Freshers Guide 2012/2013
…adapted from all the Freshers guides before
Transport, Uni and Banks
Sadly, there are no airlines that serve a direct flight to Edinburgh. However, there are many routes to Edinburgh. Here are some of the popular routes taken, tested and certified safe:
- Singapore Airlines (SQ) transiting through London Heathrow or Manchester
- British Airways (BA) transiting through London Heathrow
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KL) transiting through Amsterdam Schiphol, Holland or Dubai
- United Arab Emirates flies to Glasgow International, but is a popular choice among seniors
- Air France (AF) transiting through Paris Charles de Gaulle, France
- Lufthansa (LH) transiting through Frankfurt International, Germany
The average flight time, excluding waiting time during transit, is about 13-14 hours. You are advised to leave Singapore during the night; meaning that you would reach Edinburgh before noon. This would greatly reduce the effect of jetlag. It is possible to fly to Edinburgh from London or Manchester by budget airlines. One budget airline available from Heathrow is British Midlands (BMI).
There is an express bus, the AIRLINK bus 100, which leaves every 20mins for Edinburgh City Centre. It stops at Waverly Bridge, beside Edinburgh Waverley train station. A single trip costs £3.50 while a return ticket cost £6. The bus has ample space for luggage, and trips take about half an hour.
If you want a cheaper option, there is a normal bus – service 35 – that travels to one of Edinburgh’s main streets (South Bridge). This ride only costs £1.20 but it takes longer.
After alighting at the bus stop, you might want to take a taxi (approx £4), bus (£1.20 for a single trip) or walk to your final destination.
The most expensive option but convenient if you have too much to carry. It will cost something from £15-£30 depending on traffic conditions. Just tell the driver the name of the hall and he will get you there in one piece. Just like the buses, the cabs are can be found outside the airport and they are the typical Black London cabs. You won’t miss them. Extra large taxis are available if you have loads of luggage.
The Edinburgh Shuttle service has closed down, but there may be another company operating shuttle services.
You can get a SIM card at many places, including newsagents and internet cafes. It may not be worth it to get a phone and plan together, as most phones in the UK come locked (you can’t put in a SIM card from another provider). Orange does good Pay As You Go plans that are tailored to meet your needs, but Vodafone is supported by Twitter if you’re an avid tweeter. Texts and calls are expensive – 10p or so for a text.
The Scottish banks available are Lloyds TSB, Bank of Scotland, and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).
The English banks available are Natwest and Barclays.
You need the following documentation to open an account:
- Proof of address (certified by the school, addressed to the bank involved)
- Proof of financial support (banker’s statement or letter from scholarship board)
Remember to carry a decent amount of money around with you – At the beginning of semester all the international students are setting up accounts and all the local students are switching branches! There will also be a ton of student offers, like free railcards etc.
If the bank does not do what it’s meant to (e.g. doesn’t send you a chequebook, doesn’t set up an overdraft causing you to have to pay extra fees) call them and complain!! It will work. Threaten to withdraw all your money only when desperate.
You will need to matriculate and register as a student soon after you arrive in Edinburgh.
If you are registering in person, it is important that you bring the following with you to the registration:
- The registration pack, with completed/amended forms. It will speed up the registration process if you have completed and signed all forms prior to arrival at the venue.
- If you are personally liable for the payment of any part of your fees, you must make arrangements for payment at registration. Please also bring any award letter you may have concerning any payment or part payment of your fees e.g. from a sponsor. If, as an overseas student, you are considering requesting to pay your fees in instalments, you must also bring with you proof that you have the financial means to support yourself and pay your fees during your stay in the UK. They will require a copy of information provided to the Home Office in support of your visa application, such as bank statements, payslips or other evidence to show that you can pay for your stay and your course of studies in the UK. You will also be required to have a UK bank account suitable for Direct Debit.
- If you have transferred funds in advance to the University’ s bank account, or paid through the University of Edinburgh Electronic Receipting Application for payment of tuition fees, please bring a copy of the payment information.
All this information (and more!) can be found in your welcome pack from the University.
You should register with University Health Service located at George Square. This is where you get your free meningitis vaccination too.
University Health Service
Richard Verney Health Centre,
6 Bristo Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9AL
Tel: 0131 650 2777
However, do note that the clinic at George Square is quite popular and is relatively crowded most of the time. A lot of the opening hours are reserved for appointments only. You can always register with another clinic that is convenient for you. In addition, many people here prefer to go to the pharmacy instead of a GP.
Getting to your accommodation should be rather simple. If you’re taking a cab to your accommodation (from a hotel/B&B/etc), most drivers should know where to go. There are signs to Pollock Halls all over the city if you’re staying there.
Keys can be picked up from Reception (in Pollock Halls) or the Accommodation Manager’s office (in self-catered flats). More details will be given with your accommodation offer.
Before you arrive, you will be offered bedding packs for your room at £30. It’s not worth it. You can get cheaper (and nicer) bedding from various other places, including Edinburgh Bargain Stores (for a lower-priced range) and Marks and Spencer (for a more expensive option).