The city of Aberdeen truly has something for everyone. It is a vibrant modern city, with striking granite architecture, a rich and inspiring history, a dynamic modern arts scene and a stunning, dramatic coastline.
For more information about Aberdeen City and links to the entertainment, nightlife and cultural sights on your doorstep, visit the Aberdeen City pages on the main University site.
The University of Aberdeen has teamed up with the Lonely Planet to create an exclusive new travel guide showcasing all that the Granite City has to offer students.
Living in Scotland
- Opening a Bank Account
Opening a bank account as soon as possible upon your arrival is a good idea to avoid carrying large amounts of cash around with you.
Banks may not allow you to open a current (student) account until your credit record can be checked. However, you should be allowed to open a savings account where you can deposit money.
You will need some key documents to open your first student bank account:
- A bank letter from the University
- Your passport
- Your Unconditional Letter of Acceptance (CAS Letter)
- Proof of your Aberdeen address (such as accommodation contract)
- Your visa (if applicable)
Once you have completed registration and have a home and term address showing in your Student Hub, a bank letter will be emailed to your University account.
If your preferred bank is not included in the electronic letter or if the bank has requested a letter addressed to them, you can access a hard copy of your bank letter by visiting Infohub.
- Council Tax
As a full time student, you are generally not liable to pay Council Tax on the property where you are living; however, there are some exceptions. If in doubt, you can check with our International Student Advisers regarding any Council Tax query.
If you are a postgraduate student in your official writing-up period, you can request exemption from Aberdeen City Council.
This form is signed by your Supervisor and returned to the Infohub or emailed to email@example.com Please note this exemption does not apply to other Council areas.
If you extend your writing-up period beyond twelve months, you will be liable to pay Council Tax as you will no longer be classed as a full-time student.
- TV Licence
If you are using a TV in your home, it is compulsory to buy a TV licence. Using a TV or any other device to receive or record TV programmes without a valid TV Licence may lead to prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.
You can check current costs at : http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/
Further information about TV licensing can be found here.
It may be a good idea to take out a personal possessions insurance policy which covers against theft, damage or accidental loss, particularly of expensive items.
You can obtain further advice on crime prevention and personal safety from Police Scotland.
- Driving in the UK
If you hold a valid driving licence either from your own country or an international licence, you are allowed to drive in Britain for a period of twelve months starting from your date of arrival, provided that your licence is still valid during that period.
Before the end of the twelve-month period, you will need to check whether you can exchange your licence for a British licence or whether you will need to take a driving test to continue driving. This depends on your nationality. Some countries have special agreements. Further details can be found here.
- What are My Rights?
Stuck for cash? Being a student and working a part-time job is pretty common these days. Some students do it for extra money, while for others it’s more about meeting new people and gaining some valuable experience. Wherever you’re working, it’s important that your job is both rewarding and safe.
Employability information from AUSA, including your employee rights.
Tips from the Careers Service on work experience during your studies.
Careers Service guide to student jobs.
HMO and Private Rental
Many students decide to live in privately rented accommodation at some point whilst studying at university. It is important to be aware of the issues that come with private renting and take precautions to safeguard yourself and your deposit.
Accommodation information from AUSA, including a private accommodation search and your rights as a tenant.
8 things to check before you sign your tenancy agreement.
Police Scotland has created a Student Safety Guide which includes a section on renting a property/flat sharing.
International and EU students who are required to provide a UK-based guarantor in order to rent accommodation can now apply for the University to act as their guarantor. Apply for a place and find out more information about the scheme.
- Safe Deposit Scheme
- Council Tax Information for Students
- Citizens Advice
- Shelter – Your Rights in Student Accommodation
Laws in the UK
It is important to note that the laws here in Scotland may differ from the Laws in the rest of the UK and also in other countries.
You should take some time to familiarise yourself with the laws here in Scotland such as:
- Smoking laws
- Drinking laws
- Don’t drink and drive
- Gov.uk – Alcohol and young people
- Gov.scot – Reducing the damaging impact of drugs and alcohol
- Drink Aware – Drink driving and the legal alcohol limit
- Gov.uk – Selling, buying and carrying knives
Powers of Arrest
What powers do the police have here in Scotland? When can they stop and search you?
Have a look on the Citizens Advice website to find out.
- The Law and the Police
The Police in the UK are classed as public servants. Part of their job is to assist people. If you need guidance or information, you can approach a police officer.
If you prefer to speak first to our International Student Advisers, they have close contact with Police Scotland Diversity Liaison Officers, local Community Officers and Community Wardens. Our Advisers can refer you if necessary.
In an emergency you can phone 999. For non-emergency police enquiries you can phone 101.
If you are arrested, you have the right to know why and you also have the right to remain silent until you have arranged a solicitor to help you.
- Register to Vote
To vote in an election or referendum people must be registered to vote. In Scotland you can vote in local and Scottish Parliament elections when you are 16 and UK and European Parliament elections when you are 18.
You can register to vote if you are:
A UK citizen
A qualifying Commonwealth citizen resident in the UK (someone who has leave to enter or remain in the UK, or does not require such leave)
An EU citizen resident in the UK
You can register online in just five minutes by providing your name, address, date of birth and National Insurance number.
For more information
If you are not registered or have questions about voting by post or proxy please telephone 01224 068400, email firstname.lastname@example.org, web https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote, or visit the Electoral Registration Office at Woodhill House, Westburn Road, Aberdeen, AB16 5GE.
- Parking on Campus
Parking for students
Student parking is available via annual permits and daily vouchers.
A limited number of annual permits are available at a cost of £220. A rebate of 25% is available if the permit is returned by the end of June in the year of its issue. Annual permits are issued on a criteria basis and can be applied for by completing an Application Form and e-mailing it to: email@example.com
Applicants will be informed within 2 weeks of their application being received.
Daily vouchers cost £1 per day and can be used in the student car park at the Butchart building. They are available to purchase, in books of five, from the Online Store or from AUSA.
Parking for disabled students
Disabled parking bays are available at various locations across the University. To use a disabled bay you must be the owner of, and clearly display, a valid blue disabled badge. No parking charge is required for disabled users but enforcement measures still apply for contravening the parking regulations.
Students who require parking for disability-related reasons, but who do not have a blue badge, should discuss their situation with a Disability Adviser in the Student Advice and Support Office.
Of course walking is the most environmentally-friendly way to get from A to B. It's also good for your health, it helps you de-stress and wake up and is a great way to explore the hidden treasures of a new city. Finding the quickest route to university or Union Street can be a bit tricky, so visit The Urban Walking Route Planner that does the work for you!
Aberdeen is the perfect size for cycling. If you don't own your own bike, the Student Association has the highly successful BeCyCle society which offers a free bike lending scheme. Cycling is good for your health, economical, and excellent for our local and global environment. It's also and enjoyable way to start your day.
With a city network run by First Bus and a larger network covering further afield areas run by Stagecoach, Aberdeen is well served by buses. Various ticket types are available to students and it works out cheapest to buy one of the special season tickets. It is also worth remembering that First Buses require exact change; although you can also pay with a contactless card.
You can purchase bus passes from the Infohub Monday - Thursday 9am-4.30pm and Friday 10am-4.30pm. We can provide the follow bus passes: -
- First Bus 1 week
- First Bus 4 weeks (a calendar month)
- Stagecoach Unirider Bluebird - 4 weeks
- Stagecoach Unirider Bluebird - 13 weeks
Check out this downloadable information pdf for more information about transportation etiquette.
The University of Aberdeen has limited car parking available and it is therefore recommended that you use alternative transport. For further information about car parking at the University, visit the Estates Parking page.
- Galleries and Museum
The University of Aberdeen's Museums include King’s Museum and the Zoology Museum. These can claim to be Scotland's oldest, with records of museums and collections as far back as the late 17th century. They have been awarded status as Recognised Collections of National Significance.
The Zoology Museum’s displays are currently being improved thanks to support from Museums Galleries Scotland’s Recognition Fund, while King's Museum, which sits at the heart of the University’s campus, hosts changing exhibitions drawn from across the collections.
Visitors are warmly welcomed, and there are no charges for admission.
- Aberdeen Art Gallery
throughout the year, showcases an exciting programme of exhibitions and displays, which complements its permanent collection of paintings, sculpture, ceramics and costume. The Gallery's own collection of contemporary art is regarded as one of the best in the country as is the impressive collection of British 20th century art.
- What's On in Aberdeen
lets you know lots of events that are happening in Aberdeen and surrounding areas.
- Aberdeen Performing Arts
will let you know about the latest shows that are happening at venues around the city.
- Aberdeen Art Gallery
- Exploring Scotland
While you are at the University of Aberdeen, why not travel around Scotland to discover what this beautiful country has to offer. We have compiled some popular destinations for you to visit during your time here, as well as details on how to get there.
The Cairngorms (Braemar & Ballater)
The Cairngorms National Park is the largest national park in the UK and has everything from castles and distilleries to family attractions and endless outdoor fun. A great number of high and low level walking trails can be found in the Cairngorms, many of which are easily accessible from Aberdeen.
The villages of Ballater and Braemar are easily accessible from Aberdeen by public bus and offer a variety of light walking routes to discover the Cairngorms.
Braemar is situated in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park and close to Balmoral castle in Royal Deeside. In Ballater, there are a number of walks as well, around the village and into the Cairngorms.
How to get there:
There are direct buses (Stagecoach Bus 201) daily from Aberdeen to Ballater & Braemar, and back. Busses leave from Union Square Bus station. The timetable can be found on the Stagecoach Website.
Remember to bring appropriate clothing and footwear for a hiking trip!
Balmoral Castle has been the Scottish home of the Royal Family since it was purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852 and nowadays serves as summer home for Queen Elizabeth II.
The Castle is open for visitors from April to July. It is possible to visit the grounds, gardens and exhibitions, and to do an audio tour. Inside the castle, only the exhibition in the ballroom is open for visitors as the remainder of the castle are Her Majesty the Queen’s private rooms.
How to get there:
Balmoral is located between Ballater and Braemar, so there are direct daily busses (Stagecoach Bus 201) going there from Aberdeen and back.
For Balmoral, get off at the bus stop at Crathie, from where it is only a short walk to the castle. The bus timetable can be found on the Stagecoach website.
Forvie National Nature Reserve
Forvie is a nature reserve close to Aberdeen, at the Ythan estuary. It is worth a visit for its striking sand dunes, from which seals can often be seen on sunny days.
There are several marked walking trails around Forvie, starting at the visitor centre at Collieston, which is open April to October.
How to get there:
Busses from Aberdeen to Peterhead (via Cruden Bay) stop at request close to Forvie Nature Reserve.
The closest stop is Knockhall Road in Newburgh, from where it is about a 20 minute walk to the visitor centre.
The bus timetable with exact times can be found on the Stagecoach website.
Stonehaven and Dunnottar Castle
Stonehaven is a beautiful village just south of Aberdeen where you can taste fresh award-winning Fish & Chips for lunch, and take a walk along the coast towards Dunnottar Castle. To get from Stonehaven to Dunnottar Castle follow the signposted walk along the stunning coast (around 2 miles). Make sure to bring appropriate footwear.
How to get there:
There are regular trains between Aberdeen and Stonehaven. From the railway station in Stonehaven it is about a 20 minute walk to the town centre.
There are also buses between Aberdeen and Stonehaven, the timetable for which can be found here.
If you fancy impressing your friends and flatmates, visit the Aberdeen Shopping Guide on Student Cooking TV. You will find tips for the best places to stock up on the best, and cheapest, local products to cook up a storm with!
You'll find all the major retail chains in Aberdeen, with five large city-centre shopping malls, including the piazza-style Academy, Trinity Centre, Union Square and the Bon Accord and St Nicholas Centres. From high street stores and designer boutiques, to quirky independent outlets and thrift shops, shopaholics will be delighted by the quantity and quality of places on offer.
Being a student friendly city, a lot of shops also provide student discount to everyone with a valid NUS card, so you don't have to feel too guilty about that extra purchase!
In Scotland, there is a 5p charge for all bags from shops. Many do sell reusable bags so remember to take them with you.
Where can I buy bedding, and household items?
Students living in University accommodation will need to provide their own bedding and cooking and eating utensils. Information about what to bring can be found on the accommodation website pages.
Depending on where you are travelling from, you might need to wait and purchase these upon arrival. For students living in Uuniversity and Unite accommodation we have listed a few shops below in case you need to do a bit of shopping (i.e. bedding packs) before you settle in for your first night here in Aberdeen.
- Morrisons - 215 King Street, Aberdeen, AB24 5DA
From Hillhead or campus, take bus route 9U to the Gallowgate – a short walk from Morrisons. You can walk easily to Morrisons from the campus.
- Primark - 143 – 153 Union Street, Aberdeen, AB11 6BH
From Hillhead, take bus route 9U to Union Street. From campus, you can walk or take bus route 1 and 2 from King Street to Union Street.
- Argos - Unit 3, Berryden Business Park, Berryden Road, Aberdeen, AB25 3SA
15 minute walk from campus (they can also deliver to your Aberdeen address).
- Dunelm Mill
- Morrisons - 215 King Street, Aberdeen, AB24 5DA