International Study Centre

Living in Scotland

Experience student life

The UK is a friendly and welcoming place to study as an international student. The multicultural population makes it a vibrant and inclusive place to live. We’ll help you to make the most of UK culture, discover what student life in Scotland is like and find out more about typical Scottish weather.

What is it like to live in Scotland?

Scotland is part of the UK. It is located in the northern part of Great Britain. The country has 800 small islands including Arran, Lewis, Harris and Skye. Scotland was voted the Most Beautiful Country in the World by Rough Guides in 2017, and it’s easy to see why.

The country is famous for its breathtaking landscapes, stunning mountains and historic castles. It is the perfect place to enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, kayaking and mountain biking.

The beautiful Scottish scenery is popular with filmmakers. The dramatic valley of Glen Coe was featured in James Bond’s Skyfall, and the historic Glenfinnan Viaduct was used in the Harry Potter films.

Scotland hosts exciting events all year round, including more than 350 festivals like TRNSMT Music Festival and the world-famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The University of Strathclyde is in Glasgow, the sixth largest city in the UK. It has plenty of museums, shops, events and green spaces to enjoy. 

Things to do in Scotland

Historic cities

Scotland has many historic cities, including its capital city, Edinburgh. It is home to the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh Castle, the historic Royal Mile and Arthur’s Seat, as well many museums, galleries and cultural venues.

Other historic cities within easy reach of Glasgow include Stirling, Perth and the coastal town of Dundee.

Scottish culture

Although it is part of the UK, Scotland has a distinct cultural identity, which Scottish people are very proud of. The country has a long history of literature, art, sport and food. It even has its own languages, which pre-date the Viking invasion.

One of Scotland’s most famous icons is tartan. This woollen fabric is woven in different colours and checked patterns that are associated with ancient Highland clans. Tartan is typically worn as knee-length skirts called kilts, which are worn by men to weddings and other important events.

The Highland Games are annual events held across Scotland. They feature traditional Scottish culture, sports and music. Bagpipe music is often played at national events such as Ceilidhs (dances), university graduation ceremonies, and other traditional Scottish celebrations such as Burns Night in January, St Andrew’s Day in November and Hogmanay on New Year’s Eve.

What about the weather?

When you’re living abroad in Scotland, you’ll notice differences in the weather between each of the four seasons: spring, summer, autumn, winter.

As Scotland is in the more northerly part of the UK, it has more annual rainfall and snow in winter. Average temperatures in summer range from 14°C to 22°C. Average temperatures in winter range from 0°C to 6°C.

Students share their experience of Scottish weather and seeing snow for the first time

Practical travel information

Travelling around Scotland and the rest of the UK is convenient and simple with excellent road and rail networks, and international airports. 

Glasgow Central is the city’s major mainline rail station. It connects you to the other cities, towns and villages within the UK’s national rail network. Ask at the station about student discounts. For more information, visit nationalrail.co.uk or thetrainline.com

Regular coach services travel between cities and to popular tourist destinations, such as Edinburgh Castle or the famous Loch Ness in Inverness. Visit the National Express and Megabus websites for more information.

Glasgow International Airport is one of the largest international airports in Scotland. It offers regular flights to Europe and across the world. You can fly from Glasgow to London in just over an hour. 

Glasgow has frequent, inexpensive buses that make it easy to travel around the city and to local towns. Services are operated by First Group and SPT (Strathclyde Partnership for Transport). Glasgow has an underground rail service. Tourists know it as the ‘Clockwork Orange’, and locals call it ‘the Subway’.

Glasgow has over 300 kilometres of cycle lanes and hundreds of cycle racks throughout the city. If you walk, you get to see more of the beautiful architecture and experience more of its vibrant culture.

Explore the great outdoors

Stunning landscapes and more than 10,000 miles of coastline make Scotland a perfect destination for exploring the great outdoors. Scotland has amazing beaches such as Scarista Beach on the Isle of Harris. It also has the highest mountain in the British Isles, Ben Nevis.

I like to go to the park, like Glasgow Green with the bridge and the swans, and shopping. I think Buchannan Street is a very nice place.

"My favourite thing in Glasgow is Ceilidh dances, and the buildings and the style here.’"

Shenchi (Alice) from China Studied Undergraduate Foundation Programme in
Business and Social Studies
Progressed to BA (Hons) Finance

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