Quite often, and more so the days following the A’ level results announcement, I receive e-mails and Instagram texts from students asking me questions related to studying at the University of Aberdeen…
‘To Aberdeen let’s go!
This is by no means an expert’s opinion but my personal point of view of what to expect before arriving in the city, and while studying here, based on my experiences as a student.
Come here, go Anywhere!University of Aberdeen, Scotland
STUDYING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ABERDEEN
Q1: How is studying at the King’s College campus?
This is the main campus of the University of Aberdeen and if I am being totally honest, it is the prettiest area of the city. Located in Old Aberdeen it has approximately 30 academic buildings with the King’s College building being the oldest one and the main attraction of the area. Here you will find the majority of the University services, lecturer rooms, The Hub (food and drinks in the campus), and a few independent cafes to have a nice break from your studies. This is also where the stunning Sir Duncan Rice Library is located, a modern building with 7 floors and endless desks to use for your daily study- go on the top floor for the best views of the city and the harbour, I always enjoyed being there!
Q2: What would be a typical week as a student (will there be classes every day or just a few days during the week?)
I am afraid this is something that depends on your degree and not something I can answer with confidence. During the semester you will be required to attend classes, take part in group assignments, do presentations etc., but I am sure as soon as you receive the academic programme you will be in a position to build your days around it.
Q3: Is it expected that you participate in all classes?
Again, this is something that completely depends on your course. For instance, if you study a degree related to Biological Sciences it will be required that you attend the classes and the laboratory tutorials as what you learn in theory has to be also demonstrated in action in the laboratory. However, if you study something theoretical (e.g. law, finance, religious studies) then your attendance is not mandatory in all classes.
Q4: What is the average cost of a day as a student in Aberdeen?
Despite Aberdeen being the European capital of the oil & gas industry, the cost of living is not as high as one would expect. If you eat and drink at the campus, then the average daily cost will be around £5-£7. There are some days with really good meal deals at The Hub but if you top up your daily expenses with some coffee and cake at the library then you might spend a total of £12 per day. If you, however, you cook your own food daily then you can spend less than this. The bus that will take you from Old Aberdeen to the city centre is No. 20 and the cost of a day ticket is £4.20.
Q5: Should I stay at the Hillhead student village or private accommodation?
I would wholeheartedly say private accommodation because living at Hillhead made me feel isolated from the city and most of my friends. However, if you are all about the University life then living at Hillhead might be the best option as it is located next to the main campus and also it is less likely that you will deal with landlord dramas at any point.
Q6: What is the best place to seek for accommodation?
This depends on which campus you will be studying. If you are based at the Foresterhill campus then anywhere in the city centre (especially the Rosemount area), or around the hospital is excellent! However, if you study at the King’s College campus then anywhere on King’ s Street and the area surrounding the Old Aberdeen campus should be great.
Q7: What is the average price of a one-bedroom flat in Aberdeen?
Prices start at around £350 and can reach up to £650 depending on the area and condition of the property. Add to that another £60-80 of monthly bills.
LIFE IN ABERDEEN
Q9: What should I bring when moving to Aberdeen?
Loads of layers! Aberdeen has mild winters but sometimes the temperatures drop and layering up is the way forward. Also, make sure you bring a waterproof/windproof jacket as it rains quite frequently. If I had to make a list of the five necessary things you need to bring with you then this would be a waterproof jacket, wellies, hot water bottle, beanie and a scarf.
Q10: Is it easy to get around in the city of Aberdeen?
Yes, it is! There are loads of buses that connect the corners of the city and you can also cycle around. While studying for my PhD I lived to the West End and loved my 30′ cycle commute to Old Aberdeen, even at the coldest and rainiest of days 🙂
Q11: Is life in Aberdeen depressing, do I need to buy a SAD daylight lamp?
That’s tough to answer! Aberdeen has a unique, silver image since the majority of the buildings have been built with locally-sourced granite. This silver colour in combination with the grey, cloudy sky might give you the winter blues but most people don’t even care about it and they keep living life as they would do in any other city. If you are one of them then excellent, however, if you are already using a SAD lamp in your country then I would suggest you bring it with you or buy a new one here. If your body is used to something like this then I think it’s better if you keep using it to help you adapt to the new environment. Aberdeen is also less rainy than other parts of Scotland, I remember living in Glasgow and having to endure the rain almost on a daily basis but not so much in Aberdeen.
Q12: Is there easy access to the coastline and the mountains for hiking and strolling around?
There are bus and (a few) train routes connecting Aberdeen city to Aberdeenshire, however, your life will get much easier and exciting if you get your own car. Look up at Gumtree and get a second-hand car, it’s totally worth it!
Q13: How’s Aberdeen during Christmas?
I celebrated Christmas the last 3 years in Aberdeen. The first year I was by myself, since all of the students flew back to their countries, so it was really tough for me and my family. The following years I was invited to a family house so it was better but still not the same as when celebrating with your family. Last year, the city council organised a Christmas Market and there were also pretty decorations at the shop windows and the streets. However, if you decide to spend your Christmas in Aberdeen then the best thing I would advise you to do is visit the Edinburgh Christmas market. It’s absolutely amazing and it gathers people from all over the UK! Also, another tip to brilliant Christmas in Aberdeen as a student is to make a list of all the students that are spending Christmas in the city and organise a nice meal on Christmas day, it will feel a bit extra special and less lonely 🙂
I hope I have answered all of your questions and as always if you have any more questions about Aberdeen or studying at the University of Aberdeen, please comment below and I will update this article with the answers.
Want to know more about life in Aberdeen as a student? Here are some useful articles:
► 20 things I’ve learned since moving in Aberdeen.
► A PhD update
► The PhD life, a Guide to survive and thrive
► My PhD Graduation
► PhD thesis submission, a year onwards