Pretty regularly, especially now that the Universities are notifying the prospective students about the outcome of their applications, I receive e-mails and Instagram texts from students asking me questions related to studying at the University of Aberdeen. And while I am not an Aberdonian so I cannot possibly know everything about the city, I am a student at the University and on multiple occasions I dedicate my social media feed into featuring the best of the University of Aberdeen campus, which makes people feel comfortable in approaching me and asking me such questions. So this is not an expert’s post, but an attempt to answer most of your questions from my angle with the hope to give you a taste of what to expect before arriving in the silver city!
STUDYING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ABERDEEN
How is studying at the King’s College campus?
The University of Aberdeen main campus is very pretty and I would dare to say the most pretty area of the city of Aberdeen. It is located in the Old Aberdeen area that is north east of the city and 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 Sir Duncan Rice library is located, a modern building with 7 floors to study, it has great views to the city and the beach!
What would be a typical week as a student (will there be classes everyday or just a few days during the week?)
I am afraid this is something that completely depends on your degree. 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 get your academic programme you will build your days around it.
Is it expected that you participate in all classes?
Again this is something that completely depends on your course. For instance, if you study Biological Sciences then you will be required to 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) then your attendance is not mandatory in all classes.
What is the average cost of a day as a student in Aberdeen?
As Aberdeen is the European capital of the oil & gas industry, you should be prepared to spend most of your budget on accommodation. There is a high demand for houses and the prices are rather high, especially when compared to other British cities. If you eat and drink at the campus, then the average daily cost varies from £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! However, if you cook your own food everyday then you can spend less than this.
Hillhead accommodation 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.
What is the best place to seek for accommodation?
This depends on which campus you will be studying. If you are 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 or Kittybrewster and the surrounding Old Aberdeen campus should be great.
What is the average price of a one-bedroom flat in Aberdeen?
Prices start at around £500 and can reach up to £700 depending on the area and condition of the property. Add to that another £60 of monthly bills and that makes it an average of £660 pcm.
LIFE IN ABERDEEN
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: waterproof jacket, wellies, hot water bottle, beanie and a scarf.
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. I have been commuting daily from the West End to Old Aberdeen for almost two years and loved it even at the coldest and rainiest of days 🙂
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.
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!
How’s Aberdeen during Christmas?
I have spent 3 years celebrating Christmas 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 spent your Christmas in Aberdeen then you please 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 make it feel a bit extra special and less lonely 🙂
So that was it, I hope I have answered all of your questions and if you need a bit more information about life in Aberdeen then feel free to read the 20 things I’ve learned since moving in Aberdeen. And if you are an Aberdonian who would like to contribute in any of these questions please feel free to do so in the comments section.
Thanks for reading!