Buddies Newsletter – February 2014

26 Jan
Quizzing fun

Quizzing fun

Hello there, Buddies! First of all, for all you new faces, WELCOME TO EDINBURGH – in my eyes, the best place to study in the whole entire world! My name is Hilary, and I’m the Buddies secretary. I’ll be bringing you all the latest news and events in these monthly newsletters. If you want to share a story or photo of your time here, get in touch with me and we’ll put it on the blog for all to see.

January Events

We kicked the semester off with a rather fabulous pub quiz. Frankenstein’s is a great pub to be in at the best of times, and with the added fun and games of quizzing it was safe to say it was a successful evening! If you missed it, don’t worry. Make sure you’re added into the Facebook group to stay on top of event invitations here.

February Events

We’ve got loads of things planned for this semester, beginning with a walk and a Sunday lunch. Taking place this Sunday, February 1, we’ll go for a walk around Leith and Newhaven before heading to a nearby carvery. We’ll meet at 11am on Sunday in Bristo Square, just outside Teviot, and get the bus to Leith together from there. We’ve put on a sign-up deadline of Thursday so we can let the carvery know how many people to expect – you don’t need to buy a ticket or anything like that, just sign up via the link below and bring yourself, and money for the bus and carvery. For more info, here is the event on Facebook. 

Sign up here to let us know you’re coming!

Our next event after that will be to Sheep Heid on Wednesday 11th February. Meeting at 7pm, we will head to the famous pub in Duddingston for bowling (yes that’s right, bowling in the pub) and to soak up the oldey worldey vibes. Event details can be found here . Don’t forget to sign up on the here if you’re coming – just so we know numbers.

Also, our sister international group, Exchange 360, are planning a trip away for the last weekend of Innovative Learning week in February. It’s to Isle of Skye for only £120, and a great opportunity to meet more peeps and see more of bonnie Scotland!
Tickets are being sold on Saturday, here are the event details.

Future Events

Other dates for your diary are another famous pub quiz in week 6 and an exciting trip to Gorgie City Farm in week 8. Look out for more details and invitations!

If you have any questions, want to write for our newsletter, or are a bit confused, simply email me at: hilaryalison@icloud.com

See you all on Sunday!


Buddies Newsletter – November 2014

7 Dec

Hello Buddies,

November Events

Firstly, as the end of the semester draws near and the library becomes ever more crowded, the Buddies Committee would just like to say a huge thank you for an excellent semester! November was no different; we held a cosy board games night in Teviot underground and a trip to the Christmas Market down in Princes Street Gardens. Although, in true Edinburgh style, it was freezing, the mulled wine was suitably warming!

December Events

Do remember, if you have any interesting stories or beautiful pictures, do send them in to hilaryalison@icloud.com, and we’ll see if we can publish them in the next Buddies newsletter. We will also be holding a Christmassy event before everyone starts heading home, so keep a look out for details on the Facebook group, and get your Christmas jumpers ready! It will also be a great chance to catch up with those of you who are International students only staying for one semester.

January Events

The January Meet & Greet, for new international arrivals, is on Saturday 10th January from 7.30pm. It will be in the debating hall in Teviot, but we’ll also have the Loft bar reserved just for us so that the meeting and greeting can continue for the whole night (yay). Even if you’re not a new arrival, come down and mingle!

See you all soon, and good luck with those pesky exams and essays!

Buddies Newsletter – October 2014

2 Nov

What a month it has been! After a massive welcome into October with the Frankenstein’s pub quiz, the Buddies events team pulled it off again with a trip to Edinburgh’s Camera Obscura. The museum is dedicated to all things visual and photographic, with all kinds of illusions involving lights, dark tunnels, and photo machines. With 6 floors of hands-on activities, it’s a treasure trove. One October Wednesday  afternoon, Buddies stuck their heads into various boxes, got lost in a mirror maze and were almost blown away on the roof. In a place like the Camera Obscura, picture taking is obligatory, and there were tons of excellent photographs on all kinds of social media (#edbuddies).

Buddies battling the wind at Edinburgh's Camera Obscura

Buddies battling the wind at Edinburgh’s Camera Obscura

Secondly, welcome to November – and week 8! Time is going so fast. With the announcement of exam dates and the ensuing revision stress, a quick coffee with your Buddies is always a sure-fire way to slow down and enjoy the rest of the semester.

November events are set to include a board games night on 12th November in Teviot – keep a look out on our Facebook and Instagram pages for information closer to the time.

Remember, remember…the 5th of November! If you’re feeling full of fireworks this Wednesday, 5th November is bonfire night, a historical evening dating back to when Guy Fawkes tried to blow up British parliament. Four hundred years on, we still commemorate this day by wrapping up warmly, eating bonfire toffee and letting off fireworks. Exchange 360, an Edinburgh University society for both international students and returners, are planning to climb up Carlton Hill to watch the fireworks. They are meeting just in front of Teviot on Wednesday at 6pm. Sparklers provided before everything kicks off! (For more info see their Facebook page).

Hope you all enjoyed a very Scottish Halloween. See you very soooooon.

Buddies Newsletter

4 Oct

Hi all!

My name is Hilary, and I’m the secretary/treasurer for this years Edinburgh Buddies! This means I will also be bringing all of the news, events and inside goss in these monthly newsletters. Detailing all the fun we’ve been having and what there is to come, we are also asking for contributions from Edinburgh and International Buddies. A different Buddy group will be asked each month for their pictures and posts. So get reading, get snapping  and get scribbling down your experiences so far. ALSO don’t miss out on our excellent Instagram account; follow @edinburghbuddies and hashtag #edbuddies to keep up to date!

September Events

Autumn is THE best time of the year and this September was no exception. It has been a super busy month, beginning with our hugely successful Meet and Greet, where almost 600 Buddies were due into Teviot Dining Room in search of their Buddy groups. And it worked! Complimentary wine in hand, I got to meet so many lovely people from Edinburgh and abroad, and it only added to the excitement buzzing around the Buddies programme for this year. Some Buddy groups even managed to find their way to a ceilidh in McEwan Hall afterwards!

Our next event was the Scavenger Hunt. With eight rhyming clues leading our Buddy groups from Greyfriars Bobby to Edinburgh Dungeons to the castle (or some kind of similar order) and tasks, such as squishing into phone boxes and proposing marriage, on the way, the pictures looked amazing (#edbuddies – you know it!) and the winning team looked very pleased with themselves and their prize!

photo buddies

Buddies ceilidh-ing away in McEwan Hall

October Events

With the first of a new month came more events! This Wednesday played host to the Buddies pub quiz at Frankenstein, the fabulously themed pub on George IV Bridge. Quiz rounds included topics such as Scottish, Music, General Knowledge and there was even a Buddies round (are there more girls or boys in Buddies?). The winners, pun-tastically named ‘Buddy Brilliant’ received some rather fetching prizes. Later on this month we are planning a Flat Safari – keep your eyes peeled for more details.

Obviously aside from our fantastic events, Buddies are welcomed (positively encouraged!) to meet up, mix with other Buddies groups and explore Edinburgh and further afield together. All details of upcoming Buddies Activity can also be found on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EdBuddies20142015/

EUSA Global Farewell

30 Sep

Four years ago, I started working at EUSA. My remit – supporting student-led internationalisation.  I was new to the UK, the University, and in all honesty – I had to practice saying internationalisation in front of a mirror before my interview for this job.  It’s difficult to say and –as I’ve learned- even more difficult to define. But I’ve tried my best over the past few years and learned a million lessons along the way.

And now I’m moving on.  In a couple weeks, I’ll be working with the Institute for Academic Development on projects around student engagement, curriculum, and innovation.  I’m really excited for the change and the opportunity, but sad to be leaving EUSA.  There have been countless times here when I’ve stepped back and thought ‘man, I love my job’.  I’m so grateful for the bag of lessons and experiences that EUSA and the people I have worked with have given me. Thinking back – there are a few that stand out.


TEDx changed things for me. I was lucky to be part of the group which started TEDx University of Edinburgh back in 2012. When we started, I had no real experience in putting on a production and from scratch. If it wasn’t for the patience of people like Celia (who I think is a bit like a magician), Maggie, Andrew, Sarah, Roger and the rest of the team – it wouldn’t have happened.

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I learned so much from the students involved and came to appreciate that the process is much more meaningful than the end product – it’s not always about the big show.  The night before I remember thinking that if it all goes wrong, it has been one of the most amazing things to be involved with. And it didn’t go all wrong – it was perfect.

And now, we have a legacy and are onto our second student committee. Thanks to the imagination, dedication, and just pure brilliant organisation – Maggie, Theo, Andie, and Alina have owned TEDx and delivered it in a way I never could.  These teams have shown me the potential that lives within our community – we have filmmakers, event managers, inventors, graphic designers, animators, stage managers, speakers, light specialists, community developers, comperes, kick butt volunteer coordinators (I could go on…really). I’m excited not only to continue to support these initiatives, but to also be able to work alongside these talented people.

EUSA Global Assistants

When I started working at EUSA – there was no EUSA Global and no Global Assistants to help run all the great projects we have created.  Two years ago, Sophie and Rob were recruited and the EUSA Global Team was born.  It sounds a bit like a superhero gang and looking back – we kind of were. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some amazing students on EUSA Global – Melissa, Mari, and now Andre and Blythe.  I’ve learned so much from these teams and I think they really demonstrate an approach the University should be doing more of.  Have faith in students and more times than not, they will deliver in a big way.


Study America

For the past two years, I have had the amazing opportunity to lead a group of students to North America. A group of us identified a need to create more international experience opportunities for students who entered university through the Widening Participation programme. For the pilot, I went with 10 students to Charlottesville to visit the University of Virginia.  We spent two weeks going to classes, learning more about the area and the culture of Virginia, visiting DC, doing American things, and hanging out with local students.  I think the trip had a great deal of impact on the students, but I wasn’t expecting to be so transformed by the experience.  It was a special opportunity to see how young people can flourish and be bold in different cultural contexts.


EUSA staff

There hasn’t been one day when I haven’t wanted to come into work. I’m constantly inspired by the passion, care, and creativity of the EUSA staff.  This is an incredibly dynamic group of people who support one another, see the possibility in every challenge, and know how to play a game of darts (OK, well not really).  It’s been an absolute pleasure working with you. And Phil, sorry for making fun of the way you say book. But you do say it funny.

This is Phil.


Last year, we had an idea.  We wanted to change the way the University celebrates culture. I had the pleasure to work with Lorna and Kirsty from the International Office on this and I think it takes some pretty cool people to work hard on an idea when you don’t know where it will take you.  After countless conversations and a workshop – we realised that the University talks about community, culture, and global citizenship in similar ways.


From these findings, we created the Gather Festival and launched it for the first time in March 2014. The amazing Maria (a very talented postgraduate design student) created a brand and a series of beautiful illustrations. In the end, we had 52 events run by staff, students, and people in the city and we reached nearly 2,500 people.  Global Assistant Mari did amazing work mobilising events.  I’m so proud of what we achieved and thanks to our first year, our team and support from the University is growing. I’m so sad to be leaving the Gather team, but I’m excited to see it grow. It taught me a lot about the power of possibility and creating a team of talented people who really care about what they do.


So thank you EUSA.

Thank you for giving me space to find my feet, make mistakes, order too much wine for events on countless occasions, let me be imaginative and a bit rogue, and teach me how to work with different communities.  Thank you for your patience when I show yet another Baby Berta video (seriously though, look at that face), buy giant maps and cork boards, or make you play rounders in Bristo Square…again.

Baby Berta

Baby Berta

Thank you to the University for supporting my projects, embracing collaboration and new ideas, and acknowledging the good work of the students I have worked closely with. Thank you for the opportunity.

But most all, thanks to the students I have had the pleasure to work with. Thanks for coming to events where you had no idea what you were signing up for, volunteering to help each other, participating in yet another pilot project, asking questions, and coming up with some pretty fantastic ideas.  I’m in constant awe of your enthusiasm and dedication to do good. You have been a real influential force over how I operate over the past four years.  I look forward to working with you in a new way.

My job is up for grabs and if you are keen on working with amazing students, staff, and picking up some great projects – you should apply. Otherwise, you can find me at the Institute for Academic Development and no doubt, I’ll see you around.

It’s been an absolute pleasure, Johanna


Edinburgh: A Never Ending Festival – Doors Open Day!

25 Sep


This month in our series on the sights, events, and culture to enjoy around Edinburgh, we’ve got Edinburgh Doors Open Day 2014! This weekend (27th & 28th September) many of Edinburgh’s fascinating and magical buildings, which are normally closed to the Public will be open to all!

Whether it’s that curious Church at Cannongate, or the reclusive Gardens on Queen Street, I’m sure there’s loads of interesting places across Edinburgh that you might pass by wondering what’s inside. Well this weekend, and only this weekend, loads of historic buildings, gardens, churches, and more will open their doors to the public!

Be sure to take advantage of a chance to see the breathtaking Playfair Library, or weather permitting enjoy a stroll through the pristine Queen’s Street Garden. For the more adventurous of you, a visit to the Arthur Conan Doyle Centre might be of interest where you can find out a bit more about the creator of the captivating character, Sherlock Holmes.

You can find out all about the venues participating in Edinburgh’s Doors Open Day, their opening times, and how to get there by following this link to: Edinburgh Doors Open Day 2014.

Edinburgh: A Never Ending Festival – Lively Gardens

24 Aug


It’s that time of year again when we say goodbye to the patchwork of artists, actors, comedians, performers, and patrons that descends upon Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival every August. But just because the official festival season has ended does not mean the fun has to end…

My name is André, and I’ll be joining Blythe as Global Assistant this year. Originally born in Germany, I am Portuguese, Irish, and Canadian, and am in the 5th and final year of my MEng in Mechanical Engineering. I’ve definitely got the travel bug and I took the chance to go on exchange to Carleton University in Canada, having an absolute blast while out there. I’m a keen golfer, cook, and photographer (although an amateur at all of these).

Blythe and I will be showing you how Edinburgh is a year round festival of culture, on and off campus. Whether you’re into music, theatre, photography, food, sports, or even air shows, we’ll be keeping you up to date with all the exciting stuff going on in Scotland’s vibrant capital year round.

The Royal Botanic Gardens are just a pleasant 20 min walk from Princes Street, and apart from housing a diverse collection of flora from around the world, they also play host to a wide range of special events, exhibitions, and workshops for all! Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s all about watching the grass grow, far from it they host photography exhibitions, cooking workshops, arts festivals, and even tours, as well as gardening classes for those who’ve always wanted to grow their own dinner.

There are events held year round, and the best part is many of them are free. You can browse through the full schedule here: Royal Botanic Garden Events.

We gathered at KB!

8 Aug

Hello! My name’s Blythe and I’m the new Global Assistant at EUSA Global – I’ve been away from Edinburgh this past year on my year abroad and it’s great to be back, buzzed and busy with all sorts of exciting projects and events for the upcoming year. I study German and Danish, so I can’t wait to get my hands on the Tandem events and see people sharing and learning languages. I’m also bursting with excitement at being a part of the Gather festival this year, showcasing the amazing work going on in Edinburgh by university staff and students as well as the wider community.

This morning, the Gather team made their way to Kings Buildings to chat to some keen beans about running events during next year’s festival. We shared coffee, what happened last year and innovative ideas that the Gathered folk had to offer – it sounds like a really varied and dynamic bunch of events and I can’t wait to see how they develop as we support them in their event planning.

There’s loads of ways for you to be involved too! Click here for more info.

Ciao for now!

Bon Voyage Retreat a success!

25 Apr

There is nothing more amazing than when an idea becomes something real.  From the cultural toolboxes to the Bon Voyage retreat – this week was full of Third Space realisations.

The first day was full of practical sessions on encountering a new culture and storytelling, in addition to a great talk on how to be an explorer in a new place.  We finished the day with an Edinburgh Award session on the skills of a good global citizen overseas.


On Sunday, students were given a challenge, split into teams, and sent out into the city.  There challenge was to try out some of the approaches they might use to get to know the place they are moving to by exploring in a novel manner a place with which they already familiar: Edinburgh.  Using the activities from the toolbox, they went out into the city and presented back their reflections that evening.




Some of the facilitators waiting on presentations

Some of the facilitators waiting on presentations

You can see more on their presentations here.  It was a fantastic weekend and I can’t wait to see where the toolbox, new skills, and year overseas takes these students! I’m also looking forward to identifying ways to help Third Space grow to accommodate more students.




Putting the Tools into the Cultural Toolboxes

16 Apr


I am putting together our cultural toolboxes for the Third Space Bon Voyage Retreat this weekend.  Each toolbox contains amazing activities to get students (40 preparing for their third year abroad) out and exploring their new communities.

Check out all the activities here

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