Known as the land of Highland Vikings and battles between Catholics and Protestants, Scotland’s history is as rough as the landscape itself. Thankfully, nowadays, you don’t have to worry about spears and arrows hurtling across your path -- though you can absolutely learn about them while studying abroad in Scotland.

Photo Credit: API study abroad

Scotland may be somewhat wet and rainy certain months of the year, but the innate character of the country's cities entirely make up for it.

Edinburgh: Scotland’s capital combines new with old: hilltop castles and medieval brick-lined streets are embedded within the pubs and cubs that cater to the growing student population. The aged city definitely has its share of excitement as the annual Fringe Film Festival highlights.

Aberdeen: Aberdeen is home not only to the prestigious university of Aberdeen but also to a slew of aesthetically unique buildings. Aberdeen is known as the “Granite city” because most of the buildings are made of granite, which hails from the region and emanates a silvery shine in the sunlight.

St. Andrews: Many associate St Andrews with golf, beer, and rain. While these qualities ring true, they don’t tell the entire story. The University of St. Andrews is one of the oldest universities in the world and a hotspot for international study. What’s more, it’s a great place to meet Mr. Prince Charming, ladies…Kate Middleton did.

Even if you’re in a less-bustling Scottish city, you’ll be able to find pints of haggis and deep-friend mars bars. So, for some, location might not be a pressing issue. However, it’s important to consider other options, such as housing and academic life, when choosing a program.

Language: Rarely will your classrooms in Scotland have four walls - instead, studiers of will find that the locale itself provides bountiful opportunities to maximize your language acquisition (even if you're just trying to master the accent!). If you're feeling brave, try your luck at Scottish Gaelic - over 50,000 Scots still use this minority language today!

Housing: Where you live will have a big impact on your Scottish life. USAC at University of St. Andrews allows participants to bunk it up with fellow students in a dormitory. Or, the University of Illinois offers apartment living for those who want to more directly immerse themselves in the community.

Academic Life: Scottish universities are some of the best in the UK. 90 percent of Scottish graduates head into the labor force or continue their studies six months after graduation. The Scottish education system is arguably more flexible than those of its UK counterparts in that students can take classes from a greater number of disciplines.

The Scottish government is committed to attracting the best and brightest students to Scottish universities. Thus, many of the awards and scholarships for undergraduate, masters, and PhD study are government-funded.

Contributed by Daniel O'Kelly


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