'Edinburgh is a big city with a small-town feel. It's great'

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The Independent Online
Christian Strobel, 21, a third-year economics student at the University of Edinburgh, works as freshers' week co-ordinator

"EDINBURGH IS a great place in which to study mainly, I suppose, because it is a big city with a small-town feel.

"Student life here is very well developed and the four-year degree is a definite bonus, because it allows you the flexibility to make sure you have chosen the right course.

"I came up here from London and was so undecided that I took two years out after leaving school. I found that it is only when you start studying that you are able to decide which course is right for you. Having done A-levels in England, the first year here is straightforward and I was able to find my feet before the really hard work began.

"The best thing about student life at Edinburgh university is the extra- curricular activities on offer. You can play just about any sport and join any society from A-Ha revival to whisky appreciation. But apart from all that, Edinburgh is a beautiful city with a lot to offer and the late licensing laws give you more chance to enjoy it.

"There are some negative aspects. As with every popular city, rents here have rocketed and a decent flat costs around pounds 200 a month plus bills (electricity, gas etc).

"I also feel strongly about the Government's insistence on making higher education a pay-as-you-go privilege. Tuition fees seem to be the foot in the door of the American college system."

Rachel Richardson, 19, (left) is about to start her second year at the University of Glasgow, reading for a degree in

politics and economics

"MY HOME is in Sunderland, so I am not a Scot. I went to a Roman Catholic comprehensive school and wanted to study in a big city.

"Glasgow is certainly big and the course appealed to me. The university is huge and I found it a bit daunting at first, but the staff are really approachable and friendly and make you feel at home very quickly.

' There is plenty of equipment. The library, for instance, is well stocked and computers are constantly being updated. As for the sports facilities, they are really excellent.

"There are loads of things to do and much of my spare time is spent in clubbing and socialising.

"I go to the cinema and to football matches,especially if Sunderland is playing. I write for University Guardian - the students' newspaper and I make some extra cash to help with living costs by working part-time at a sports store. As a matter of fact, I worked for the same company while I was still at school and when I came to Glasgow, they transferred the job to their branch here.

"Would I encourage others to come to Glasgow?

"Definitely. It is a lovely place with really friendly people.

"My sister is taking a law degree at the University of Northumbria at Newcastle, but I wouldn't swap. It's really great here.

"Mind you, I will say this. My course, like most Scottish degree courses, takes four years and I am very glad I won't need to pay the extra pounds 1,000 the Government is planning to introduce.

"If it had been introduced before I applied, I would certainly have been put off coming."