Health and Wellbeing
The University's Health and Wellbeing pages will guide you to self-help information and supportive services offered by the University and our associated partners, including:
- Health Services
- Sport and Exercise
- Mental Wellbeing
- Support in Crisis
We recommend checking that you have health insurance in place before travelling. You need to make sure you have a good understanding of what healthcare is available to you in Scotland, what medication you can bring with you and the level of travel insurance you may need. The Scottish government provides an in-depth guide for short-term visitors travelling to Scotland from abroad. You will not need any vaccinations to enter the UK.
Scottish doctor surgeries tend to be open between 9am and 5pm on weekdays and you will find some evening clinics. Outside of surgery hours, you can utilise the facilities at the local hospitals, specifically the accident and emergency department or minor injury department - but these services should only be used when the problem in question needs immediate treatment.
Scottish pharmacies can dispense a small number of drugs without a doctor’s prescription, but the range is limited and it is likely you will need a prescription for any specific medications. Most pharmacies keep shop hours but some open as late as 10pm.
Weather & Clothing
In the summer months, Edinburgh has a moderate climate but the weather can be changeable. We recommend that students bring clothes that can be layered so that they can adapt to different temperatures when necessary. Students should also bring a light waterproof jacket. Comfortable walking shoes are an essential if you plan on making the most of Edinburgh’s dramatic scenery.
Cost of Living
Cost of living can vary greatly depending on your lifestyle, budget, and spending habits. Food costs will vary depending on taste and dietary needs but will account for a significant part of your budget. You can use this online budgeting tool to help you plan a budget before coming to the UK to help estimate costs.
Currency & Banking
Scotland’s currency is Pound Sterling (GBP). Banks in Scotland are generally open between 9am and 5pm Mon–Fri as well as Saturday mornings. Most cash machines across Edinburgh use the LINK network which means almost all bank cards should be accepted in most machines. Some cash machines charge for withdrawals but these are less common than free machines and they always state clearly that you have to pay. It is important to remember that withdrawing cash from a non-UK bank account can incur a charge or conversion fee.
Travelling to Edinburgh
Edinburgh has its own international airport which is just 8 miles from the city centre. Edinburgh International Airport is well located with great transport connections into the city and is handy if you plan to enjoy the rest of the UK or Europe during your time away from home.
Travelling from the airport to the city centre is straightforward. You can get the Airlink bus (Service 100) which runs 24/7 and takes around 25 minutes. Alternatively, you can get the tram from the airport for the city centre, which takes around 35 minutes. Taxis are also readily available.
Travelling within Edinburgh
On foot - Edinburgh is very compact and travelling across the city on foot is very easy – and the cheapest option!
By bus - Edinburgh has a network of local bus services mainly run by Lothian Buses and First Buses. Lothian Buses operate a standard rate of £1.70 for any single journey. They also offer a value day ticket, which allows you to travel to and from as many places as you like around the city (including travel on the city’s trams) to all stops except Edinburgh Airport. There is also a sightseeing bus so you can enjoy a guided tour of the city.
By tram - Edinburgh has a new tram network which takes you all the way from Edinburgh Airport to York Place right in the centre of the city. There are 15 tram stops on the route so you can explore the city at your own pace, with a day ticket (£4.00) ensuring you can get on and off as you please. Single ticket fares cost between £1.70 and £6.00.
British electrical standards are 50Hz and 230 volts so some North American and European electrical devices may need convertors, which is something you can organise in advance. You may also need plug adaptor.
You can connect to the University’s Wireless Network (WiFi) from your laptop, tablet, or smartphone. For full instructions on registering and using the Wireless Network, please visit the Get Connected web page. Please make sure you read the information on using the correct username and setting passwords, before registering. If you need help, you can contact the IS helpline online.
Open-access computing labs at the University
If you do not have access to the University network through your personal device, or wish to access course software, there are open access and departmental computing labs for use by all matriculated students and staff of the University. You need a username and password to use any computing lab: will be issues to students only your place on your Summer School course is fully confirmed. For more information on locations and availability of computing labs please visit the Open Access page.
If you are using a mobile phone from outside the UK, you could be paying much more than you need to in order to make calls from the UK. You can simply change the SIM card if your phone is unlocked. You can also buy a mobile phone in the UK for a very reasonable price.