idea of accommodation costs in Edinburgh specifically) because you have to pay for the full year, including vacations. On the whole, living costs are going to be more than the US but less than London.

These all seem to be negatives but I just want to make it clear that it won’t be like being on vacation all the time. I think sometimes US students have unrealistic expectations of Europe based on movies. Hopefully that’s not you. Of course you will have the benefits of meeting lots of new people from all over the world. The opportunity to live in such a beautiful place. The opportunity to travel all over Europe (though I would encourage you to start with Scotland. So many foreign students like to tick off countries visited and ignore what is on their door step). You will have a more unusual resume in the US (but not super unusual. Edinburgh has lots of US students).

Good luck with your application.

Thank you for your response! Yes I am the independent sort and I’m from New York City so I’m used to expensive housing. I know that IBs are recognised in the US but Masters are not. I’m planning on getting an IB in engineering at Edinburgh and then coming back to the US to finish my masters. My parents are willing to pay about $30,000 a year for college and I was thinking I could work part time to cover the rest of the costs. I just really want to study abroad for the experience.

I’m still in sixth form (high school) but last time I walked around the University of Edinburgh I didn’t like it. Be aware that it is not a campus university (most universities in the UK are not) and buildings are scattered all around the city. Tuition would be cheaper than private colleges in the US, definitely. Scotland is a beautiful place in the summer.

Can I ask you why you didn’t like it?

ummm…is IB a typo? b/c IB is a secondary school qualification. I think you mean a BEng?

Be aware that you won’t ‘major’ in Civil Engineering: you will study CE. Iirc, first year engineers at Edinburgh can take one non-engineering class; after that it is all engineering/maths all the time- no GenEd courses as with the US.

Also, your costs are not going to be at least £30K/year, which is (currently) about $43K. That leaves you about $13K / year for you to generate. You can borrow the FAFSA of $5.5, so about 8K/year for you to earn. One good thing is that Edinburgh starts in mid-Sept and gets out in late may, so you have a solid 3 months, with some transition days on either side, which even with a minimum wage job will give you ~$3400.You can work in the UK during term time (~£4-8/hour).

Oops sorry yea I meant BEng. Undergrad studies are only three years long in the UK right? I’m fine with no extra classes, I think they’re kind of useless anyway.

Scottish unis are 4-years.
I know that some foreign unis are ABET-accredited. You may want to check in to that.

Why exactly do you want to go for an engineering degree in Scotland? If it’s to study outside the country, study-abroad or foreign exchange may make more sense.

Haha so I guess answers havent been all too positive so far! I studied in edinburgh for my masters and from my perspective: Pros: amazing city. Vibrant, concerts, festivals, museums, there is always something on. And it is so damn beautiful. Breathtaking really. And so is Scotland as a whole.Scotland has its own unique culture. Also, the university is a good uni, with many connections and agreements abroad. Cons: it is cold (the wind is the worst), it will be dark early during winter, the food culture is horrendous, but thats the case for most of the UK, Edinburgh is not a campus uni so sometimes things seem a bit fragmented / disorganised. But all in all, its such an amazing place. Housing is sometimes difficult but if you persevere youll get there, and its sooo much cheaper than London, Cambridge Oxford etc.

For subjects like the arts, science, CS, etc. that’s all that matters.

However, for someone who wants to work as an engineer in the US, why go somewhere foreign which will force you to get an American masters when most American engineers start working with just a bachelors? And the good American engineering schools have deep ties with industry, which will help with internships and landing a job. So why forsake that?
I would hope there’s a better reason than “it’s so damn beautiful”, especially since study abroad would be an option at most American unis.

I was actually considering working in Africa as an Engineer. Hopefully I can do it right after grad school so I’m not really too worried about which uni I get my degree at. I just wanted to go to get a broader perspective of the world. So I guess my reason for going is “I’m not looking to work in America and Scotland is fucking beautiful”.

How would you work in Africa?

Why wouldn’t study-abroad give you a broader view of the world as well?

Haha the guy just wants to live somewhere else, why not just accept that :stuck_out_tongue: Believe it or not, the US might be great but there are other great places in the world too. Study abroad is normally for half a year or max a year, it just isn’t the same experience as going there on your own and really immersing yourself in the culture. Anways I get you msdonadsbound. I am French and decided to study in the UK when I was 19. I just wanted to see something else. I have never regretted making that decision. And I can erasmus students here - they just dont have the same experience as people who come here for longer (and they tend to stick to each other).

@cinniminni, anyone can accept anything they want, but they should go in with their eyes open. France and the UK are a common market. The US and the UK are not.

So would you tell a French student who wants to work in Europe considering Wisconsin for engineering that UW-Madison would be just as good for his future as Edinburgh?

Wow clearly you have never lived or studied in France. The UK and the US are WAY more similar systems than France and the UK. The university system is entirely different. Believe me, I studied in both. There are some fundamental things that are the same in the US and the UK, for example being given freedom and autonomy in your learning, which does not happen in France (writing an essay at home? doesn’t exist). I am talking about a whole different socio-cultural approach to education here. The US and UK cultures are much more related than the French and English (historically no, but once you have visited all these places you will know what I mean). Freedom of chosing optinal classes: also very rare in France, you might get to chose 1 or max 2 but that’s all. In the UK and the US, very common. And the way the entire system functions of course: in France you decide at what pace you study, you chose your exam dates whenever you feel ready. In UK and US, not imaginable. You take the exams and if you fail you redo it, but you cant decide to take 4 years instead of three because you wanted to take your time. Group discussions and roup presentations is also a rarity in the French system, whereas they are very present throughout anglosaxon cultures. I can give you ten more examples but I think the point is made :wink:

@cinniminni, actually, you’re showing your ignorance of US higher education.

In the US, you have much greater degree of choice in what you want to study than in the UK. And students most certainly may choose to take their time in the US. Some also place out of some classes and finish early. So students graduating in anything from 3-8 years after they started (or even decades after they started) is not unheard of.

In any case, if you haven’t studied in the US, why are you so confident in believing that the UK and US unis are very similar? From what you have said, that confidence seems very much misplaced.

Gawd, I didnt think this was such a sensitive topic. I thought the same about your confidence in knowing the French system. The difference is I did my master’s with a lot of American students, so they have told me a lot about it. I can’t say (and didn’t say) that I know the American system well - the only thing I can say with confidence is that the American and UK education systems are more similar than the UK and French systems, for the reasons I have given. No more and no less.

Anyways to get back to the initial topic: Edinburgh is a great place, studywise and in general, so go for it if you are attracted to Scotland!