2011 - Kimberley Humphries from Auckland in Edinburgh

I can honestly say that taking part in student exchange programme was one of the best experiences of my life.

I can honestly say that taking part in the University of Auckland student exchange programme was one of the best experiences of my life. I spent a year studying at the University of Edinburgh during which time, I made many lifelong friends, got to experience living in an amazing city, as well as enjoying a challenging but very interesting 3rd year academic programme taught by world-class lecturers.

The University of Edinburgh is a great university. I really enjoyed the courses I took and am glad I had the opportunity to learn and do things that I would never have had the chance to back in New Zealand.  I found the courses to be a bit different than they are in Auckland, but enjoyed the challenge once I got used to the Edinburgh way of doing things.  All in all, I think it has definitely given me a lot of extra knowledge and skills that I can now apply to my final semester of studies at Auckland.

The city itself is stunning; walking around the town on a Saturday morning is an experience in itself! From the castle, down the famous Royal Mile and towards the Holyrood Palace in the Old Town and then across Princes Street and into the New town, everything is full of history and character that makes it so typically Scottish. You don’t have to go far to find a man in a kilt playing the bagpipes! It was exciting to be somewhere so different to home. The city just has such a good vibe to it; I can’t wait to visit it again one day!

I was quite worried before I left home, as I didn’t know anyone in Edinburgh. However, taking the option to live in the University Halls of Residence, made meeting people very easy. After just a few hours, I had met a group of people who I remained friends with for my time in Edinburgh and still keep in contact with now. I met a lot of other exchange students from all over the world in halls and now have contacts in many different countries. Despite not wanting to fall into the trap of only socialising with other international students, meeting other exchange students was great because we were all so excited to take trips and go sightseeing, not only in Edinburgh and Scotland, but also around the UK and even a weekend trip to Oslo during our first semester. I always had a group of people who were keen to get out and see things - I saw so much, and it was so much more fun because of these people.  I also had a fantastic group of friends from my course. As none of these friends were exchange students, I got to find out what it was like to live in Edinburgh and experience all the local hotspots for eating and partying, amongst other things! It also helped when it came to my studies, having a group of friends who turned out to be as passionate about speech science and linguistics as I am.

I’m so happy I was given an opportunity to do something so incredible. It has been one of the most challenging but amazing experiences, benefitting me not only academically, but also with my confidence and independence. I can’t wait to go travelling again now!