IFSA: University of Edinburgh Partnership

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About

Hallo agus fàilte! Study abroad amid beauty, history and friendliness by making Scotland your home for a semester, year or summer. The country is an impressive mixture of fertile farmland, rugged cliffs and mountains, yet it also has its share of sophisticated cities and friendly towns. Scotland’s long history shows in the architecture and preserved ruins throughout the country, but Scots of all ages are also enjoying a cultural and artistic renaissance.

Edinburgh is a wonderful study abroad destination, combining the rich history of an ancient city with the modern feel of a capital city. Founded in 1583, the University of Edinburgh is located in the heart of the city and has consistently ranked as one of the top 50 universities in the world.

Scholarships

IFSA Scholarships
IFSA Scholarships and Financial Aid

We believe that study abroad should be within reach of every student, so we offer a wide range of scholarships and funding opportunities for all our participants.

Value
$500 - $2,500

Questions & Answers

Reviews

97%
based on 15 reviews
  • Academics 8.3
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.3
  • Housing 8
  • Safety 9.2
Showing 1 - 15 of 15
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Julia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Highly recommend studying in Edinburgh to anyone and everyone! Amazing program with IFSA!

Studying in Edinburgh with IFSA was the best decision I've ever made. I absolutely loved living in this beautiful city - every single street looks like it came straight out of a storybook. I woke up every morning simply happy that I chose to study in such a unique and amazing place.

Not only was Edinburgh incredible, but I also loved living in Scotland as a whole. Some of my favorite memories was listening to live Celtic music in pubs and learning how to Ceilidh dance with amazing friends that I had met!

One of the best parts of studying abroad with IFSA was how well organized it was and the trips included in the program. IFSA gave us the perfect amount of assistance. There was never a moment when I was unsure what was going on, and even if there was, I knew the IFSA staff was there to answer any questions I had. As for the trips, we went on three weekend adventures - to the Argyll Forest where we kayaked and rock scrambled, on a homestay weekend where we stayed with a Scottish host family, and lastly, to the Isle of Skye where we hiked to the Old Man of Storr.

I really hope to go back to Edinburgh one day - truly became my home away from home! I would choose this program all over again in a heartbeat!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Do something new every chance that you get - seriously a once in a lifetime experience!
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Emma
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Engaging with a New Community

During my time in Edinburgh, I thought I would just get to socialize with Scottish locals, but I was surrounded by so much more. The University of Edinburgh is a much more global school than I realized, and I found friends in people from New Zealand, Singapore, Germany, Spain, and many more countries. My favorite part was getting to speak to these people and learn more about their countries and culture, and even their views on various social topics. It was even more exciting since Scotland was new for many of them as well, so we were all in the same boat of visiting and living in an entirely new country. I was even able to travel with some of them, and we were all equally thrilled to explore the country together. Traveling both in and out of Edinburgh was such a riveting experience - learning about other people and other societies is ten times as much fun when you're immersed in it, and 20x more fun with new friends. You'll be surrounded by history, fun photo spots, and something new to try everywhere you go.

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Annmarie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing! Wouldn't want to go anywhere else or be with any other program

This program was unique because it had a perfect balance. I felt as thought I were given all the tools to succeed, yet I also was able to learn and make mistakes and gain actual confidence and not a fabricated version of it. I had all the resources to go boldly and explore everywhere I've always wanted to go, but still know that I had a program that would have my back. They were also really focused on goals, community involvement, and professional development. It was also easy to travel anywhere in the world from Edinburgh. Edinburgh, as far as the UK is concerned, is also far less expensive. This city is walkable, and the country of Scotland as a whole has so much to explore from Glasgow, to Saint Andrews, to Loch Lomond, to the Isle of Skye to Loch Ness. IFSA will also take you there as a part of the program, which is incredible seeing as how you would have to rent a car in order to get to some of these more nature oriented places in the highlands. Those trips with my program were some of the most amazing experiences. I recommend this program to everyone.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Remember that life happens when abroad. It is totally okay to watch netflix one day, and it will not ruin your experience at all. This is for you, not anyone else thats following you on your instagram or your blog. You are still human even when you're in a different country and as soon as you embrace that the better and more enriching your experience will be.
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Nicholas
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best 5 months of my life

The staff were the best program coordinators of any program I have ever completed in my entire life. They were friendly, helpful, and very personable. There were multiple excursion led by the IFSA program built into the cost of the program, and they were super well-planned and enjoyable. I had plenty of time to travel Europe and explore so many different places and cultures while also enjoying my host country and school. I could not have asked for a more perfect program in every way.

Read my full story
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Donelle
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Edinburgh

Studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It is a world class university with amazing lecturers and a challenging courseload. I met my lifelong friends on my program and I’m planning on visiting them across the country this summer. The on site support was amazing, especially since I was dealing with some unexpected health problems while abroad. I changed so much while abroad and my academic understanding improved immensely. One of my favorite memories was going to a parliament session and getting to hear the First Minister speak. As someone studying International Relations and Political Science, this was an amazing experience for me. I am so glad I joined a bunch of societies that gave me this opportunity because it made my experience even more amazing. Additionally, I was able to travel all over Europe with my close friends. Overall, I wouldn’t change my experience for the world and I’m planning on returning to the University of Edinburgh for graduate school.

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Camille
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

More than I Ever Imagined

I feel like I made a home for myself in Edinburgh, one that still means so much to me more Han a year later. I will forever be grateful for the lovely group of women at IFSA that made that possible and for all the lovely students and members of Edinburgh’s community that did the same. This is the best city I’ve ever lived in or visited and it will always be home to me. Could not recommend the city, UoE, and IFSA more!

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Ryan
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Cool City, Make the Most of It

Edinburgh is a very cool city. From the more touristy things like the Royal Mile and the Castle, to the unique places that each person finds for themselves, I really enjoyed Edinburgh the city. The University was alright, although it was tough to get into good classes as an exchange student. I did enjoy the variety of clubs and sports available through the University. I can't say much about the programs support system, as, no matter what happens to me, I am unfortunately adverse to using such things. However, my interactions with the staff at IFSA-Butler were always pleasant. The housing was the area I feel could use the most improvement. My housing situation was a bit dodgy, nothing I couldn't handle, but I would have preferred to live with other exchange students, rather than with freshmen.

What would you improve about this program?
As I said above, I would have preferred to live with other exchange students, rather than with freshmen.
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Abigail
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Get Out and Go With IFSA

IFSA offers great support, but you must engage and take up their offers to meet up and chat etc. Studying abroad can be isolating if you don't know anyone on your trip (or even if you do)- so do not be afraid to reach out for resources. Personally, I found a community through joining a few on campus societies (major suggestion!) and a group that was associated with the university in addition to friends I made within and outside the program. Don't be afraid to branch outside of the host program and make friends with other uni students and get involved with the community. Edinburgh has great organizations for environmental improvement and food share platforms to reduce food waste I personally found cool. The farmers markets, museums, hiking, and botanical gardens are awesome and make to explore the wonderful city of Edinburgh beyond just the Royal Mile (and honestly go explore the rest of Scotland, the Highlands are incredibly beautiful). Make friends and take trips, in and outside of Scotland and make memories that you will keep forever. Sure, classes are "important" (they are ugh) BUT the Scottish system keeps contact hours with professors and class time pretty short to what I was used to (from the American system) so I had lots of time to explore and travel. The University also hosts cool speakers and guest lectures, so find your department of interest and go give it a shot.
There are so many ways to be engaged if you wish to follow that route on campus, with IFSA, and in the community. Likewise, if your prerogative is to get out and go to as many places as possible, that is also super doable (airport shuttle on the bridge by Princes St has a great deal for round trip).
TL;DR: I like the option for autonomy IFSA gave- offering support and connection if needed while encouraging independence. Great source for telling us about on campus resources and setting up a (temporary) home abroad.

What would you improve about this program?
The housing options were kind of confusing to pick from. An overall map could help as well as the option to see reviews of past participants/ where people live.
Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA)
Rachel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Studying the world

I loved my time abroad with IFSA-Butler! In my 6 months in wurooe, I visited 16 countries, made countless friends and learned an incredible amount about scotland, its history and people. IFSA-Butler plans two trips each semester, our year it was to the Argyll forest and to the isle of Skye. These trips were an incredible way to immerse myself in scottlanss natural beauty while getting to know my cohort better. The natural beauty of scottland never ceases to amaze me, as does the friendliness of the population
One of my favorite memories is the honestly i completed as part of the program with a dairy farming family in northern England. I took over 20,000 photographs while abroad, with even more memories that I will cherish forever.

What would you improve about this program?
More events aimed at strengthening the cohort! I didn't make lasting friendships within my cohort till our trip to Skye, which was late in the semester. Earlier mixers and trips would be an incredible addition to the program!
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Joseph
Joseph
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Study Abroad Experience

I didn’t know anyone in Scotland or in the IFSA program and ended up meeting one of my best friends through the program. I also found Edinburgh to be the perfect study abroad experience as the culture was easy to integrate into, the school was a quick walk from my housing, and the city was a lot of fun. IFSA did a great job of providing resources for getting to know the country and city as well as a comfortable transition into the study Abroad’s experience.

What would you improve about this program?
Make the homestay optional as it made it seem difficult for me to join the American football club team.
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Maya
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IFSA Really Made The Experience!

When I decided to study abroad, I wasn't completely sure what I was getting myself into. Others had told me studying abroad was a life changing experience, so I took the opportunity and pushed myself outside of my comfort zone. I'm extremely thankful that I went with IFSA's University of Edinburgh Partnership because I felt that they really made the difference. They told me everything I needed to know about navigating life and academics at Edinburgh, provided great resources and support for dealing with culture shock, and our trip to Inverness in the Scottish Highlands was the highlight of my semester. I met a lot of incredible people thanks to IFSA and I feel like they greatly reduced the stress of adjusting to a new country and made the entire experience so much fun. I recommend that even if you're not planning to go to Edinburgh to try and find a program through IFSA because they know a lot about the local culture and host school and the staff really want to make your time abroad special.

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Rachel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Do it do it do it do it do it do it

I AGONIZED over whether to pick a program in Scotland or in Ireland. The most important thing to me was being in an interesting place where I could both explore independently and have the opportunity to make really close friendships. Scotland ended up being PERFECT for me. I fell in love with Edinburgh, with my classes, with the people I met. The IFSA-Butler staff are SO NICE and knowledgeable and helpful about literally everything - from practical questions like registering to class to finding a hostel in Nice for Spring Break. It was a big program, sure, but there definitely was a strong sense of community in our cohort and I wouldn't trade the experience I had for anything.

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Anna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Best Decision I've Ever Made

I always knew I wanted to study abroad, but I really had no idea how incredible the experience actually is. During my time at the University of Edinburgh, I made lifelong friends, explored places in Scotland and Europe as a whole, learned a lot, and gained the ability to truly call someplace my second home. I did not want to leave, and my only regret is the fact that I went for just a semester and not the entire year. Edinburgh is, in my opinion, the perfect city. It's small enough that by the end of your time there, you can actually feel as if you know it inside and out. There's a mix of culture and history and nature, tons of amazing restaurants, museums, bars, and other venues. The people are ridiculously friendly and though whenever I told someone I was going to Scotland they commented about the weather, I really came to like it. IFSA-Butler was an amazing resource, with welcoming and accessible program directors. I particularly loved the various weekend excursions they offer (if you have the chance to go to the Isle of Skye, do it) as well as the homestay weekend, which allowed me to see part of the Lake District. Overall studying abroad was, as the review headline suggests, absolutely the best decision I've ever made.

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Kevin
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

What an awesome city.

After five months in Edinburgh, I never wanted to leave. The excellent quality of the University of Edinburgh, the city's myriad attractions, and the friendly and welcoming nature of the locals all made this a memorable trip. I can't wait to go back and visit.

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Maddy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Year at the University of Edinburgh

My year at the University of Edinburgh was challenging, bewildering beautiful, and life-changing. The chance to study at an international university brought new angles and light to my studies back at home-- the classes that I took at the University of Edinburgh have inspired my thesis topic for my upcoming year. Edinburgh is the first UNESCO City of Literature, and studying lit there was a very moving experience. One of my favorite memories from the University of Edinburgh was when my art history professor took a group of students an hours drive outside the city to see the garden-installation by the internationally renowned artist Ian Hamilton Finlay, called "Little Sparta" (in conversation with Edinburgh's nickname "The Athens of the North"). The chance to see that piece really brought together the things that I valued most about my time at the University of Edinburgh-- amazing professors, a beautiful country, and unique, location-specific experiences.

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About Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA)

The Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1988. Our primary goal is to provide quality study abroad opportunities, plus academic and personal support services, for qualified North American undergraduates seeking to...