The Ultimate Guide to Studying Abroad in Scotland

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College Study Abroad

Is Scotland a good place to study abroad? Our vote is a resounding “YES!” From the country’s lively music culture to its beautiful lochs, rugged highlands, hearty food, historic architecture, and whisky distilleries, there’s something for every study abroad student in Scotland. But be warned: this English-speaking country will train your ear and twist your tongue. You’ll love it! 

If you’re still asking yourself, “should I study abroad in Scotland?” then this article is for you. Our ultimate guide to studying abroad in Scotland will prepare you for an epic adventure in the home of the elusive and beloved Loch Ness Monster. Let’s dig in! 

scotland downloadable guide

Why Study Abroad in Scotland 

Let’s serve it up like a plate of haggis and mashed tatties (psst: haggis is the national dish of Scotland, a type of meat pudding). 

Reason #1: The Stunning Landscapes 

Scotland is a land of majestic beauty. With its rolling green hills, rugged coastline, and ancient castles, you’ll feel like you stepped off your plane right into your favorite fairytale! And yes, it’s your adventure so you’ll be the main character of this fine tale. 

Reason #2: The Local Culture 

Scottish culture is a vibe. Think kilts, bagpipes, and ceilidhs (that’s literary entertainment). And the people? They’re some of the friendliest you’ll ever meet, known for their warmth and wicked sense of humor that will make you feel right at home in no time. 

edinburgh river with apartments

Reason #3: The Affordable Living 

Scotland is a relatively affordable place to study abroad. Even its two main cities for study abroad – Edinburgh and Glasgow – are considered affordable, especially if you have reasonable spending habits.  

For instance, according to, you should expect to spend about $100 per month on transportation and $400 per month on food, give or take. Plus, studying with CIEE makes budget planning even easier since so much is included in your fees, like tuition, excursions, travel insurance, and more. 

Is Scotland a Good Place to Study Abroad? 

Of course, it is! The culture is enough to catch your eye. But the education in Scotland is also world-renowned. Study here and you will learn alongside some of the best and brightest minds. 

In fact, beautiful Scotland lays claim to some of the world’s most esteemed universities. And, according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022, it even has a monopoly on Britain’s share of ancient universities, too. In fact, four out of the top five universities in Scotland were founded before 1600. Talk about history books! 

If you choose to study abroad in Scotland and do so with CIEE (and why wouldn’t you?!), you will enjoy rigorous academic programs that extend outside the classroom walls. You are sure to gain the experiences and skills you need to succeed in college and beyond. It really is a life-changing opportunity.  

Plus, with us, you will have round-the-clock access to our on-site staff and highly trained support teams who will be with you every step of the way to ensure your experience is extraordinary. You can rest assured you will be well cared for while living abroad. 

Glasgow vs. Edinburgh Study Abroad 

As mentioned earlier, the two most popular cities to study abroad in Scotland are Glasgow (the country’s cultural epicenter) and Edinburgh (the country’s historic capital). You’ll be happy studying in either location. And notably, they are only an hour apart by train.  

There are key differences between these two Scottish cities that will help you choose your perfect fit. 


Glasgow is Scotland’s most populous city with 1.8 million residents. It's edgy, creative, and known for boasting a lively nightlife and great music scene. You’ll have no trouble finding fabulous museums and art galleries here, like Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and the Riverside Museum. 

glasgow study abroad aerial view of the city


Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is less than half Glasgow’s size, home to roughly 600,000 residents. Unlike the more modern Glasgow, Edinburgh has an undeniable old-world charm as is evident in its stunning architecture and cobblestone streets. It’s also home to some of Scotland’s most famous landmarks, like Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile. 

edinburgh study abroad aerial view of the city

How to Study Abroad in Scotland 

Choosing between Glasgow and Edinburgh is the hard part. Getting there is much easier. Here are the five simple steps to making your Scotland study abroad experience actually happen: 

Step #1: Determine your availability.   

Some students have a lot of flexibility in their schedules. Others do not. Whatever your timeframe, rest assured, there’s a program for you.  

We offer study abroad programs that require a commitment of just a few weeks and others that last a full semester. We’ll work with you to figure out a program that fits your schedule.    

Step #2: Make sure you’re eligible.  

Each program has its own set of prerequisites and almost always includes a minimum GPA. Read the fine print to make sure you qualify for the program you’re eyeing before getting your heart set. 

Step #3: See that your study abroad program ties to your existing academic path.  

It’s critical that your chosen program works well with your academic path and life goals. Pull your academic and study abroad advisors into the discussion to make sure your plan to study in Scotland keeps you on track for graduation. 

edinburgh study tour study abroad students at dinner

Step #4: Budget for it.  

Your program fee covers your participation confirmation, educational costs, housing, insurance, on-site support, and more. There will, of course, be some out-of-pocket costs such as meals, airfare, local transportation, and personal expenses. 

At CIEE, it’s right in our mission – putting quality study abroad within reach for as many students as possible. So, we offer millions of dollars in scholarships and grants each year based on financial need and academic merit. Your college’s study abroad advisor may also know of other avenues of financial support. Be sure to check with them. 

Step #5: Book it!  

Get going on your study abroad journey by applying directly through CIEE. Essentially, you need to provide a few personal facts like your name, address, birth date, name of university, preferred program, and emergency contacts. The process couldn’t be easier! 

Get on Your Way 

So, what are you waiting for? Time to pack your bags and head to Scotland for the adventure of a lifetime. Take the next step today!