Student walking through Aberdeen

Life in Aberdeen

Your time at Aberdeen goes beyond the classroom. It's a vibrant, innovative city with a long and exciting history, providing you with endless opportunities for adventure and exploration.

Where is Aberdeen?

Aberdeen is Scotland's third largest city and is located on the north-east coast of Scotland. 

The city itself is famous for its historical production of granite, something that is still evident today in the distinct grey buildings which sparkle silver and make Aberdeen such a unique place to visit. Aberdeen is also known as one of the sunniest cities in the UK (Real Homes 2022). 

With a campus that’s only twenty minutes’ walk from the city centre, you’ll have plenty of chances to get outside and explore your new home.

Jensen from China shares his experience of studying in Aberdeen

Why live in Aberdeen?

Iconic landscapes

Aberdeenshire’s coastline is one of the 20 most iconic landscapes in the world.

National Geographic

Highest mountains in Britain

Aberdeenshire is home to 4 of the 5 highest mountains in Britain.

Most affordable city in the UK for students.

QS Best Student Cities Rankings 2022

Safe and vibrant city centre

The only city in Scotland with a Purple Flag status for the 10th year running, recognising Aberdeen’s safe and vibrant city centre.

Managed by the Association of Town & City Management, May 2023

Explore Aberdeen

Aberdeen boasts its very own beach and coastline and, just a little further out of the city, you can also explore everything Scotland's beautiful countryside has to offer. 

Some of the many things you can enjoy include:

  • Water sports
  • Beach fun fair
  • Restaurants
  • A hike around some of Scotland’s famous lochs
  • Skiing at one of the nearby ski resorts - Lecht and Glenshee

Heritage and innovation

Aberdeen is a city made up of a lot of history. 

The University’s Old Aberdeen campus is the third oldest in Scotland, and you can find history all over the city. Granite from Aberdeen has been used to build many important buildings throughout the UK, such as the Houses of Parliament and Waterloo Bridge in London. 

In Aberdeen, you’ll have the chance to get lost in ancient ruins and medieval castles, as well as spending your days exploring museums and art galleries.

Despite its historical connections, Aberdeen is not a city of the past. Its coastal location made Aberdeen the perfect location to become a hub of the petroleum industry. Aberdeen is often referred to as the Energy Capital of Europe due to the large amount of global businesses which have made Aberdeen their base of operations.

Traditionally Scottish, with an international atmosphere

As a student in Aberdeen, you will have the opportunity to experience the traditional Scottish culture that is famous around the world, but combined with a multicultural attitude made possible by the large international community in Aberdeen. The University itself boasts over 130 different student nationalities, allowing you to make lifelong friends from all over the world. Outside of campus, you and your new friends can indulge yourself in one of the many amazing international restaurants available in Aberdeen — just don’t forget to try Scotland’s famous haggis as well.

Traveling around Aberdeen and the UK

Aberdeen has lots to discover, from cafés and coffee shops to high street stores and independent boutiques. Whether you are spending a free day in town or showing your family your new home, you are sure to find something to do.

If you want to make the most of your time at university, Aberdeen has many ways for you to explore the rest of the UK. Served by both a railway station and an international airport, you can explore the UK and the EU with ease.

There are many ways you can travel in and around Aberdeen, including:

  • Aberdeen to Edinburgh: approximately 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Aberdeen to Glasgow: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Aberdeen to Inverness: approximately 2 hours
  • Aberdeen to Newcastle: 55 minutes
  • Aberdeen to Manchester: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Aberdeen to London Heathrow: approximately 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Aberdeen to Dublin: approximately 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Aberdeen to Amsterdam: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Aberdeen to Paris: approximately 2 hours

There are plenty of buses helping you to get around Aberdeen easily. The two bus companies in Aberdeen are called First Bus and Stagecoach.

If you are aged under 22 years old, you can apply to the Free Bus Travel Scheme and explore this beautiful country whilst studying in Scotland (Transport Scotland).

Faisal from Jordan holding a book.

It's a really, really lovely place. I found it more lovely than other places I've ever been to, back home or other countries or even London. Everything is near and close by. There are many places to buy anything you want - school equipment, clothing, shopping, whatever you want. Even restaurants, you have a variety because of the variety of students and people living here."

Faisal from Jordan

Aberdeen University students sat outside on campus


Our extensive programme offerings will help you to find the best pathway for you. Whether you want to study an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, or have a passion for science, engineering or business, there is a pathway for you.

Aberdeen students talking in a communal space

How to apply

Ready to join us at the International Study Centre? Learn more about the application process and what you need to do before you arrive.

Join us today

Our student enrolment advisors are available to answer your questions and help you with your application. We are looking forward to welcoming you to the Aberdeen family.