Miranda: "Edinburgh has a bit of everything"

  • Miranda in Edinburgh
Published 4 years ago
Miranda moved from Canada to Scotland in March 2013. Shortly after she met her partner, they decided to travel the world together. They applied to the Youth Mobility Visa for the UK and moved to Edinburgh simply because there is a castle in the middle of the city...


Canadian female who is slowly travelling her way around the world. Currently exploring Scotland.

Why did you decide to move to Edinburgh?

Once we decided to move to the UK, we had to decide what city we wanted to base ourselves out of. We originally had our sights set on London, but the more we looked into it, the more we realized we wouldn't be able to afford it. Looking at alternatives, we chose Edinburgh because it was still a major city, it would be cheaper than London, and there was a castle in the middle of the city - which seemed like a pretty cool sight to see every time we went downtown.

How was the moving process?

Moving for us involved packing up everything we wanted to keep and storing it at Miranda's parents, who were kind enough to volunteer a spare bedroom to keep it all in. We tossed some of the furniture and useless doodads we had lying around, giving us a chance to purge a few of our least necessary possessions.
The hardest thing we had to get rid of though was our pets! We had two cats and two ferrets, Vienna and Raynor, and Dante and Tess, respectively. Luckily Miranda's aunt was looking for a couple of cats for her farm, so they're probably out mousing as we speak. As for the ferrets, we managed to find a school that was looking for a couple of ferrets for its animal studies program. We had a fair amount of interest in them, with many people willing to pay, but in the end we felt the school would provide a good home and plenty of attention from the students, so we donated them at no charge.
Once our stuff was gone we stayed at Miranda's parents for a couple of weeks, and then it was simply a matter of getting on the plane with a couple of backpacks and heading off to the UK!

What were the formalities you had to go through to obtain a Youth Mobility Visa?

We had to apply online and then go to a biometric appointment where we got our photos taken, finger prints done, and application pre-reviewed. The whole process was pretty easy, although we did also have to renew our passports before we could begin the application process, which added extra time and paperwork to the process. We were nervous that at some step along the way we might have filled something out wrong, which would have meant reapplying and probably missing our departure date, but we need not have worried. We were approved about 3 weeks after mailing our applications off, leaving plenty of time as leeway.

Is it easy to find a job? What are the recruiting sectors?

We found jobs after two months of being here. We probably could have found a job a bit sooner if we tried harder, but we wanted to spend the first few months exploring the city, without worrying about a 9-5 work day - not that we ended up working 9-5 jobs anyway though!
There are plenty of websites that have job postings online. The pay in Scotland tends to be lower than what you would get in Canada for the same job.

How did you manage to find an accommodation in Edinburgh?

We found our flat through Gumtree, basically by emailing everyone who was offering something in our price range that would accommodate a couple. We did find many places didn't want couples, so our selection was a bit narrower than it would be for single travelers. There were new postings being put up every day though, so it only took a couple of days before we found a bedroom in a shared flat. Now that we've been here for a while we are looking for our own place. After doing some more research we've found that we could rent our own apartment for about the same as what we are currently paying for a shared place.

Did you face some difficulties to adapt to your host country (language, culture, do's and don'ts)?

The largest difficulty we had in adapting is one we're still facing today, and that's the language barrier - which is a bit strange, since we speak the same language. But we find Scottish accents are very difficult to understand, and when you throw in all of the colloquialisms, sometimes the most we can do is stare blankly when someone is trying to tell us something. Luckily it seems everyone in Edinburgh is used to sharing the city with travelers, so they've been forgiving.
There are many small differences between our cultures, but in all much has been similar, so we've found adjusting relatively easy.

What surprised you the most in Edinburgh?

We were surprised about how connected Edinburgh is to the rest of Scotland. You can easily get a city bus or a train to other parts of Scotland, and for pretty cheap too.

Could you please share with us something you like about Edinburgh and something you don't like?

I don't think there is anything that I don't really like about Edinburgh. We enjoy all the natural beauty, Edinburgh has a bit of everything.

A common belief about Scotland which wasn't right:

That it rains all the time. It does rain here quite a bit, but it is rarely pouring rain, and it doesn't usually last all day. Usually, at the most it's just overcast with no rain.

What do you miss the most from Canada, your home country?

Other than friends and family, I think we miss the food the most. There are some foods that we just can't seem to find here. Poutine is the main one. We also miss having a dryer for our clothes. Dryers don't seem to be too common in Scotland, most people just hang their clothes outside.

Which advice would you give to people wishing to live in Edinburgh?

Our advice would be just go for it. And even if you don't want to live in Edinburgh permanently, it's a great city to visit.

Why did you decide to create your blog, Endlessly Changing Horizon?

We wanted a way to document our adventures and share them with the world. We also want to have a place that we can store all our memories of our travels, so that we can go back and revisit them when we're older.

What are your plans for the future (would you like to stay in Edinburgh, move to other countries or go back to Canada)?

Our plans for the future are always changing. But we do want to continue traveling the world slowly. Right now our current plan is to stay in Edinburgh for a while, and maybe next winter move to Australia. We have no plans for living in Canada in the near future, but we do plan to go back and visit.