Carlton Hill

First day jitters

It’s my first day in Edinburgh. Elaine in Edinburgh, there’s a nice ring to that! As I wake up in my bed among the spartan furniture of my improvised bedroom, I suddenly become fully aware that this is the place I have committed to live in for at least a year.

I am glad I brought some personal artifacts to make my room feel more like home. A thought that is quickly followed by: “Adventures in my new city await me, so I should head out soon!” But when I excitedly stick my head outside my window to see what my street looks like by daylight, my excitement withers slightly.

Students moving into their accommodation at University of Edinburgh Business SchoolDrizzle… Well, I’d better get used to the Scottish weather sooner than later, hence I put on my newly bought raincoat to face the rain undeterred.

As I step outside my door onto the bustling pavement of Nicholson Street, I walk off for a little gander, which leads me into the Old Town. While I’m walking down the Royal Mile, I notice that seemingly everyone is wearing a raincoat and those trousers that zip off into shorts. I can’t help but wonder if this is the type of fashion every adult abides by here, and if I’ll have to get such trousers in order to blend in with the Scottish crowds. (The answer is: no, however a good raincoat is essential in this country!). Meanwhile, I am trying really hard not to let my mood be affected by the rain, which by now has turned into a full-on shower…

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princes street gardens, Edinburgh
Princes Street Gardens

Too late… All sorts of doom scenarios have started to seep into my thoughts as I courageously continue my wander in the rain. “Did I make the right decision to come here and leave my life in Amsterdam behind for a year?” “Is the weather going to be this bad every day?” “What’s this matriculation-stuff and did I do it right?” “Where’s my Hagrid, who can tell me what I should do to get prepared and what the best place is to get ink? Ehh… I mean pens.”

Finally, I tell myself to stop having such silly thoughts and I head into the Scottish National Gallery to get some shelter from the rain and put my mind at ease by doing what I love most: looking at art.

Carlton Hill
Calton Hill

As I walk among Raeburn’s paintings of imposing men in tartan kilts and paintings of beautiful Scottish landscapes and old estates, I am reminded of all the reasons why I wanted to study here. Encouraged by all these reminders, I decide to prolong my art expedition and I head off towards the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art.

And once there, while I’m starting on the path to the entrance, I look up to the grand face of Modern Two, where my eyes meet the big neon lit letters of Martin Creed’s light installation: “EVERTHING WILL BE ALRIGHT”. In that moment, my last trepidations about the year ahead vanish. Instead I now know with absolute certainty that this year will merely involve wonderful and exciting things for us to discover about our chosen subjects, our surroundings and ourselves. The Celtic Gods have spoken. Everything will be alright.




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Elaine Kreiken

Elaine is studying the Masters in International Business and Emerging Markets at the University of Edinburgh Business School.