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Looking to work and study abroad? Euro graduates and Skyscanner employees talk about life in Scotland’s capital city - Edinburgh

Deciding to move abroad, whether it’s for work or study, can obviously be a daunting experience. The thought of having to adapt to a new way of living, learning a new language, whilst also dealing with homesickness can be enough to deter most.

Taking yourself outside of your comfort zone and choosing to study or work abroad can make you a great asset to companies who understand the benefits of having a multi lingual and international workplace.
Online cheap flights comparison site Skyscanner, whose head office in Edinburgh employs more than 30 different nationalities, is definitely of this mind set.

Five Skyscanner employees (and recent graduates) from France, Sweden, Germany, Spain and Russia discuss the main challenges of working and studying abroad.

About our graduates

Evodie
I’m originally from Orléans (capital of Centre region of France), and this September will be the start of my third year in Edinburgh. I originally moved for personal reasons (a relationship); stayed for my master’s degree, and now professional life.

Malin
I moved to Edinburgh from Stockholm 3 years ago. I moved to the UK to do my undergraduate degree, partly because of the academic reputation of my degree in comparison to the Swedish equivalents. I was also interested in living abroad and because of the close location, the language and the EU membership it was one of the easier countries to move to.

Friederike
I grew up in Blomberg, a very small town in the north-west of Germany. I first came to the UK after I finished school in 2008 and worked at a boarding school in Lancashire for a year. I then returned to Germany to study for my degree. I missed the UK a lot and always wanted to go back. I was very glad when in September 2012 I got the opportunity to come to the UK and study for one semester at Edinburgh’s Napier University. I fell in love with the city, and was over the moon when I got an internship at Skyscanner. So in total, I’ve lived in the UK for two years now and I have no intention of moving back to Germany anytime soon.

Itziar
I come from a very small town in the Basque Country, called Busturia. I moved to Scotland 4 years ago, initially to learn English. After a year I decided to go to University, choosing to stay in Edinburgh to get my degree.

Denis
It’s been a year since I moved to Edinburgh from Moscow. I have always wanted to spend some time abroad to broaden my horizons and polish my English. After graduating from my first university course in Moscow, I decided to carry on my education in Europe. I got offers from a couple of universities across the continent, but decided upon the UK as its culture had fascinated me from an early age. Getting accepted at The University of Edinburgh also helped make it an easy choice. It’s got a great reputation, and I was lucky to make a lot of very good friends from all over the world.

Question 1 - What have been the biggest challenges of moving to the UK?

Evodie - I first came to the UK when I was 13 and returned every summer to learn English, so thankfully there weren’t any huge challenges. One thing maybe is the humour or the way people show affection in the UK - very different from our southern cultures and sometimes really confusing!

Malin - Because Britain and Sweden are relatively close culturally there haven’t been too many challenges, apart from learning how to deal with a new bureaucracy which is to be expected. One thing I have found difficult to adapt to is actually British time keeping. When something is supposed to start at 7 o’clock in Sweden, it starts at 7 o’clock, and it took me a year of being early to everything that I should probably be less rigid in my daily scheduling

Friederike – The lack of planning! When I started working at the boarding school, I could not believe that I did not have a timetable for the first two weeks. There have been various situations where I thought ‘This should have been planned better!’. Over time I did get used to it, and to a certain extent I have definitely adapted to it. When I go travelling now for example I don’t spend as much time planning everything anymore. It is also difficult for me now when I go back to Germany to remember that I don’t need to say "Thank you” and "Sorry” all the time.

Denis - The biggest challenge was probably the language barrier, some Scottish accents are not the easiest to understand! Living by myself also took a bit of getting used to (I realised I was really messy and that cooking had never been my natural talent). But it all was great fun and was totally worth it. Now, having written my dissertation in English and being able to understand 95% (maybe slightly less) of what Scottish taxi drivers say, I feel incredibly proud of myself!

Itziar - The biggest challenge has been adapting to the weather! After 4 years I still wait for summer to arrive, but it never arrives!

Question 2 - What do you miss most about home?

Evodie - Most definitely food. Sun comes second!

Malin - Mainly family and friends. I actually feel a lot more at home in the UK, because the people I meet here are generally friendlier than those in Stockholm. One thing I do miss is the Swedish countryside, which is very accessible even if you live in a big city. I especially miss the lakes since I love swimming.

Friederike - Not being able to see my family and friends on a regular basis. And of course food that you don’t get in the UK like "proper” German bread for example.

Denis - I miss my family, friends and my dog a lot. But for some reason apart from the people (and pets) there’s not much I miss about Moscow.
Itziar - Weather and food!

Question 3 - What advice would you give to someone looking to relocate to another country?

Evodie – Make sure you do it for yourself, so you have no regrets. Make friends, create a little home for yourself and make sure you have enough money to go back and forth as much as you want or need.

Malin – For the person looking for more practical advice the one thing I can say is do your research. Things will run a lot smoother if you have spent some time looking up basic things like how most people find accommodation, what the rules are if working and what the costs are in comparison to you home country. There are plenty of online resources, and finding message boards asking if anyone else has personal experience in moving to the place you’re thinking about can often give useful information.

Friederike – Do it! It’s a fantastic experience. Be open to new things and go there with a positive attitude. Don’t get upset about small things when you first arrive. Things will go wrong but it will make you stronger and after a while you’ll laugh about it

Denis – First, never give up, keep going no matter what. If something is not quite working out as well as you’d expect, remember that good things come to those who wait and just keep trying to achieve what you want to. Don’t be afraid, very soon you’ll adjust to all new things, they will become very familiar.

Itziar – Try and learn as much of the language of the country before you go, (many Spanish people come here and can´t barely speak English), meet the locals and make the most of the experience.

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