Small white house in Scottish Highlands

The Pros and Cons of Living in Scotland

Scotland is the perfect country for anyone looking to move abroad. There are so many pros and cons of moving to Scotland. 

It’s truly an incredible place for foreign workers, whether you visit as part of your gap year with a working holiday visa, as a student studying at one of the universities or even if you're looking for a new place to live within Europe.

Before you make a move, it's wise to investigate the pros and cons of living in Scotland. There are always two sides to everything, and while Scotland has a few cons, the pros definitely outweigh them.

Here's my list of the pros and cons of living in Scotland, regardless of whether you're planning on moving to Glasgow, moving to Edinburgh or anywhere else in Scotland.

Living in Scotland — Pros and Cons

Red Deer in Scottish Highlands looking at camera

Living in Scotland: Pros


Scotland, in particular, the big cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow, has many job opportunities for foreign and temporary workers.

You can find positions in hotels, hostels, offices, pubs and (in my opinion, the coolest places to work!) tourist attractions. The Scottish job market is incredibly welcoming to people from other counties — they embrace us with open arms.

Want to know how to work in Scotland? There are several jobs in Scotland for expats, but you have to get a work visa before starting. Alternatively, you can find temporary jobs through Scotland's job agencies, which sometimes provide accommodation in conjunction with employment.

There are loads of temporary job opportunities for foreign expat workers looking for ways to earn as part of a working holiday in Scotland.

I went through a few temp agencies before ultimately deciding to work at one of Edinburgh’s major attractions. I think visitor attractions are the best places to work on a working holiday in Scotland, but plenty of people also apply for jobs in pubs, hotels, hostels and general retail.

Job Agencies in Scotland

Scotland has several temporary job agencies that can assist you with your job search. Whether you are looking for a temporary office job in a city or a farm job with accommodation, check out my post on how to get a job in Scotland for more information.

Be sure to check out the websites of places you’d love to work to see if they’re advertising any career opportunities you can take advantage of. If they don’t have any job postings, it’s still worth sending a CV to their HR department just in case something pops up.


One thing I noticed the moment I stepped onto Scottish soil was how lovely, friendly and inquisitive Scottish people are. I had to ask for a lot of help when I first moved to Edinburgh, and everyone stopped to help me, no matter what they were doing.

When I moved into my first flat with strangers I’d never before met, they offered to pick me up from the train station and take me to the grocery store once I’d settled in.

When I started working, all my co-workers invited me out, treated me wonderfully and really made me feel part of the team.

It is really easy to make friends in Scotland as well. If you are new to the country be sure to check my post about how to make friends in Scotland to help you out.


Scotland is home to some of the most stunningly beautiful landscapes in the world. No matter where you are in Scotland, you never have to go too far to find an incredible place to spend your time. In Edinburgh, you can head to Arthur’s Seat, go down to St. Margaret’s Loch or if you want to feel like you’ve stepped outside the city without actually leaving it, try a hike through the hilly Pentlands. Scotland’s many hills, peaks, and hiking trails make it easy to stay in shape.


Scotland is the land of deep-fried food. Delicious, unhealthy and my personal favourite, the pizza supper is a deep-fried individual cheese pizza served with a side of chips.

I always put my chips on top of the pizza, thinking that’s what the locals did. But no, it turns out I was weird for doing it!

My other Scottish foodie favourite is chips and cheese — deep-fried chips covered in mounds of melted cheese. Magnificent! You can also get deep-fried cheeseburgers, sausages, haggis, and even deep-fried Mars Bars!

Moving away from the unhealthy world of fish and chip shops, Scotland actually has a fantastic selection of vegetarian and vegan food, both in takeaway restaurants and grocery stores.

There’s a dairy-free brand of yogurt (among other dairy-free foods) called Alpro. I absolutely loved it! We don’t have it in Canada, and I miss it dearly.

Scotland is home to the infamous haggis — ground-up sheep’s heart, liver and lungs stuffed inside a sheep’s stomach. Other ingredients in this one-of-a-kind dish include onion, oatmeal, suet, and spices. 

Scottish people eat haggis and have it at least once a year on Burns Night, a celebration honouring Robbie Burns. It’s also readily available throughout the year in restaurants.

I once tried a vegetarian version of haggis, neeps, tatties (haggis with turnips and potatoes), and I was not a fan. But haggis is a big part of Scottish cuisine, so you should give it a try — vegetarian-style or not.

One final Scottish delicacy I need to mention is Irn Bru. Drinking it is like sipping the joyous tears of every God in existence.

It’s a beautiful soda pop/fizzy drink that will rot your teeth while simultaneously filling your heart with happiness. Try it! It’ll be the best thing you’ve ever tried.

Bottles of Irn Bru (Orange fizzy drink) on the shelves of a supermarket

Imagine the music from the Legend of Zelda when Link opens up a treasure chest playing as you approach this shelf.

Want to try some Irn Bru and see how great it is? Buy it here and let me know if you love it as much as I do!

Is Scotland safe?

Scotland is a very safe country to travel and live in. During the two years I lived there; I never felt like I was in danger. There are some shady areas in the larger cities that you should avoid, like Niddrie, Wester Hails, MuirHouse and Pilton in Edinburgh.

It’s also wise to be aware of your surroundings when out in public and keep your wallet, mobile phone, etc., in a secure place out of reach of potential robbers.

The biggest safety issue in Scotland is dealing with public drunkenness. It’s not totally uncommon for someone who’s had a little bit too much to drink to try and talk to you or yell at you across the street. 

Mostly, these are infrequent and harmless encounters. But if it ever happens to you, I advise you to ignore the person and carry on.

Just use common sense and you will be fine.

If you ever feel like you’re in danger or feel unsafe during your stay in Scotland, dial the emergency services on 999. (911 will still get you through to the emergency services if you forget the UK number!)

Free Healthcare

Before you move to Scotland, you need to pay a one-time immigration health surcharge when you apply for your temporary work visa. As of 2019, it costs £300 each year of your working holiday (2-year max stay). But, unlike in some countries, after you’ve paid this fee, all the healthcare in Scotland is free.

You can visit doctors at any time, and the prescription charges are free. I only had to visit the doctor once during my two-year stay and received wonderful treatment, just for having a permanent address in Scotland.

Plus, due to the initial immigration surcharge, this ensures that people living in the country on a working holiday have not taken advantage of the NHS if they do fall ill.

Even though you will have access to free healthcare, you are advised to purchase travel insurance for the duration of your stay in Scotland. I used World Nomad's Travel Insurance for the two years I lived abroad.

Free Eye Care

In the same way that visiting a general practitioner is free, visiting the eye doctor is also free! The eyewear in Scotland is also incredibly cheap.

I never purchased glasses when I was there, but I did buy high-quality contact lenses for a very low price. One of the only downfalls of living in Scotland as a glasses-wearer is the constant rain. Contacts were a must!

Zero Bank Fees

Coming from Canada, the land of fees, I was amazed that bank accounts were free in Scotland. Even using cash machines from other banks was free.

There is the odd machine that charges you to make a withdrawal. But you’ll always be told the fee and given the option to cancel the transaction before you’re charged.

Great Mobile Phone Plans

In Scotland, mobile phone plans are phenomenal. Unlimited data plans and unlimited texting actually mean unlimited. 

Phone plans are affordable, unlimited and many companies offer additional perks, like free mobile phones and deals that include a free weekly movie and a meal.

Public Transport

Public transport in big cities is great. There are several buses and trams that run within minutes of each other throughout Edinburgh and Glasgow.

If you don’t live in a big city, you’ll still have access to regular buses and trains that will quickly and cheaply transport you all over the country. It’s effortless to get around in Scotland without ever having to buy a car.

The bridge leading to Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland

Fully Furnished Flats

When moving to a new country as a temporary worker, you don’t want to live in an empty apartment. But you don’t want to spend money on furnishing a place you’ll be staying in for just a few years, either. 

In Scotland, it was rare to find a non-furnished flat or house up for rent. Having easy access to fully furnished flats makes living in a country temporarily much easier. Most flats come with everything you need — dishes, beds, couches and all the rest.

Make sure you check out my post about where to live in Edinburgh to get help finding a flat or renting a room in Scotland.


Scotland treats its students very well and provides them with free tuition. It doesn’t matter if you weren’t born in Scotland. 

As long as you’ve been living there for at least three years before applying for university, you’re eligible for free university tuition.

The universities in Scotland are renowned worldwide for being incredible. People from all over the world travel to Scotland to attend classes at the University of Edinburgh.

Tons of Places to Live

Large cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow have a huge number of flatshares available. If you don’t mind living with strangers (who will usually become your best friends), then you’ll find it super easy to get a place to live. 

Sites like Gumtree are great when it comes to finding the perfect place. You could end up living with Scots or other foreigners like yourself, depending on who you connect with during your search.

History! Everywhere!

Boasting thousands of years of captivating history, Scotland is also home to some of the world's oldest places.

From exploring Edinburgh Castle on the Royal Mile to stepping below the city streets to discover the once plague-infested Mary King’s Close.

Scotland is bursting with fascinating sites. Scots are tremendously proud of their history, so be prepared to get an earful when you make friends with some locals. Thanks to my patriotic friends, I learned so much about Scotland during the time I lived there.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

If you love live theatre and festivals, you’ve got to check out Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe — the largest arts festival in the world.

As well as the Edinburgh Tattoo, for which tickets often sell out 6-12 months in advance, the Festival Fringe brings the city to life with street buskers, theatrical plays and hilarious comedians.

Be warned that the city becomes insanely busy with tourists during the Festival Fringe. So give yourself extra time to get to work if you have to pass through the city centre or the Royal Mile to get there.

Leaving Scotland

A pro for living in Scotland is leaving Scotland? Yes! The rest of Europe is right on your doorstep.

Living in Scotland: Cons

Black and White Photo of a rainy street in Glasgow. Rubbish Bin on the right side of the photo with several people walking on the pavement carrying umbrellas.


As a rain lover, I had a hard time putting weather on the cons list. But after 18 months, I grew tired of the Scottish weather, which generally consists of rain, cold, wind, and dampness.

I highly recommend checking out my packing list for Scotland to know what to bring to keep you warm.

Because Scotland’s surrounded by water, the humidity is always high, making the already cold days extra cold.

A few days a year, the weather is so warm Scots all around exclaim that it’s “taps off” weather! Grab a drink and join the other shirtless Scots enjoying the short-lived but much-appreciated super-hot sunny days.

Culture Shock

Depending on where you’re coming from, you may have to deal with the dreaded culture shock.

From being unable to understand the Scottish accent (don’t worry, you’ll get so used to it you won’t even notice people have accents eventually) to be unable to figure out where to buy certain items of clothing or struggling to figure out how to do laundry, Scotland’s culture can be tricky to come to terms with.

If you have any fears please check out my post about what to expect when moving to Scotland.


Scotland has a few unexpected taxes. How much you pay depends on where you live, what type of accommodation you live in, and whether you have a TV.

These taxes pay for local services, such as garbage collection, schools, and general city maintenance, making them necessary and important. (but we can still complain!)

There are several different council tax bands, from Band A (the cheapest) to Band H (the most expensive), which dictate how much you need to pay.

These charges are separate from your rent payments, so be sure to find out which council tax band your future flat is in before you sign anything to avoid unwanted (and expensive!) surprises down the line.

To quote my friend Chris, “I introduce you to council tax, which is taking your hard-earned money and setting it on fire!

Another additional tax is TV tax! Because the BBC wants to remain ad-free, each household must pay a monthly TV tax. The only way to get out of paying is not to own a TV. Does anyone really watch TV anymore?

Washing and Drying Clothes

In most countries, hanging your clothes out on a line to dry is standard. But if you’re moving to Scotland from North America, you’ll have to adjust and learn how to do your laundry without the joys of a dryer (or a tumble dryer, as they say in the UK).

Even if you get your hands on a beloved tumble dryer, they are terrible in Scotland! Usually, the machines are one washer-dryer combo, with a definite quality compromise on the dryer side.

I have heard they have considerably better machines now, but chances are you won't have them in your rental flat. Just learn to hang your clothes and your life will be a breeze!

It’s almost like they move the laundry around in a circle for ten hours until it’s just damp, and you give up on waiting for warm, dry laundry that you doubt will ever come.

I have heard that you can purchase better stand-alone tumble dryers - but if you are renting a flat for 2 years, be prepared to have one of the terrible combo dryers! (or no dryer at all)

Plus, Scotland is the land of rain. So be prepared to dash outside often to pull your clothes off the line and dry them inside on a clothes drying horse instead!

That is the exact dryer horse I purchased and passed along to my friends when I moved. Who, in turn, passed it along to their friends. I wonder where my dryer horse is now.

No Screens on Windows

I’m not sure why people in Scotland don’t put screens on their windows. If I didn’t have a screen on my window in Canada, I’d be constantly plagued by spiders and other bugs in my bedroom because there wouldn’t be a barrier between the inside and the outside world. 

If you love having fresh air flow into your bedroom, be prepared to share your space with spiders. Depending on where you live in Scotland - this may not be an issue, but in Edinburgh and South Queensferry, the spiders were aplenty!

Should you move to Scotland?

Whether you’re planning on living in Scotland for a year or moving there permanently, you’re making the right choice!

It’s a beautiful country full of jaw-dropping landscapes, oodles of history, amazing (if unhealthy!) food, great opportunities, and amazing people.

If you are worried about making a move to Scotland, be sure to check out my Moving to Scotland Check List so you will be fully prepared.

However long you live there, Scotland will change you for the better, and you’ll turn into a proud Scot — even if you have no Scottish ancestry at all.

Planning on moving to Scotland? Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments or send me an email. I’ll help you out the best I can from my past experiences!

Related Posts About Moving to Scotland

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Comments 88

  1. Wonderful post, Crystal! I’d so love to move to Scotland, and this most only makes me want to more!! I didn’t know about the dryers – I’ve never used one when I’ve been over there! Bizarre! xx

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      They are terrible! When I was living there I would take my clothes to the laundrette/laundry mat as a treat. That is how much I love warm dryer clothes haha.

      1. I think the dryer thing was maybe just a bad experience for you a few times.

        As a Scot – I’ve got a dryer in my home that isn’t a combo and works perfect.
        Tell you something, it’s better than SHARED LAUNDRY which I found all over Canada

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          Agreed! I forgot about the shared laundry that we have to deal with if you live in an apartment building. It is seriously the worst! I would much rather have a washing machine in the kitchen in that case! It could be I always had bad machines, but I have yet to find a good one in Scotland. I am still pro-separate machines. One day I may find a good one.

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      I am so glad you did! I clearly love it and need to spread the word. I can buy it here at a few of those British stores but they are so expensive!

      1. Cool you kin pay mine then, even though it was the country of Scotland who founded the BBC, it has become too English for many Scots, after Jimmy Savile and the fact that the top bosses knew what he was doing, and after what the BBC said about my country, many don’t watch it now
        I being one of them

  2. Wow this is such an insightful post on whether to live in Scotland or not. 🙂 I’d definitely like to live there for sometime and explore it bit by bit. As you mentioned, the landscapes are beautiful…I mean it would be so good to take stunning pictures every day! Is it safe for women?

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      Yes! I never once felt unsafe there. Even walking in the middle of the night down the busy areas! It does have its “rough” areas that I generally avoided. In the two years I lived there I had 2-3 unwanted interactions with random men in the street. One of which I yelled back at – all he said was “hey ladies!” so it wasn’t that intrusive! I mean, just like any large city Edinburgh and Glasgow do have their share of crimes but definitely one of the safest countries I’ve been in!

  3. Love the Irn Bru description. I can confirm it is correct.

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  4. We actually almost moved to Scotland rather than doing full time travel. Sometimes I still wish we had. But now that my UK visa has expired and we don’t meet the requirements to renew it, it’s easier to move within the EU than back to the UK (so long as Brexit continues not to happen, that is).

    Council tax is the freaking worst. Also, what is up with tv licenses? Literally the only country in the world that I’ve encountered this is the UK. Not that we had a TV, so it’s a moot point. But still. I have to say, though, I’m envious of the free eye care! We don’t have free eye care in England. You have to pay to have a check up (even when you KNOW your eyesight is the same as it’s been for 10+ years) and they make you get them rechecked every 6-12 months, depending on how problematic they consider your eyes to be (mine are a shit show).

    BTW: Did you now Scotland is the only country in the world where Coca-cola isn’t the top selling soft drink? Nope, it’s Irn Bru, baby!

    Oh, and I love Alpro’s dark chocolate pudding. It’s literally the only pudding I can get in the UK because the heathens don’t eat it, despite the fact that the rest of Europe does (Alpro is Belgian, so you know the chocolate is delicious!) Also, that sentence was probably VERY confusing for a British person who doesn’t know what pudding is and thinks I’m referring to pudding as a word for dessert and thinks I’m a moron.

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      Hahahaha your comment made me laugh out loud. I wonder what they call pudding. Do they say “I am having pudding for pudding” which just sounds strange. Ask Jeremy. The chocolate pudding is magnificent! The Belgians really know what they are doing when it comes to delicious chocolate.

      Do they have council tax in England? I believe you have to pay for your water (Scotland it’s “free” meaning its included with your council tax) and I think you have to pay for university in England as well. I could be totally wrong though.

      Agreed with the TV license being stupid! Every other channel has adverts and no one really cares so the BBC should join in the advert train. It would probably annoy fewer people.

      1. They just don’t have a word for it because they don’t eat it. I don’t know what the people who eat the Alpro pudding think it’s called… gooey chocolatey substance? Jeremy’s answer is: “A chocolatey desert of some kind that isn’t mousse. Or yoghurt?”

        See, literally no clue.

        Council tax is a UK thing, so yeah, sadly we have it. And it’s hella expensive. I honestly don’t know how people in major cities afford it. And yes, we do pay for our water separate from council tax. And uni. Basically England is a shit version of Scotland.

        Unless, of course, any immigration officers are reading this, in which case, it’s the best country in the world and I’ve NEVER said otherwise.

        If people could have ads rather than TV licenses, they’d probably throw a parade. No one likes them. Everyone breaks the law, anyway. Plus, who doesn’t just pay for at least one streaming service nowadays?!

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          I just asked Chris by sending him a picture of chocolate pudding. He said “it’s probably what Americans refer to as chocolate pudding. I don’t know if that’s even a thing here” – Madness! Either way, all of Alpro’s products are divine. Haha I mean England has to have some nice things, right? I mean thatched houses are cool. Uh… other things, too. Yeah – a lot of my friends back in Scotland wouldn’t pay the TV tax either. I remember in my first flat one of my flatmates said “if they ever come here to check, we will just unplug the TV and tell them we don’t use it.” hahaha. It was never an issue though – no one ever came to confirm we didn’t have a TV.

          1. I used to get so annoyed cause every time I moved house, I’d receive something in the mail saying “Do you require a TV license?” And I’d click no, because I didn’t. And then I’d receive a letter every week for months saying “Someone will come by to confirm.” THEN WHY EVEN ASK?! So I stopped responding, and the exact same thing happened. Pointless.

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            I know, right? The TV license is so silly! I think they should abolish it! I think people will be fine if the BBC suddenly gets adverts.

        2. In the shop I work (London, England), the Alpro pudding is usually called Alpro dessert. It comes in vanilla and chocolate flavours. But because we have many American shoppers, nobody is surprised if customers ask for pudding. We also don’t flinch at cookies, chips or jelly if what they really want are biscuits, crisps or jam. Maybe because most of us are Eastern Europeans, and don’t care which English is being used.
          I’d love to move to Scotland, but I really don’t fancy Irn-Bru.

      2. We would probably say chocolate flavoured custard.
        University is free only in Scotland. Perhaps the dreaded brexit will impact that for foreign students.
        I’m from Scotland and think your blog is very accurate and also very informative and articulate! Well done! I live abroad now because the weather did eventually get to me but I am still a proud Scot!

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          Thank you Marianne! I appreciate it! Where are you living now? I really hope that Brexit doesn’t affect people from other European countries who are already living in Scotland and consider it their permanent home. I haven’t really looked into Brexit enough but I guess time will tell!

        2. Wonderful account of life in Scotland. Absolutely spot on. Though I love Edinburgh, Glasgow is by far the friendlier city. I’ve been living abroad for 30 years and I love my trips back home. Thank you for sharing your perspectives on our home.

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            Thank you, Ray! I am always grateful to hear when people from Scotland agree with my list! Always so nice to go back home to Scotland for a visit as you have been living abroad for so long! I always love returning as well – it’s my home away from home.

      3. I would gladly pay double the tv license fee if the other channels didnt have adverts.

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  5. Hahaha made me laugh about the Irn Bru rotting your teeth but making your heart happy.
    And whats up with the dryers and the tv tax.

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      I know right! Surely there must be some good quality dryers somewhere in the country… right?

  6. Also, the no screens on the windows would be hard, I wonder if they get a lot of birds flying in.
    It still sounds like an awesome place to visit though.

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      I know – besides bugs the neighbourhood cat jumped into my bedroom one day. I mean I adored those cats but I was still shocked, haha!

      1. We don’t have screens on the windows because,in the highlands at least, we don’t have spiders in the summer and there really isn’t that many bugs that are clever enough to see the window glass.

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          What about midges? I’ve heard they are brutal in the highlands. I was living in Dalmeny (near South Queensferry) and Edinburgh and the spiders were brutal! Especially in Dalmeny! I think it’s because it was so close to the Firth of Forth.

          1. Midges don’t come into houses. Mostly they only come out in early morning or twilight. They cannot fly when it’s breezy so tend only to be problematic in areas which are sheltered outdoors up in the Highlands.

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            Thank goodness! I actually had no issues with midges the entire time I lived in Scotland. My problem was all of those sneaky Edinburgh spiders! It was worse when I lived closer to South Queensferry. I swear the Firth of Forth waters and mist made those spiders huge! I’ve seen those midge swarms though – so glad they do not fly in through the windows!

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            No mosquitos! They do have similar bugs named midges but they never bothered me in Edinburgh. I think they are mostly in the Highlands.

        2. Thank you for your comment because I was just changing my mind about moving there…lol.

  7. A fun read Crystal and while I’m really enjoying Scotland right now I’m not a fan of the weather even in summer it’s too cold and windy ? the people are amazing and the accent I’m in love with ?

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      Thanks, Zarina! So glad you made it to Scotland! I can’t wait to see all of your pictures. That is the best thing about Scotland – it’s nice cold weather, hahaha.

  8. I had no idea that Scotland was known for deep-fried food?! That’s wild. I guess that I really have to go one day to taste it all. That will be bad for my Celiac hubs, but delicious for me. Pizza and deep-fried just seems so interesting (yummm)….but not as interesting as you putting chips on your pizza. Hmmm…. Then again, I like to dip my potato chips in mustard. Many love them in their sandwiches too.

    We definitely couldn’t live in a house without screens with our pets. I guess the windows would have to stay shut. Even in America with screens, we have special pet ones as extra protection to keep the babies safe inside. My mom had cats that would fall out the crappy thin window screens.

    No dryer would be hard too. I didn’t have one in Indonesia, and there were no wash machines where I was either. Everything was washed by hand. I hired help (don’t judge me too badly–my school actually really wanted me to hire someone they recommended because it helped employ locals looking for work at fair wages), but also trying to dry clothes in a wet, humid place was hard!

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      Ah yes, your husband will just have to live vicariously through you as you make you way through all of the deep-fried foods. They are amazing! They had this (apparently not great, but I haven’t had it so who knows?) deep-fried cheeseburger. Try it and tell me what you think! My favourite thing is definitely the chips and cheese, but I do love an occasional deep-fried pizza! My friends really seemed to love deep-fried sausages. I think you can even get deep-fried black pudding! I am one of those lovers of potato chips in sandwiches. Adds the perfect crunch.

      Some of the screens in Canada are pretty cheap quality too, the cats just aren’t allowed to sit on the window sills for the same reason. You are wise to have purchased better quality ones!

      I can’t even imagine hand washing clothes all the time. I am so spoiled with my washer and dryer. When I travel I have to sometimes wash clothes in the sink at the hotel and it’s not my thing. I agree with your school’s idea of you hiring someone to help with such tasks as it does provide work for locals! So how long did it realistically take for clothes to dry in such a humid country?

  9. Hello Crystal,
    I found it rather interesting that you mention “free” tuition if someones been there for 3 years… My daughter is there for 5 years taking veterinary at glasgow university, she’s from canada.
    How can we find out about if she qualifies.
    Thank you so very much

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      Hello Sandra! I know I already answered this via email (thank you for emailing me!) but the free tuition is only for students who have been living in Scotland for 3 years prior to applying for/attending university. So if you are on a working holiday visa or a student visa you will not qualify for the free tuition.

  10. This is a super helpful article! I’m moving to Glasgow on August 20 to attend University of Glasgow and it’s definitely not free for me, haha!! I’m so excited, all the things I’ve heard I will love are on your list! And the cons are not a deterrent. I may reach out for more advise soon if that’s ok!

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      You definitely can! Yeah, that’s the only downfall of the free university! It’s really more for people who are living there long term. Can I ask where you are moving from? You are going to love it! I lived in Edinburgh but visited Glasgow several times. I can say, although there is definitely a rivalry between the two cities, Glasgow is really lovely!

    2. Hey! I’m from Scotland and attend Strathclyde University which isn’t far from Glasgow uni! Glasgow is definitely the friendliest city! If you’re attending Glasgow Uni you’ll be right next to the West End of Glasgow which is full of culture from all over the world and has great places to eat & drink.

      Our weather isn’t great but tbh it doesn’t bother me, you get used to it. We do have good summers, temperatures can reach around 24 degrees in summer, which isn’t the warmest I know but some summers it has reached nearly 30 in the past so don’t be too put off by our rain! Plus, I weirdly love to take a big deep breath of the fresh air when it’s raining lol!

      If you have any questions feel free to ask! Everyone in Glasgow is super welcoming as well, so don’t worry about coming over! X

      1. Thats for certain Glasgow is the friendliest place,but can be a bit strange at first with some accents.

  11. I loved reading this post!! As a fellow Canadian who fell in love with Scotland, I would do anything to live there. Sadly though, I’m past the age for a working visa, and it’s not looking like a work visa will be possible. I do want to go back for my PhD in history and there are several people in Glasgow I would love to study under, but scholarships for Canadians in the UK are thin on the ground haha. So, I’ll keep reading posts like this and dreaming!

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      Thank you! Scotland really is one of the best countries in the world! I wish the temporary visas were for all ages! Even if it’s just for two years – over 30’s still want to move there! It would be amazing to get your Ph.D. in history in Glasgow! Keep applying for those scholarships when you find them – you never know. Thanks for your comment.

      1. As a proud Scottish person, it’s so lovely to see you all talk so wonderfully about Scotland. I’m so happy you all got to see it for what it is! I feel like sometimes it’s not represented in the media well & there’s always a lot of seterotyoes like we all run about in kilts with ginger hair, eating haggis ?!

        BUT, yous have forgot about the best thing about Scotland and it makes me sad no one has mentioned it.. POTATO SCONES!! ?

        Next time you visit you need to have a breakfast roll with potato scones and a SQUARE sausage (NOT links, it’s also called a Lorne sausage if you ever seen it in the supermarkets!) & of course irn bru. Not a healthy breakfast by any means but it’s definitely a hangover cure which the Scots know about as we LOVE a drink!

        The author is absolutely spot on.. you’ll definitely leave a proud Scot even if you aren’t Scottish by blood ?!! Also, the description of Irn Bru is spot on, I would gladly send you over some irn bru and alpro ! Much love, from Scotland ??????? ?

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          Oh yes!! How could I forget potato scones? I miss them so much! I would eat them regularly and whenever I had guests I would feed them potato scones for breakfast. The moment I can get back to Scotland I am going to buy a pack! I am desperately craving one now!

  12. We lived in Edinburgh for 2 years with our two boys-ages 5 and 7. Loved it! Edinburgh is like London only small and easier to get around. The weather sucks, but we got used to it. So fast and easy to travel to other EU countries. The hardest part was trying to figure out where to buy everything I needed for a gift for someone in the US. This was juuuust when Amazon was starting. We couldn’t just click and send a wrapped gift. The best, besides the people, was all the good food! Haggis at Stac Poly or better yet, venison in a bed of haggis with Cumberland sauce…yum? Caledonian 80…the best. Loved the smell of the hops being roasted wafting from the breweries. Edinburgh Playhouse-Real West End plays! Museums! Truly a wonderful place!

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      Did your boys love it? Where were you living before? That is one thing I really love about Edinburgh – it is a pretty small capital city which makes it so much easier to get around! So much great food in Scotland as well. I had no idea how much I missed it until I was writing this post. Thanks so much for your comment! Edinburgh is such a wonderful city!

  13. Great Blog crystal ,
    AS a SCOT I must say you got things dead on , apart from the dryer bit, Washer/dryers are usually only found in rented accommodation, most people have a standard solo dryer, but you are correct, the combo dryers are crap.
    As for screens , apart from the dreaded highland midge we don’t really have a bug problem, so no need for them.
    keep up the good work

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      I never got the opportunity to use a solo dryer in Scotland. I really wish I had one! but as you say – rented accommodation (my lodgings) usually has the dreaded combo washer/dryer. The combo dryers were the worst! I understood why people would hang their clothes out to dry.

      The bug situation – when I first moved over I lived in Dalmeny and would always wake up to 4-5 spiders making themselves comfortable in my bedroom. They were less frequent when I moved to the Corstorphine area of Edinburgh though! Thankfully, when I headed up to the highlands it was Autumn so the midges never bothered me once! I don’t want to experience midge season hahaha!

      Thanks for your comment! Glad you liked my post! I am also glad that solo dryers are making themselves more popular – even if they are bad for the environment.

  14. Thanks for this list! I’ve been to Scotland three times and I’d love to live there part time. I just returned from there in fact and stayed in an apartment on Thistle Street. I know exactly what you mean about the washer/dryer combos! Doing small loads took about three hours.

    The only thing that stands out to me as a con are the taxes. Good to know about these! I hope to realize my dream soon.

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      Yes! It’s a fantastic place to live! I hope you end up living there part-time someday! Thank you for your comment.

  15. Crystal,
    Your “Con” on taxes has omitted the fact that income tax in Scotland is now the highest anywhere in the UK, even for workers on modest incomes, and is expected to continue to increase given the current Nationalist government tax policy. The situation is even more acute for professions like doctors, dentists, lawyers, etc who actually now pay £1000’s more in tax that their counterparts doing exactly the same job elsewhere in the UK. If you plan moving from England, Wales or Northern Ireland to take up work in Scotland be prepared for a considerable increase in your tax bill.

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  16. I was born and brought up in Edinburgh and I must correct you on at least one thing — there is no such thing as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe i.e. the unofficial events that take place on the fringe of the official Festival.
    Also, this deep-fried food thing is not traditional. It took off in the 80s, and gets a lot of publicity because it is bizarre. When I was young fish and chips were a delicious but occasional treat, because we knew the unhealthy consequences of eating too much fat.

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      Have you heard of the mandela effect? where you think it is one thing your entire life but it isn’t? I just got that! I have always called it the Fringe Festival. Crazy! I have fixed it so thank you so much for letting me know! I must admit I do love all of the fried foods that are now a part of the normal chip shop menu! So many unhealthy foods emerged from the ’80s and 90s all over the world it seems!

  17. I am very interested in moving to Scotland and loved your insights. My question is, can I bring my dog and two cats? The cats would definitely help with spider control in the flat. Where can I find more info on a work visa or becoming a permanent resident? I particularly want to live in Kelso. Thanks!

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      Hello! Cats would definitely be helpful with spider control! So, I do not know a lot about moving to Scotland with pets but I do know it is possible. There are rules about being up to date on certain vaccinations depending on the pet. I highly recommend reading this page for more information: Pet Travel Scheme

      As for getting a work visa – depending on which country you are coming from please read my blog post on How to Get a Working Holiday Visa here. If you are wanting to move permanently please contact the British Consulate Office in your country for more information!

      I wish you the best of luck! Keep me posted for when you move to the UK!

  18. Hi Crystal,

    thank you for an honest and interesting blog about Scotland.
    I live in a very rural part of the Western isles and can confirm that midges are really the most vicious little devils; a bit like needles in disguise. Curiously, they don’t come into the house, so screens are not really used in my experience. I also have never had a problem with them in Glasgow – I assume that air pollution is useful for once!
    You are right about fried foods, though, and I think this is really because when you have to go out in what at times seems like constant rain, you just need all the energy you can get.

    I look forward to reading more.

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      Thanks, Nick! You know, during my entire time living in Scotland I didn’t have to deal with the swarms of midges at all! I am SO grateful! Whenever I headed up north or to the areas where midges seem to live in swarms, it was too cold so they were all hibernating/dead. I love Scottish fried food, it’s delicious! I am glad you enjoyed the post! The pros and cons can be different for Scots vs foreigners moving to Scotland as all of our countries and cultures are so different! I am glad you agreed on some points!

  19. Hi Crystal! I recently came back from Scotland and fell in love with the place. I work remotely so I was thinking about moving, but its the weather that keeps me home (not that New York) is much warmer right now. What about the legal requirements of living in Scotland particularly for Americans? Would you happen to have any resources on that? Thanks so much, really enjoyed your insights.


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      It’s a lot harder for Americans to live and work in Scotland without something already lined up. If you are working remotely and are thinking of moving to or staying in Scotland for an extended period of time I highly recommend reaching out to the British Consulate in New York. There is one located in New York City that you should get in contact with. They will be able to go through all of the legalities with you. I hope you are able to make the move – it is definitely colder (and rainier) than New York as I know summers in the Eastern USA can get pretty hot but I think its worth it! Good luck!

  20. Hi Crystal.
    Well done you!, The further I read into the posts the more I realised how much useful information you give. I live in Norfolk England but my roots are Scottish and I return as often as I can. Much has been said about city life which made me think of a ‘ Must Do ‘ If your in Scotland. From Glasgow there is a Flight of Fancy that will excite any person with a heart beat, A 19 seater twin engined otter flys from Glasgow to the isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides, It flys at around 1,000ft and on a clear day you see all below you, When you arrive the plane lands on a pure white sandy beach amid a sea of blue water. Its the only commercial flight in the world that uses a beach to land on. You can return in a couple of hours or best still, Stay a few days in a heaven on earth. I am flying out on the 16th May and man am I looking forward to it yet again. Keep up your good work and thank you from all your readers.

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      Thank you so much for your kind words! The flight from Glasgow sounds incredible! It would be so amazing to see the Isle of Barra from above. I need to look into this and add it to my future itinerary. I’ve never been on a plane that lands on the sand. Have a great time back in Scotland in May!

  21. Wow! I feel so lucky I stumbled upon this! My partner moved to Glasgow for school in January and I’m just finishing up my position here before moving over for early April! I’ve applied for my youth visa and I’m starting to prepare other things. This was so helpful!!! I have a question re: mobile plans. Did you keep your Canadian number active while you were away or did you ditch it and re-activate when you came back? And such useful info regarding the bank account — haven’t seen that anything about that yet. Thanks again!

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      How exciting! How is your partner liking Scotland? You will love spring in Scotland! I moved over there in March from a snowy Alberta so it was so nice seeing green grass and flowers everywhere! So – I ditched my number in Canada and got a new one when I came back. It was easier and cheaper for me in the long run! You should unlock your phone before you bring it over. If you really want to keep your number, I would talk to your mobile provider and see if they have a super cheap plan to keep it active while you live abroad. Feel free to ask me any other questions you have! Have a great time in Scotland!

  22. This was so interesting to read! I’ve been wanting to move out of my country for a few years now, and moving is probably still a few years in the future, but reading this is making me really want to consider Scotland as the place I end up going. I was wondering, in your time there, did you have any notice, or know anyone that did notice, how they treated both plus sized people and people of the lgbt community? It sounds wonderful, but if its not both comfortable and safe for my wife id have to rule it out.

    1. Post

      Thank you, Charlotte! I definitely highly recommend Scotland. The cons are barely cons at all – especially with how great the positives are. As for how they treat plus-sized or LGBT is great. I mean, of course, there are people in every country who are rude but from what I noticed they are very welcoming to people of all sizes and orientations. I have Scottish friends who are both plus-sized and LGBT and they feel very comfortable being themselves. It’s not something I think you need to worry about but if you have any more questions let me know and I can ask some of my friends who are in similar positions if they can answer any of your questions. Let me know and I will see what I can do!

  23. I live in Dundee which is between Aberdeen and Edinburgh. I think you were only ever shown big city living with all the fried food. Further afield in Scotland there is some of the freshest seafood you can find! I live in the sunniest city in Scotland and I think 18 months of rain is a bit of a stretch, I’ve always got a washing out, never heard of people having issues with tumble dryers? I can confirm the Irn Bru comment is 100% correct tho! Edinburgh tends to cater for tourists so stepping away from big cities when visiting is the best way to see the beauty in this country.

  24. Excellent article! I never thought about moving to Scotland (too much rain for me), but I highly enjoyed the article!

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      Thanks, Chelsey! Yeah, I love the rain and it took a year and a half before I was tired of it. If you aren’t a fan of rain it is definitely a con.

  25. Love your article, yes we Scots are very friendly but you forgot to mention the great rivalry between Edinburgh and Glasgow. But I must also say I love Canada and would gladly stay there.

  26. Hey love this list! I lived in Aberdeen for 3 years during middle school and high school and I would love to go back one day. I’m Canadian as well and wondered what visa you applied for? I think I’m over the age limit for a working holiday visa at 30 now. Any insight would be helpful!

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      I used the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa. I do wish they would extend it past the age of 30! It is definitely the easiest one for Canadians to get. The other ways are a bit harder for sure but can still happen.

      I wonder how your family moved/lived there while you were younger. It would be cool to move back!

  27. is there an age requirements to move to Scotland, in other words, how old can you be to move there or is there no restrictions.

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  28. Great blog, it truly made me smile. I live in Scotland, and i can not for the life of me stand iron-bru or haggis, and ive never had a deep fried mars bar, but its on my list!

    Midges can be a pain and can bite nasty, but in the east they are not as common. The east tends to be dryer but colder than the west.

    I also have a separate dryer, take out the washing machine and within 40 minutes i have lovely warm, fluffy clothes. However, your spot on washer-dryers are far from the best, but handy if space is at a premium.

    Pudding is pudding or dessert, dessert is the posher way to say it. Although on the whole people tend to call their pudding what it is, by that i mean they will say “shall we have some custard?” Or “shall we have some cheesecake”, but pudding is just that, pudding.

    It is an absolutely stunning country, with huge amounts of history, and the further north you go, the crazier the weather, only an hour of darkness in summer!

    And the screens on windows… winter is waaaay to cold to cold to have windows open, but modern upvc glazing normally has colded, fully open, or a little latch that you can open and lock the windows closed with the window only being open by about 5-10mm.

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      You don’t like irn bru? It is so good! I would hook it to my veins if I could hahahahaha! Yes, I would still take a washer-dryer combo over nothing. Thank you so much for your comment! Scotland is truly stunning and full of so much history – best country in the world? definitely!

  29. Excellent article ma’am, Thank you very much for all these valuable information, wishes for your beautiful future.

    I just lovedddddd the article.

  30. Hello,

    Loved your article. I am wanting to move to Scotland for a couple of years because I would love to get out of my comfort zone. What places or city would you recommend and how was it like finding a job? I would like to go on a job visa

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      I worked and lived in Edinburgh. It is a fantastic city with tons of opportunities. I highly recommend it! However, anywhere you go in Scotland will be a good choice. I have a post about finding a job in Scotland that will help you on your search!

  31. Hi! I have been scouring the internet for good blogs about Scottish life as I am set to study abroad in Glasgow for both semesters next year (from the US). Thank you for sharing a realistic pros and cons. Do you have any tips on dressing for all seasons? I can’t wait to try the chocolate custard!

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      Hello! I do have a post about what to pack when moving to ScotlandWhat to Pack for Scotland – 13 Essential Items to Pack for Moving Abroad that I recommend you check out. One thing for certain is to bring a waterproof coat and way more hoodies/sweaters and warm socks than you think you will need. I felt like a big tough Canadian but was sorely mistaken because it was way colder than I thought it would be. It is a wet cold in Scotland so it chills you to the bone! Let me know if you have any other questions!

  32. Thanks for this great information. I’m wondering what race relations are like in Scotland. My husband is African-American and I am white. We are both in our 60s. How would we be received?

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      Hello! In Scotland, there are a lot of people from all over the world. There are rude people all over the world, but it is not standard in Scotland. I have friends in Scotland in interracial relationships, and they have had no issues whatsoever.

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