What it’s like to be an English student at a Scottish university

Sorry, could you say that again?


Going to university across the border is an adventure like no other. You’ve said goodbye to the nice weather and the warmth, and said hello to kilts, haggis and an entirely brand spanking new vocabulary.

Does this even need a caption?

Just an English girl, living her Scottish dream x

Needless to say, there are upsides and downsides to being English at a Scot uni, but without being biased, the upsides far outplay the down.

The Scottish accent is way sexier

The Scottish accent is so much fun, both to listen to and for me to try to mimic (and fail, although I will continue to argue I’m ace at it).

Sometimes I get very confused when I have a very strong accented lecturer and, try as I might, sometimes a word or phrase will completely stump me even after two years of studying here.

Even my best friends, who I see around all the time, might say a sentence which could potentially unravel our friendship. One time a simple “where is Lizzie?” took about six repetitions before I understood what they wanted.

Our faces of joy when I finally understand something

Our faces of joy when I finally understand something

Here’s another example of why Scottish is sometimes very hard to understand for us English folk. They flat-out invent new words. How else can you explain the fact “Lang may yer lum reek” actually means “Long may your chimney smoke”. If you’re like me, you’re probably completely baffled by that sentence existing.

Kilts are beautiful and make black tie even better

When I was 14, I had a boyfriend who was apparently Scottish. I know this, not by his accent (which was decidedly southern), but by the fact I could see from Facebook stalking that he wore a skirt on formal occasions. I was horrified.

omg just hold me

OMG just look at that kilt

Six years later and I have seen the error of my kilt-hating ways. University here has brought me to the truth: they’re beautiful. I was a fool not to appreciate the gorgeous tartan, the sporran, the pleats, the Sgian dubh (a knife in the sock, for all non-familiar English folk), when I had the chance.

Safe to say they’re pretty much 99 per cent of the reason why I now want to marry a Scot, and probably the main reason black tie is now my favourite type of occasion.

Also, tartan.

Ceilidhs are the ultimate party

English students are 100 per cent behind on this one. Scottish guys and gals learn Ceilidh dances at primary school, and thus when the “Virginia Reel” comes along, they’re all prepped and ready to go.

Meanwhile we are stumbling about, having a hoot, but also not really following what on earth is going on.

We would never make a ceilidh look this pretty either.

We would never make a Ceilidh look this pretty either

Nevertheless, we try. And try. One day we might be on par.

Everyone is much friendlier than in England

I hate going home via London. No one helps with me with my bags, I get glared at left, right, and centre, and it’s far too warm for the 567,432 layers I left Scotland in.

People here are so friendly that they stop in the street to make sure you’re okay, and if you smile at someone, they smile back, instead of looking at you like you’re an absolute oddball.

But, like anywhere, there are negatives.

It’s not fair everyone else gets to study for free

Do not get me started on this.

It’s just quite annoying all English people have to pay, whereas Scots, and all EU students other than those from England, have it for free.

Dayuuuum why have you gotta be so expensive?

Dayuuuum why have you gotta be so expensive?

Do they bother with lecture attendance? Nah. Do they have to scrimp and save? Nah.

Do they have bundles of debt because of their compulsory FOUR year (as opposed to English uni three-year) £9,000-a-year course? You got it, of course they don’t.

The weather is seriously bleak

It’s cold. When I go home in mid-winter, I wear t-shirts because Suffolk is nowhere near as cold as Scotland. And it is always raining. All day. Everyday.

Maybe this is an exaggeration, but you do miss the mild south when you’re nearly blown over by the gales in Scotland.

Not coming out

Not coming out

I spend a solid amount of time in bed, because outside of it is so cold. This means productivity levels are minimal in the winter months. Sorry mum.

Not being able to buy booze after 10pm makes no sense

Down south we can actually get alcohol after 10pm. And we can drink in the streets.

Across the border, it’s a strict no-go in any shop after 10pm, so you can be guaranteed at 9:59pm, there’s always a mad rush for those idiots who forget the law.

None of this in Scotland (might be a good thing now I think of it)

None of this in Scotland (might be a good thing now I think of it)

Drinking in the streets is a distant memory for us southerners. Gone are the days of fun in summertime. It’s probably a good thing though.

There’s way too much anti-English ‘banter’

From ranting at England v Scotland matches, to any English loss in any sporting event ever, you can guarantee to meet a few locals who enjoy taking the time to vent their hatred for us southerners.

Proof England and Scotland can be pals (She is Scottish, I am English, just in case there was any confusion)

Proof England and Scotland can be pals (She’s Scottish, I’m English)

Quite frankly, it’s a bit awkward. Also, the referendum was a tricky time for any English person in Scotland. Admitting to any nationalist you voted no is always a bad time.

I’m sorry I contributed to your failed bid for independence. Please don’t hate me.