Edinburgh is one of the world’s great cities and renowned as a center of learning and discovery. It’s culturally diverse, historically significant, socially alive, environmentally aware, politically central and visually stunning. Galashiels is a vibrant town in the Scottish Borders, about 1 hour from Edinburgh. Galashiels’ history is closely aligned with the textile industry.
Studying in Edinburgh and Galashiels is a stimulating and inspirational experience. Students make up a large percentage of the population, so there is a diverse social scene with live music at local pubs, festivals, restaurants, cafes, theaters, galleries and architectural wonders. Scotland also offers abundant outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, skiing and much more.
Heriot-Watt has an active Student Union, lots of student clubs and excellent sport facilities. Students are encouraged to become active participants in campus life.
Housing & meals
Students live at the university residences on the Main Campus in Edinburgh and Scottish Borders Campus in Galashiels. Students must live on the campus where they are taking courses. The Scottish Borders campus is for students taking fashion design and textile courses. The Main Campus is for all other students.
Residences are organized into suites with a shared kitchen, bathroom and double-occupancy bedrooms. Most rooms have a telephone and Internet. A coin operated laundry is available in the residence halls.
Both campuses offer several cafes and cafeterias. Most students take the opportunity to learn how to shop and cook regional cuisine by making their breakfast and dinner in the residence kitchen. Grocery stores and markets can be found in the surrounding neighborhood.
Getting around town
Edinburgh and Galashiels are compact, making it easy to get around on foot. Biking is very popular. Edinburgh also has a developed public transportation system consisting of buses and trams. Taxis are also available.
Edinburgh is one of Scotland’s best connected areas with transport networks linking the city with the rest of the UK, Europe and beyond. There are two mainline train stations: Edinburgh Waverley in the city center and Haymarket in the West End. First ScotRail is the main operator of train services from Edinburgh to the surrounding areas and across Scotland. There are 50 daily train services between Edinburgh and London and the fastest route takes 4 hours and 20 minutes.
Galashiels is connected to Edinburgh via the Borders Railway. A typical commute between the Borders and Main campus is 1 hour.
Phones & internet
KEI will provide a prepaid mobile phone shortly after arrival in Edinburgh. The KEI Onsite Director will explain how to use the phone. The phone will have a small amount of credit to get you started. Additional minutes can be purchased at numerous convenience stores. Internet service is available on campus.
I was born and raised in Ireland. I earned an Honours Degree in History and Politics from the University College Dublin, and a Diploma in Law from the Dublin Institute of Technology. For 17 years I managed Over The Top Tours, a tour operator focusing on Ireland and the UK.
Although I am based in Dublin, I make regular visits to Edinburgh and work closely with the HWU International Office to organize the orientation and field trips, provide advice about academic and social issues, and support students during the program.