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SCOTLAND - Edinburgh vs. Aberdeen?

Hello. I am a student in Washington State, and looking forward to studying abroad in the spring of 2010. I am currently trying to decide between studying (my major is Biochemistry) at University of Edinburgh and University of Aberdeen.

I am curious if you could provide any insight into the two cities to help in my decision. What makes them unique? Which is more student-friendly? Do you know anything about the universities?

Any information about the cities - or about Scotland for students - would be greatly appreciated!

Posted by
5669 posts

I would vote for Edinburgh, but you will be happy in either location. You need to think about the type of city you want to be in. Aberdeen is more businesslike and more commercial. It's the land of oil If you want to go out to any North Sea Oil Platforms you leave from Aberdeen. Edinburgh is the capital. It has a lot of tourists, but not so may once fall and winter come. There are lots of cultural events, clubs, art, music, theater in Edinburgh. Aberdeen is smaller. Did you look at these web sites about the student unions in Edinburgh and Aberdeen? http://www.eusa.ed.ac.uk/ and http://www.ausa.org.uk/ I have a friend whose daughter went to Aberdeen and she loved it.

Edinburgh itself is 500,000 and has 62,000 students. It looks like Aberdeen is 250,000 population with 40,000 students. These are from Internet sites not government statistics so I would view them as relative rather than absolutes.

I am terribly envious and wish I had done this when I was in college.

Posted by
1 posts

Edinburgh, because in Aberdeen, you'll come away smelling of fish. Plus do you want to spend all your time taking photos of fishing boats?! ;-)

Then again, Edinburgh isn't the catch that it used to be either. I'm Edinburgh born and bred and I'm shocked at how much it has changed over the years. I'm now living in Germany but everytime I go back to Edinburgh to visit my mammy and pappy, it seems that the place has changed just a little bit more for the worst.

The main shopping street is now being invaded by tourist shops and I'm not talking about quaint little tea rooms where you can sip a cup of tea and eat a piece of shortbread. I'm talking about huge tacky shops where some guy from Texas is walking out in full kilt gear and ginger wigs calling himself Sir Billy-Bob MacDonald McGregor of the Bubba Clan (having bought himself a clan certificate for $5 and convinced himself that he really has bought himself a castle in the Highlands).

These shops are also screaming bagpipe music which can be heard for miles around and whats more, the people that work in these shops are NOT Scottish! You walk in looking for service and the guy behind the counter says "sorry, my English isn't so good, could you speak more slowly please?"

William Wallace, where are you? We need you man. We've been invaded.

My suggestion would be to study at Edinburgh and live OUTSIDE Edinburgh. Why not Stirling? You will find some beautiful countryside out there. The REAL Scotland. Obviously there will be tourists too but not as bad as Edinburgh. Stirling is wonderful. Falkirk too.

Posted by
1358 posts

I agree with Edinburgh. But before you decide do a google search for "Edinburgh sights" and same for Aberdeen. Determine which town offers the most that you are interested in.

Don't rely on other travelers to decide what you want to see. Only you can do that.

Posted by
669 posts

Mark, LMAO. By the way, my Oma was from Wurzburg, and I still have relatives there.

We loved Edinburgh when we visited- but it's been 24 years. Aberdeen doesn't seem to appeal to me as much but without having been there, I can't toss it under the bus.

My cousin spent a year studying at the U. of York (from UCLA), and now his parents can't get him back here. He finished his degree in California and went back to graduate school in York and is now working there.

Posted by
1 posts

If you are in Biochemistry Edinburgh is probably better, but do you have the option of Dundee? Probably not the nicest city, but it has a world-renowned Biochem department.