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An Expat Talks about Living in Edinburgh, Scotland

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Edinburgh

How long have you lived there?

4 years

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

There's the American Women's Club, but generally you meet people through work/volunteering or if you're a mom, at the gym or creche (day care).

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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

Edinburgh is a truly cosmopolitan town. Although English is the common language, you will also hear Urdu or Hindi along with a host of European languages from travellers.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

The main and fastest growing industry here is Finance & Banking. With Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Halifax/Bank of Scotland (HBOS) based here, quite a few British people move up from London for a better life balance.

That being said, the property market has ballooned up here and is still strong now, even when London is starting to dip. It can be very difficult to buy a property at the moment.

Most people find jobs through the newspaper Scotland on Sunday (scotsman.com); s1jobs.com, or monster.co.uk.

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

People seem to have a good work/life balance. Generally working hours are 35 - 40 per week; and people will go out during the week if they don't have kids.

Sport is pretty big in Scotland. There are 2 football (soccer) teams in Edinburgh plus two 'major league' teams in Glasgow to follow. The scotland rugby team plays at Murrayfield in Edinburgh.

Church and religion are less popular than in the US. But the Scots are so polite, no one would ever ask you your religion anyway!

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If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

I always describe Edinburgh as: As Boston is to New York, so is Edinburgh to London. In other words, Edinburgh is London's smaller, more genteel cousin. Most Americans would call it quaint. It's a compact city and you can walk almost anywhere.

For Americans, the UK can be quite expensive. This can be exaggerated in Scotland, as they tend to pay about 10 - 15% less in salaries than in London.

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