Scotland Study Abroad Country Profile

Scotland Overview

Scotland Study abroad programs will expose students to many different elements of Scottish culture. Scotland occupies the upper third of the island of Great Britain. Despite being in close quarters with England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, Scotland maintains a legal system that is very unique and entirely separate from these other countries. Its capital and second largest city, Edinburgh, is one of Europe’s largest financial centers, and Scotland has historically been an economic and commercial powerhouse. Much of Scotland’s present economy revolves around banking, financial services, higher education, and tourism. Today, life in Scotland is a mixture of old traditions and new innovations.

Cultural Highlights

One unique part of life in Scotland is that the country retains its own unique legal system, with a basis in Roman law combining both civil and common law. As with many other aspects of the Scottish lifestyle, the retention of a unique legal system was provided for under the Treaty of Union, which signifies the unification of England, Wales, and Scotland. Other cultural facets protected under the Treaty of Union include Scotland’s legal right to a separate national church, the Church of Scotland.

On the popular culture front, Scotland, like many of its other European counterparts, has a strong sports following, particularly in football (soccer) and rugby. Scotland has its own media sources, separate from the rest of the UK, and there are even two Gaelic language channels. Some food is recognizable; other traditional foods, like haggis (a dish made of the heart, liver, and lungs of a sheep) are recognizable in name only.

Popular Fields of Study

Scotland has some of the most highly ranked universities in all of the United Kingdom, including the University of Glasgow, the University of St. Andrews, Dundee University, and the University of Aberdeen. Many of these universities are very old, operating since the 1400s! These exemplary universities and strong programs in conjunction with US universities give students many options in almost every field of study. Biology, psychology and English literature are some of the strong offerings at Scottish universities, but there are also Scotland study abroad programs in anthropology, history, math, art, divinity, physics, and more. Great educational opportunities await each and every student.

Why Study Abroad in Scotland?

Scotland has many unique advantages as a study abroad destination. Here are ten reasons why you should consider studying abroad in Scotland.

1. Strong Universities

With some of the oldest and most highly regarded institutions of higher education in the United Kingdom, you will get a world-class education in Scotland.

2. Language

Because English is the official language of Scotland, there is no need to get stressed out trying to learn another language (though it may take you a day or two to get used to the Scottish accent)!

3. Music

Glasgow was named a UNESCO “city of music” in 2008, and there are over 100 live shows every week with music to suit every taste.

4. Golf

Widely acknowledged as “the home of golf,” Scotland is a great choice for students that want to get some rounds in between classes at one of more than 550 beautiful courses.

5. Castles

The Scottish countryside is beautiful in and of itself, but there are a number of beautiful historical castles strewn throughout the country.

6. Edinburgh Festival

The Edinburgh Festival is actually a series of independent festivals that occur over the course of a month each year beginning in early August – these festivals include the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh International Book Festival, among others.

7. Edinburgh Zoo

Not only is the zoo situated on Corstorphine Hill, which provides great city views, but it is also very comprehensive. It is the only zoo in Great Britain with polar bears and koalas, and was the first zoo in the world to house and breed penguins.

8. Friendly People

Scottish people are friendly and outgoing, and you may even be invited over for tea or a night out.

9. Passport to Europe

Scotland is clearly in very close proximity to England and the rest of the UK, but it can also be a great starting point to see more of mainland Europe. Scotland study abroad students have great access to other interesting nearby countries.

10. Nessie

Scotland is home to the infamous Lochness Monster. Keep an eye out if you visit Urquhart Castle!

Scotland Study Abroad Statistics

Scotland Country Ranking: 30+

(based on estimated total outbound U.S. students)
  • % of U.S. students: less than 1%
  • Total US Students 2009/10: less than 1,000
  • Total US Students 2008/09: less than 1,000
  • Yearly 2009/10 Trend: N/A
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