From Edinburgh to Zaragoza to Vienna, Laura, James and Vienna present you the student must-knows from these wonderful (and oftentimes, whimsical) cities after a few months of exploration.


Laura: In short, Scottish food can be summarised as warm and hearty and 90% deep fried! However their most notable dish is the mother of meatrosities: The Haggis! Some might say that the heart, liver and lungs of the sheep are used in the haggis. While I will neither confirm nor deny such claims, what I will say is that you shouldn’t knock it until you’ve tried it!


James: It’s all really good but the most understated food available here is the bocadillo. Forget the tapas because it is all about the bocadillo. Made with baguette bread with various fillings ranging from grilled chicken to fillet pork to capsicum to eggs to mushrooms to nearly any combination you can think of, these make the perfect cena (dinner) alongside a jarra (about 0.5L) of beer (and all for below 4 euros!).


Vienna: Schnitzel = overrated. I admit I haven’t had the traditional veal yet, only pork. And I only tried it in one restaurant. So far, unimpressed, but further investigation needed.

Sachertorte = overrated. Sampled in Demel, one of the two cafes which lays claim to the original recipe. It was okay, but expensive, and definitely doesn’t beat a classic Coles Mudcake.

Apfelstrudel = Food of the gods. Absolutely delicious. Contrary to whatever preconceptions you might have, goes brilliantly with beer.


Laura: As the city centre of Edinburgh is densely populated with so many pubs, bars, and clubs, every night is bound to be a good night. Whether you want to grab a few drinks with your mates and play pool, or dance till the wee hours of the morning – Edinburgh has got you covered.

James: Please send help. I haven’t slept in 2 months. We start at 10pm with dinner and pre’s and don’t go out until one and we do it from Thursday to Sunday. The other day, I got home before sunrise and reflected on how responsible I was being. It’s safe to say that even in a smallish city like Zaragoza, nobody goes to bed until they have successfully killed the night.


Vienna: I have been reliably informed by several locals that everyone in Vienna likes to party. There are bajillions of pubs and bars for you to start the night in; and clubs for you to wander over to in the early hours of the morning. People go home when the sun comes up.

My neighbour does not appreciate it when I make myself currywurst (sausage) at 5am in the morning. The stove fan is too loud, apparently. I think it’s much quieter than the fire alarm would be.

University Life:

Laura: The teaching style here is slightly different to how it’s done back home. Lectures here are more intimate and set in smaller rooms so there’s more interaction between lecturers and students. The best thing that I have significantly fewer assessment pieces and contact hours per course. That means more free time!

James: The Spanish university is literally communitarian. Members of the public wander through its gates, walking their dogs (literally so many, it’s amazing), seeing friends or family they have studying or working at the university or stopping by the residency colleges for a film or even meals. It is a wonderful atmosphere especially with all the dogs.

Vienna: Classes are weird. I have to do about 8-10 here. They are mostly exam-based, though I’m also taking 2 seminars – which involve writing a 20-40 page research paper. For international students, there is the ESN: Erasmus Student Network. This organises events for international students to get to know one-another, and is a must for an innocent young wanderer from Australia such as yourself.


Overall Impressions

Laura: Edinburgh is such an amazing city to live in. While it is easy to travel to other countries, you’ll keep wanting to come back here. It is so lively and rich in history and Scottish culture, you will never get bored.


James: It’s a broke uni student’s best dream here to be honest. It’s cheap, fun and so laid back… sometimes a little too much!

Vienna: A city full of culture yet with nature so close. Neighbouring on 9 other European countries. I’m in paradise.