Forget what you know about Scotland! Our Auckland Abroad students have opened our eyes to this incredible study destination. Studying at a Scottish university gives you the possibility to take unforgettable day and weekend trips, witness a wealth of cultural history and meet people from all over the world!

University of Auckland students have the opportunity to study at one of four historic Scottish universities as part of the Auckland Abroad programme: Glasgow School of Art, University of Glasgow (U21 incl. Law), University of Edinburgh, University of St. Andrews.


Lets hear from Auckland  Abroad students about their experiences!

On orientation:

“Stepping onto the campus for the first time is what I imagine Harry felt like when he first glimpsed Hogwarts. Literally. It’s a gorgeous, gothic castle with eerie cloisters and turrets. Flanked by leafy Kelvingrove park and where you’ll probably end up on most nights out, Tudor-turned-cocktail-heaven Ashton Lane, its situated in the heart of the West End. The University of Glasgow sets up two weeks of orientation before class starts: one just for international students, and another for all freshers. It begins with a Ceilidh (said Kaylee) in which everyone makes a fool of themselves dancing to traditional Scottish folk music, followed by day trips to places like St. Andrews and Loch Ness. Don’t be shy, nothing brings strangers together like desperately seeking Nessie or afternoon tea where Prince William first took Kate Middleton on a date.” – Elle Mignacca, University of Glasgow


“Beyond just being outrageously beautiful, I loved my time at the University of Glasgow for the people. Everyone I met was incredibly welcoming and open to me – they are always happy to help with whatever you need. The exchange student orientation was great for meeting other study abroad students and also orients you really well to being in the UK in between the tours around the city and day trips to Edinburgh. There’s also a ton of cultural events and you get introduced to the two student unions on campus (that’s right – two). What’s also useful is the exchange student orientation is the week before ordinary orientation – so you get two orientations!” – Jessica Stubbing, University of Glasgow


On classes:

“I wholeheartedly recommend the University of Edinburgh as a study destination. I found my classes to be dynamic and intellectually stimulating. For example, I was able to study the history of contemporary terrorism alongside live European political debates about these issues. Furthermore, the city of Edinburgh is uniquely friendly and easy to adapt to. Its relatively small size alongside a large student population gives the city a youthful, energetic buzz, and made me feel ‘at home’ on the other side of the world” –  Emelia French, University of Edinburgh


“In terms of classes, I was fortunate to have a fairly straight forward experience enrolling for classes but be aware some people were not so lucky – just prepare to be flexible. All of the courses I took were incredibly interesting and it was no trouble to find something I wanted to take. Any drama students out there – the theatre programme here is incredible and they have so many fascinating courses to choose from. A lot of the courses outside of more hands on papers (like drama) are structured similarly to Auckland but generally there are fewer tutorials – having a similar structure definitely makes it easier to settle in to learning in a new setting.” – Jessica Stubbing, University of Glasgow

On accomodation:

“Edinburgh is just small enough to feel cosy and friendly, while still being filled with stuff to do and easily connected to other Scottish cities. The university itself is in amongst the city, unless you are doing Engineering (like I did), they have a second main campus which is a 25 minute walk (or a 10 minute free shuttle) from the central buildings. The cost of living and the workload is similar to Auckland. I stayed in Sciennes during my six month exchange. It is a flat style accommodation, but there is a large common room and they put on heaps of events so it’s easy to meet and get to know new people, while still having the independence of flat style living.” – Natasha Neeve, University of Edinburgh


“All of the uni accomodations are scattered across the area, within a quick walking distance of your holy trifecta: uni, the local pub, and a Tesco. I was lucky enough to stay in Winton Drive, which meant my 20-minute morning commute to class went directly through the Botanical Gardens and a gourmet doughnut store”  – Elle Mignacca, University of Glasgow


On travel:


“The trip that that was the highlight of my exchange was a weekend in Highlands of Scotland. It was a trip organised by the exchange office in Edinburgh that took us to the north of Scotland spending the night in Inverness. It was during this trip that I learnt about the tumultuous and often bloody history of Scotland and really began to appreciate Scottish heritage and culture, including Haggis surprisingly enough. But what really made my exchange were the friends I made; in particular two American exchange students I had the courage to walk up and introduce myself to on my second day, which is difficult for a relatively quiet person like me. This is the best advice I can give to anyone thinking of going overseas take the effort to make friends to share your experiences with and your exchange will the be best experience it could be.” – James Poh, University of Edinburgh

“I used my exchange as an opportunity to travel extensively through Europe, and I remained excited to return back to Edinburgh after every holiday. The picturesque, historical streets of Edinburgh are perfectly contrasted with the surrounding Scottish countryside. Being an avid hiker, I spent many weekends seeing other areas of Scotland. The environment somewhat remains an undiscovered wilderness.” – Emelia French, University of Edinburgh


Top tips:

  • Ryanair is a game-changer: between my flatmates we did Dublin, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Oslo and Reykjavik for less than £20.
  • Supermarkets are insanely cheap and Primark will save your life
  • At the University of Glasgow if you’re staying in uni accomodation, a gym membership is included in your rent, the flats are super warm and the internet travels faster than light
  • Loch Lomond is breathtaking
  • Halloween and Guy Fawkes are massive and the Edinburgh Christmas Market is magical
  • Make a trip to the Isle of Skye
  • Going on exchange is hard. It’s an experience that will force you to grow, to go outside your comfort zone, to challenge yourself. But I guarantee that for every second of discomfort you will be rewarded with months and months of memories that you will take with you for the rest of your life.
  • Go to the Highlands, visits other cities and take advantage of the ludicrously cheap flights to the European mainland!
  • Ceilidh (key-leigh) is the traditional Scottish partner dance, and I would recommend you try go to at least one during your exchange!
  • It’s worth every cent (and all of the hours spent on paperwork), the memories you make will be unforgettable.
  • It’s cosy, and you’ll love it!


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