Top 2 Best Places to Study Abroad in Scotland

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College Study Abroad

Fun fact: The pursuit of happiness began in Scotland 

It’s true! A quick search will confirm it. It’s one of the many democratic ideals to come out of the Scottish Enlightenment. You can read all about it.  

But we have a better idea. What if you were to pursue happiness for yourself as a student in Scotland?  

What an experience that would be! This lush, beautiful country is perfect for a study abroad adventure.  

Just imagine walking in the footsteps of soldiers at the magnificent Edinburgh Castle. Or strolling through Glasgow, one of the world’s friendliest cities. Plus, Scotland is known for its world-class universities and knack for producing creative thinkers.  

What’s more, per Brand Scotland, 91% of international graduates say they are satisfied with their learning experience at a Scottish university, and 86% would recommend studying at one. The stats speak for themselves! 

The even better news is that CIEE makes experiencing all this easy. But first, you must decide for yourself: what is the best place to study abroad in Scotland 

Here we offer a quick Edinburgh vs. Glasgow snapshot to help you decide on your favorite Scottish city. 

Enchanting Edinburgh 

The capital of Scotland, not to mention the muse for J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, Edinburgh is a remarkable place to study abroad. Live and learn here, and you will get to discover its deep-rooted history spanning centuries, delight in its world-renowned festivals, and take in its truly stunning scenery. 

Here are some fast facts about Edinburgh to get inspired: 

  • Population: 600,000 and Scotland’s second-most populous city
  • Location: Southeastern Scotland near the Firth of Forth. 
  • Weather: Summers are cool and partly cloudy, with July and August being the warmest months. Edinburgh winters are long, very cold, windy, and mostly cloudy. 
  • Cost of Living: Edinburgh is slightly more affordable than Glasgow, but nominally so. According to, you can expect to spend about $130 on transportation while living in Edinburgh and about $400 per month on food. 
  • Landmarks: Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, St. Giles’ Cathedral, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Arthur’s Seat, Calton Hill, and the Pentland Hills. 
  • Bonus Fact: The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the largest arts festival in the world, boasting 50,000 performances across 300 venues! 

study abroad in edinburgh famous castle


Gorgeous Glasgow 

Glasgow has earned a reputation for being a friendly, welcoming city as locals love chatting up visitors. Study here, and you’ll no doubt enjoy exploring the city’s famous Art Nouveau architecture, world-class museums, and legendary music scene – it is a UNESCO City of Music, after all. What’s not to love about Glasgow? 

Look at these exciting key facts about Glasgow to really start planning: 

  • Population: 1.8 million and Scotland’s most populous city
  • Location: West central Scotland
  • Weather: Summers are mostly cool, with late June to late August being the warmest time of year. Its winters are long, very cold, windy, and wet. It’s cloudy in Glasgow year-round. 
  • Cost of Living: According to Numbeo, living in Glasgow is about 4% more expensive than in Edinburgh. So, it is a little more costly, but not by much. And, per, you can expect to spend about $130 per month on transportation and $400 per month on food. 
  • Landmarks: Glasgow Cathedral, Glasgow School of Art, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow Science Center, the Clyde Auditorium, Loch Lomond, Glasgow Green, and the River Clyde. 
  • Bonus Fact: 11 extinct fossilized trees in Glasgow’s Victoria Park Fossil Grove are twice as old as dinosaurs. (Seriously!) 

How to Study Abroad in Scotland 

While considering your ideal Scottish destination, you can go ahead and get started on the practicalities of your adventure by asking yourself these five key questions: 

#1: Why do I want to study abroad?  

Maybe to experience the culture or see what it’s like to live in a foreign country. Maybe you want to learn new skills or see the world from a different point of view. Or, it could be to boost your resume and develop practical skills as an international intern.  

There are a million reasons why studying abroad makes sense. Find yours. The rest will fall into place. 

#2: How long do I want to go abroad?  

You may have a lot of flexibility in your schedule, or maybe you don’t. Either way, CIEE has a program to fit your lifestyle and goals.  

The main trick is not getting your heart set on a semester abroad when your schedule has room only for a J-term or summer program. Besides, you may be surprised at just how much you can fit into a few weeks. 

#3: What program makes the most sense for my goals and degree? 

Choose a program that will keep you moving toward your academic and long-term goals. It’s a good idea to talk with your academic and study abroad advisors about how your study abroad ambitions fit into your academic journey. 

bench with flowers and view of city of glasgow

#4: Am I eligible?  

Different programs have different requirements, such as GPA, language skills, etc. Don’t get your heart set on the program until you check these requirements. Fortunately, English is the main language spoken in Scotland, so you’re likely covered there. 

#5: How can I fund my program?  

Our fees go a long way and typically cover tuition, tours, excursions, orientation, on-site support, airport meet-and-greet, and more.  

We also offer millions of dollars in scholarships and grants each year based on financial need and merit. When you apply for your dream study abroad program with us, we’ll automatically consider you for all scholarships and grants you may be eligible for. How’s that for an easy application process? 

As you get your CIEE application in order, it’s also a good idea to check in with your college’s study abroad advisor to see if they’re aware of any other scholarships or other opportunities for financial support. 

Scotland is Calling 

So, what do you say? Does Scotland sound like one of the best places to study abroad, or what? We think so! And we have just the programs to help you pursue your own happiness abroad. Start planning your journey abroad to Scotland today!