10 reasons why you should study abroad in Scotland

Three students walking through Aberdeen

Scotland is a popular study destination for international students. Welcoming more than 50,000 international students from 180 different countries every year (Scotland.org 2023), the country is home to world-class education, natural beauty and an exciting student experience. 

10 reasons to study abroad in Scotland

1. Quality education

Scottish universities are known for their teaching excellence and world-innovating research. They often perform well in rankings for overall performance and student satisfaction. 

The University of Aberdeen is ranked 4th in the UK and 2nd in Scotland for overall student satisfaction (National Student Survey 2022). Researchers from the University of Aberdeen have been awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize five times and the world's first full-body MRI scanner was invented by an academic from the University. 

Scotland is also home to some of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world, with the University of Aberdeen being the 3rd oldest in Scotland and the 5th oldest in the UK.

The Scottish education system is one of the oldest in the world and has inspired similar systems in countries such as the USA, Canada, China and Hong Kong. Studying a degree in Scotland gives you the opportunity to try a range of subjects before choosing your preferred subject. The standard length of a Scottish undergraduate degree is four years, the additional year gives students a broader and more flexible education. This allows students to tailor their degree to their personal interests and needs. 

2. Experience student life 

The University of Aberdeen has a student population of around 15,000 with students from over 130 different countries, making it an excellent place to experience the best parts of being a student. 

On the University of Aberdeen campus, there are over 170 clubs and societies to join such as basketball, dance society, table tennis and Aberdeen student parliament. These are a great way to enrich your university experience, as you can make new friends and explore your interests.

3. Exploration

Scotland is a beautiful country that offers countless landscapes, attractions and historical sites to be explored. Over a quarter of Aberdeen is made up of green space and Aberdeenshire is home to four of the highest mountains in Britain. Thanks to its numerous parks, botanical gardens and beautiful granite buildings, Aberdeen is referred to as the Scottish city of Granite and Roses. 

The city beach is just a 15-minute walk from the University of Aberdeen campus, meaning relaxation in a beautiful setting is never too far away. It’s easy to find the perfect place to take a walk or enjoy the weather in Scotland’s sunniest city.

4. History and traditions

Scotland has a rich history, with castles scattered throughout the country. These offer tours and visits—a great way to learn more about the country you are studying in.

There are many holidays and traditions within Scottish culture that take place throughout the entire year. The most famous include Hogmanay, which is part of New Year’s Eve and Burns Night. During Burns Night celebrations, haggis, the national dish of Scotland, is served.

5. Experience the seasons

Although Scotland’s climate is known for being moderate, it can be unpredictable but never extreme. It is often the case that just 20 minutes away, the weather conditions are entirely different, meaning it’s not uncommon to experience all four seasons in one day. 

Spring, which takes place from March to May, is a beautiful time to explore Scotland. The season sees cherry blossoms, daffodils and bluebells bringing the country to life in a burst of colour. 

Summer is Scotland’s warmest time of the year, taking place from June to August. Average maximum temperatures range from approximately 15-17°C (or 59-63 °F). The country’s high latitude means the summer days are long with extra hours of sunlight, giving you more time to spend at the beach. 

September through November is when the fiery red, orange and yellow autumn leaves take over Scotland’s landscapes and greenery. It is the perfect time of year to explore the country’s many parks and forests. 

Scotland’s coldest months: December, January and February make up its winter. During this time, you can expect average temperatures of around 5°C (41°F) and it is not uncommon to experience snow. The average number of days with snow falling ranges from 10 to 20 days, with this extending to 40 days in the peaks and mountains of the Highlands.  

6. Live in a multicultural environment 

Scotland is a diverse country filled with many cultures and nationalities. It has a long history of welcoming international students to study at its universities. 

There are students from more than 130 nations represented on campus at the University of Aberdeen. This provides an excellent environment to learn more about different cultures, meet people from a variety of backgrounds and learn new languages. 

Outside of campus, the city is brimming with international restaurants that you can visit with your new friends. Giving you the opportunity to explore new cultures and teach others about your own. 

7. Scottish food

Food is a large part of Scotland’s culture and many of its traditional dishes have connections with its history and holiday celebrations. There are many interesting Scottish foods to try; these are a great way to immerse yourself in Scotland’s culture while you are studying abroad. 

The national dish of Scotland is haggis, a savoury meat pudding traditionally served with mashed potatoes and turnips. You can also find haggis used in non-traditional foods such as burgers, pizzas and breakfast sandwiches. 

Another food that Scotland is famous for is shortbread, a buttery biscuit sprinkled with sugar. These biscuits are often associated with festive holidays such as Christmas and Hogmanay, but they are also part of everyday life across Scotland.

8. Work in Scotland during and after your study

International students can work in Scotland while they study to gain valuable work experience. To do so, you must be enrolled in a full-time programme and have a Student visa. You are permitted to work up to 20 hours a week during term time, this can change depending on your study level. Outside of term time, you can work up to 40 hours per week. This opportunity gives you valuable work experience that employers look for in potential candidates. 

Once you have graduated, you will be able to start your career with the Graduate Immigration Route—a two-year post-study work visa for international students graduating from UK universities. This allows graduates to stay in the UK and work at any skill level for two years. 

9. Develop your English language skills

During your studies, you will have dedicated modules designed to improve your English skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking. These skills will also naturally develop through everyday activities such as talking with fellow students, attending campus events and ordering food at restaurants. 

Having excellent English language skills will help your graduate career prospects, as many organisations across the world use the language.   

10. Support at the University of Aberdeen International Study Centre

Choosing to study in Scotland for international students can be a big step. The University of Aberdeen International Study Centre is your first step to achieving a degree from one of Scotland’s oldest and most prestigious universities. The pathway programmes equip students with the academic skills and knowledge needed to succeed in a Scottish degree through expert support and university style teaching. 

The International Study Centre makes this transition a smooth one with expert guidance from day one. The supportive team of staff help students with the application process, visa information and organising accommodation.

International students who have successfully completed a pathway programme at the International Study Centre can benefit from scholarship opportunities for their degree study at the University of Aberdeen. 


Is Scotland expensive for international students?

The cost of living in Scotland depends on various factors such as lifestyle, accommodation and the degree you choose to study. Find out more about undergraduate level and postgraduate level fees when you study at the International Study Centre in Aberdeen, one of the most affordable student city in the UK (QS Best Student Cities 2022).

The fees for your chosen degree at the University of Aberdeen will depend on the subject and the level of study.

What are the requirements to study in Scotland? 

There are multiple requirements to study in Scotland; these include academic qualifications, language proficiency and a visa. Find out more about undergraduate level and postgraduate level entry requirements at the University of Aberdeen International Study Centre.

The successful completion of a pathway programme at the International Study Centre, with the required grades, will allow you to progress to your chosen degree at the University of Aberdeen.

What is the best course to study in Scotland?

The best place for international students to begin their education in Scotland would be a pathway programme at the University of Aberdeen International Study Centre. They are purposefully designed to help you smoothly transition into the Scottish education system with the confidence to succeed in an undergraduate or postgraduate degree at the University of Aberdeen.

Faisal from Jordan holding a book.

The main thing that made me choose Scotland was number one, the safety here because Aberdeen is one of the safest cities in Scotland and in the UK in general. That's an important thing for me since back home was one of the safest places and my parents didn't want to put me in a place that's really difficult to live in. The quality of life here is really good because of the weather and it's on the sea, which I'm used to because back home I was living near the sea too."

Faisal from Jordan