Living in Edinburgh for 3 years with Downing Students – Annabel’s Story

By on May 20th, 2019


So, you want to know why I chose to live at Downing Students’ New Park site for my entire degree?

Before I divulge everything there is to know about studying in Edinburgh and living at New Park, it is only polite that I should introduce myself. My name is Annabel, I’m from a small farming community and I live in Scotland’s capital city Edinburgh, where I study history at the University of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh is a city that enchants you as soon as you arrive. You only have to Google the university’s Student’s Union building, Teviot Row House, to understand what I mean. It’s the oldest purpose-built student’s union in the world, and more to the point, it looks like Hogwarts! After seeing Teviot and the university’s historic graduation hall (McEwan Hall), I had to study at the University of Edinburgh, even if I was living over 200 miles away from home. It’s crazy to think that these two buildings alone sold studying in Edinburgh for me, but what can I say, I love a beautiful building that’s steeped with history.

From an academic viewpoint Edinburgh has a lot to offer its student population, there are huge libraries with original manuscripts and evening lectures, but the city offers us so much more. There’s a range of art galleries to suit the wants and needs of all art lovers, whether you are a fan of Thomas Gainsborough or Pablo Picasso, the free admission galleries dotted around the city has got you covered. If you appreciate all things revolving around food and drink, the city hosts a multitude of restaurants and speciality cafes to suit all dietary requirements and exotic tastes; Grassmarket and Stockbridge are the places to visit. If like me, you prefer strolling around museums, take a look inside the National Museum of Scotland to find Dolly our resident cloned sheep, or run across the road to Edinburgh’s Anatomical Museum – but be warned, it’s not for the faint-hearted!

With being a girl from the evergreen countryside of the North of England, I wanted to live in a city that I was able to breathe in and Edinburgh does just that with its plentiful green spaces. I can have my lunch in Princes Street Gardens, I can climb up Arthur’s Seat to watch the sunrise or walk through the Pentlands to get some of the fresh Scottish air into my lungs. I don’t feel as if I am stuck in a concrete city with no sunlight. Further, there is the option to explore the beautiful Scottish landscape as there are plenty of firms offering weekend trips up to the Highlands and the Scottish islands, all of which are very reasonably priced for a student’s budget.

On the whole, finding my student accommodation was a quite stressful process, as I wanted to find somewhere that felt like a second home, and I was uncompromising on this point. I am a firm believer that student accommodation has to feel ‘right’ for you, and if you can’t imagine yourself sitting in the common room and socialising, or in your room studying, then it’s not the right place for you.  Effectively, student accommodation is your home away from home and you have to be comfortable.

AnnabelHowever, I can genuinely say after staying at New Park for two years now, the New Park site is my second home. The team feels like a second family, and I can talk to them about anything and they’re always there to lend a helping hand.  Their help has played a central part of my university journey so far.

Like everybody else, I was nervous when my parents and I were driving up to Edinburgh.  I was moving away from home for the first time, but I tried to turn the nerves into excited energy. I was looking forward to starting my new life in Edinburgh and at New Park. From the moment that we first met the New Park team at the reception my nerves subsided. The big smiling faces were all that I needed to feel welcomed. Since the first day moving in, all the little details concerning accommodation have been covered by the New Park team. I don’t have to worry about paying bills for WIFI, gas, and electricity, and any deliveries are collected at the reception and stored safely until I get home from classes.

The main selling point for Downing Students and the New Park site is its family feel and the team’s attention to detail. We have a community feel at the site that has been fostered with the different events we’ve held.

Covering everything and anything, the events are for everyone’s interests such as cheese and wine evenings, Zumba classes, free massages during exams period and the popular film discussion events. Pizza and other snacks are ordered in and we all curl up and watch a film – everything from comedies to thrillers, New Park has got us covered. Also, apart from the practical side of feeling comfortable with my fellow residents, I am safe and at ease knowing that security is on-site during the night and early hours of the morning. I know that I’ve got someone to call if there’s an emergency on-site.

After spending three years at New Park I can say that it is my second home and the staff that works there are like my second family. I wouldn’t change it for the world!

Finally, my one piece of advice to those looking for accommodation is to think about where the site is. Do you want to be in the city centre with the hustle of city, or do you want to be in a quieter end of the city? I think it all comes down to what stage you are at in your academic journey, so choose wisely.

Hopefully, you will fall in love with Edinburgh like I did and decide to come and visit us at New Park!





Downing Student Life

Visit our blog
Back to Top