I have had to endure 3 years of the most important person in my life enduring the unending frustration of being an international student at Edinburgh University. The other week, she wrote a bit of feedback on the experience and I thought, for the good of the world, that I would make them public. Here are some excerpts:
While some of the teaching staff were very good, others were appalling and left me with the feeling that undergraduates are not really valued by the department. Additionally, my needs as an international student were constantly ignored (eg. making December exam dates so close to Christmas, thus making flights home ludicrously expensive).
I would like to mention the flexibility (or lack thereof) of the department. The staff repeatedly clung to the rules of the system rather than treating me as an individual with genuine needs. I felt like one of a herd of cattle rather than a valued member (especially one who, as fee-paying international student, is necessary for the economic viability of the university). The staff also displayed an appalling deficiency in communicating important information to me.
I would discourage English-speaking international students from applying because they can 'fall through the cracks' as it were from the student support networks.
I would discourage people from applying partly because of the mono-culture of private school-educated students.
But the main reason I would discourage people from applying is that the University gives every impression of being run by accountants and by blank-faced bureaucrats, more concerned with following The System and maintaining Edinburgh's 'prestigious reputation', rather than fostering an environment of personal growth and academic achievement.
I'm glad she had the chance to get that off her chest. And now, she's free!