Moving to Scotland & Pros and Cons of Living in Scotland
12 Things Nobody Tells You About Moving to Scotland
Despite stereotypes, Scotland stands out for its rich traditionalism and proud past. It’s as bold as it is headstrong, but what do we not know? Let’s go over 12 things about moving to Scotland that no one tells you, from politics to potholes, and since Scots are blessed with a wonderfully frank nature.
The Mishmash of Accents
Scotland shares a lot in common with the rest of the UK in that there is a sizable class structure. The multitude of Scottish accents differ significantly, even between neighboring villages, and can be used as a marker for social status and geographic identity through word choice or pronunciation. Consider the accents of Edinburgh and Glasgow, both of which are significant cities. In the end, some Scots speak with a heavy accent, while others appear to have more of an English accent. This frequently makes reference to social standing. Even so, Scots are the friendliest people, so be sure to embrace everyone and don’t judge a book by its cover.
Ah, a hotly debated subject! Scotland has a love-hate relationship with the weather, especially since it can change from one season to the next in a single day. That is, unless it’s winter and it’s bloody freezing, pure arctic, or if it’s snowing, bloody arctic! Nevertheless, Scottish people are resourceful people who are always prepared for any weather with a brolly and sunscreen in each hand. There is no place more beautiful than here when the sun does put on his hat.
Pristine Country Roads
In Scotland, there is a vast network of terrifyingly small country roads, so understanding how to navigate them is helpful. First things first, it’s amazing how both cars can fit if you move as far to the side as you can. When this occurs, it’s also considerate to wave to any oncoming vehicles. Just be aware that potholes are common, so be vigilant.
No or Yes
Even though the referendum is generally self-explanatory, some visitors still approach and make jokes about it. Be aware that everyone will voice their opinions, especially if you get into any heated arguments and cause unneeded ruffles, regardless of the personal preferences of Scots and whether they are Yes or No.
Leaving the grid
There are a few locations in Scotland where the internet connection is either painfully slow or nonexistent. Many of the more isolated Scottish locations give the phrase “going off grid” a whole new meaning because they lack high-speed connections and Wi-Fi hotspots.
Not a Free Refill
Scotland is not used to providing free drink refills, which is difficult for many Americans to comprehend — possibly with the exception of Pizza Hut and a few other restaurants. You will pay for that one Coke. The upside is that it won’t be overflowing with ice, and you might even get a lemon slice!
The Allure of the Daily Chippy
The natural bounty of Scotland yields some ground-breaking goods. Because Scottish seas are so plentiful, fish and chip shops are a foodie’s paradise, satisfying all cheat-day cravings. It’s also risky! It’s a real struggle to refrain from gorging on deep-fried pizza and exquisitely battered fish every night. Oh, and you ought to review what makes up a “Glasgow Salad.” And yes, the menu item battered Mars Bars is consistently well-liked.
The midges are the one thing you must be aware of before visiting Scotland. Prepare to slap your arms and legs furiously as the midges go to town and literally put a fly in the ointment of any outdoor shenanigans when midge season arrives. Stop learning the hard way. Bring repellent.
A spade is called a spade.
When it comes to opinions, Scots don’t mince words. And it’s magnificent! People in Scotland are unabashedly friendly and direct, so forget fakery and unnecessary airs and graces. You always know where you stand, visitor or native. You also can’t help but adore the Scottish sense of humor and its associated eccentricities.
However, they Do Welcome All Cultures
Although Scottish culture may be synonymous with tradition and heritage, this does not mean that other cultural practices should be ignored. Actually, the reverse is true. Scotland is a hub for creativity and is surprisingly open to new trends being introduced by people from various cultural backgrounds.
Soccer Social Code
Football is very popular in Scotland. Just be aware that some groups will not allow discussion of Celtic vs. Rangers. Sectarianism and an antiquated allegiance to either the catholic or protestant faiths are the real causes. To be fair, there is still work to be done even though the wounds are gradually healing.
Even though the numbers are slowly rising, Scots tend to pass away earlier than people from other UK regions. The BBC recently cited data from the National Records of Scotland that revealed Scottish people typically pass away much younger than other nationalities, with regional average ages varying significantly.
The Pros and Cons of Living in Scotland
Living in Scotland: Pros
There are numerous job opportunities in Scotland, particularly in the major cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow, for foreign and temporary workers.
Jobs are available in lodging establishments, dormitories, workplaces, bars, and—in my opinion—tourist attractions. People from other countries are incredibly welcome in the Scottish job market, which welcomes us with open arms.
Want to learn the working culture of Scotland? There are many jobs available in Scotland for foreign nationals, but you must first obtain a work visa. As an alternative, you can look for temporary employment through Scotland’s employment agencies, some of which also offer housing.
For foreign expat workers looking for ways to make money while on a working vacation in Scotland, there are plenty of temporary job opportunities available.
Before deciding to work at one of Edinburgh’s major attractions, I went through a few temp agencies. The best places to work on a working holiday in Scotland, in my opinion, are tourist attractions, but many people also apply for jobs in bars, hotels, hostels, and general retail.
See more: Why Is The Unicorn Scotland’s National Animal?
Employer services in Scotland
There are a number of temporary employment agencies in Scotland that can help you with your job search. Check out my post on how to get a job in Scotland for more details whether you’re searching for a temporary office job in a city or a farm job with housing.
If there are any job opportunities advertised on the websites of companies where you’d love to work, be sure to look them up. Sending a CV to their HR department is still worthwhile even if there are no open positions there. You never know when something might come up.
When I first arrived in Scotland, I was struck by how lovely, hospitable, and inquisitive the people were. When I first arrived in Edinburgh, I needed a lot of assistance, and everyone stopped what they were doing to lend a hand.
They offered to pick me up from the train station and take me to the grocery store once I had settled in when I moved into my first apartment with strangers I had never met before.
All of my coworkers invited me out, treated me kindly, and genuinely made me feel like a member of the team when I first started working.
In Scotland as well, making friends is very simple. Please read my post on how to make friends in Scotland if you are a newcomer to the area.
Some of the world’s most breathtakingly beautiful landscapes can be found in Scotland. You never have to travel very far in Scotland to find a fantastic place to spend some time. In Edinburgh, you can hike through the hilly Pentlands to feel as though you’ve stepped outside the city without actually leaving it, head to Arthur’s Seat, or descend to St. Margaret’s Loch. It’s simple to stay in shape in Scotland thanks to its numerous hills, peaks, and hiking trails.
In Scotland, everything is deep-fried. The pizza supper, which is a deep-fried individual cheese pizza served with a side of chips, is delicious, unhealthy, and my personal favorite.
I’ve always thought that’s what the locals do, so I always put my chips on top of the pizza. However, it turns out that I was strange for doing it.
My other favorite Scottish dish is chips and cheese, which consists of deep-fried potatoes topped with gobs of melted cheese. Magnificent! Additionally, deep-fried Mars Bars, sausages, haggis, and cheeseburgers are available.
Scotland actually has a fantastic selection of vegetarian and vegan food, both in takeaway restaurants and grocery stores, moving away from the unhealthy world of fish and chip shops.
Alpro makes dairy-free yogurt in addition to other dairy-free foods. I really enjoyed it! In Canada, we don’t have it, and I really wish we did.
The infamous haggis, made in Scotland from minced sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs and placed inside a sheep’s stomach, is a delicacy. Onion, oatmeal, suet, and spices are also included in this unique dish.
On Burns Night, a holiday honoring Robbie Burns, Scots consume haggis at least once a year. Additionally, restaurants all year long have it on hand.
I’ve tried a vegetarian version of haggis with turnips and potatoes before, and I didn’t care for it. You should nonetheless try haggis because it is a staple of Scottish cooking, whether prepared vegetarian-style or not.
Irn Bru is one more delicious Scottish treat that I should mention. It’s like sipping the happy tears of all the gods in existence when you drink it.
It’s a lovely soda pop or fizzy drink that will make your teeth rot while also making your heart happy. Try it! You’ll never experience anything better than this.
Is Scotland safe?
Scotland is a very safe place to visit and reside. I never felt in danger during the two years I lived there. You should stay away from some seedy areas in bigger cities, such as Edinburgh’s Niddrie, Wester Hails, MuirHouse, and Pilton.
When you’re out in public, it’s also a good idea to pay attention to your surroundings and keep valuables like your wallet and phone out of the hands of would-be robbers.
Dealing with public intoxication is Scotland’s biggest safety concern. Someone who has had a little too much to drink may attempt to approach you or yell at you from across the street.
These are typically brief and unharmful encounters. But if it ever occurs to you, I suggest you brush it off and keep going.
You will be fine as long as you use common sense.
Call the emergency services at 999 if you ever feel unsafe or in danger while visiting Scotland. If you forget the UK number, dial 911 to reach the emergency services instead!
Free Medical Care
When you apply for your temporary work visa, you must pay a one-time immigration health surcharge before moving to Scotland. As of 2019, the annual cost of your working vacation is £300. (2-year max stay). In Scotland, however, all medical care is free after you pay this fee, unlike in some other nations.
You can visit doctors whenever you want, and there are no fees for prescriptions. Because I had a permanent address in Scotland during my two years there, I only needed to see the doctor once, and I always got excellent care.
Additionally, the initial immigration surcharge makes sure that visitors on a working holiday haven’t accessed the NHS if they do get sick.
You should buy travel insurance for the duration of your stay in Scotland even though you will have access to free healthcare. For the two years I spent living abroad, I utilized World Nomad’s travel insurance.
Free Eye Care
Visiting an eye doctor is free, just like seeing a general practitioner is free! Additionally, Scottish eyewear is incredibly affordable.
When I was there, I never bought glasses, but I did find very affordable, high-quality contact lenses. The constant rain is one of the few drawbacks of living in Scotland as a glasses wearer. Contacts were essential.
With no bank fees
I was shocked to learn that Scottish bank accounts were free since I’m from Canada, a country known for its fees. Even using ATMs from different banks was cost-free.
There are some strange machines that charge you to withdraw money. But before you’re charged, you’ll always be informed of the fee and given the chance to back out.
Excellent Mobile Plans
Mobile phone plans are incredible in Scotland. Unlimited texting and data plans really do mean unlimited.
Numerous companies provide extra benefits like free mobile phones and packages that include a free meal and a weekly movie as well as affordable, unlimited phone plans.
Big city public transportation is excellent. In Edinburgh and Glasgow, numerous buses and trams run in close proximity to one another.
Even if you don’t live in a big city, you can still travel across the nation quickly and affordably on regular buses and trains. In Scotland, getting around without ever purchasing a car is simple.
Fully Equipped Apartments
You don’t want to live in an empty apartment when you relocate as a temporary worker to a new country. However, you also don’t want to spend money furnishing a home you’ll only be living in for a short while.
It was uncommon to discover an unfurnished apartment or house for rent in Scotland. Living abroad temporarily is made much simpler by having quick access to fully furnished apartments. The majority of apartments are fully furnished, including dishes, beds, couches, and everything else.
If you need assistance finding a flat or a room to rent in Scotland, be sure to read my posts about where to live in Edinburgh and how to find a flat in Glasgow.
Scotland gives its students free tuition and treats them well. Even if you weren’t born in Scotland, it makes no difference.
You qualify for free university tuition if you’ve lived there for at least three years prior to applying to a university.
Scotland’s universities are renowned for being among the best in the world. The University of Edinburgh attracts students from all over the world who come to Scotland to attend classes.
Numerous Locations to Live
There are a ton of flatshares available in big cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh. It will be very simple for you to find housing if you don’t mind sharing a residence with strangers, who will frequently turn out to be your closest friends.
When looking for the ideal place, websites like Gumtree are fantastic. Depending on the people you connect with during your search, you might end up living with Scots or other foreigners like yourself.
Scotland is home to some of the world’s oldest locations in addition to boasting a captivating history spanning thousands of years.
From touring Edinburgh Castle on the Royal Mile to going underground to find the once-plague-infested Mary King’s Close, there are many things to do in the city.
Scotland is brimming with amazing places to visit. When you make friends with some locals, be prepared to hear a lot about Scottish history because they are incredibly proud of it. I gained a lot of knowledge about Scotland during my time there, thanks to my loyal friends.
Fringe Festival in Edinburgh
Check out Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe, the biggest arts festival in the world, if you enjoy festivals and live theater.
The Festival Fringe brings the city to life with street buskers, theatrical plays, and hilarious comedians in addition to the Edinburgh Tattoo, for which tickets frequently sell out six to twelve months in advance.
Be forewarned that during Festival Fringe, the city will become insanely busy with tourists. So, if you need to travel through the city center or the Royal Mile to get to work, allow extra time.
Is leaving Scotland a benefit of residing here? Yes! Your front door is where the rest of Europe is.
Living in Scotland: Cons
I found it difficult to list the weather on the negatives because I enjoy the rain. But after 18 months, I became weary of Scotland’s typically wet, chilly, windy, and damp climate.
For information on what to bring to stay warm, I highly recommend looking at my packing list for Scotland.
Scotland is encircled by water, so the humidity is constantly high, making the already chilly days even colder.
The climate is so warm for a few days every year. It’s “taps off” weather, say Scots everywhere! Take a drink, and join the other shirtless Scots in appreciating the brief but welcome super-hot sunny days.
You might experience the dreaded culture shock depending on where you’re from.
Scotland’s culture can be difficult to adapt to, from not being able to understand the Scottish accent (don’t worry, you’ll get used to it so much you won’t even notice people have accents eventually) to not knowing where to buy specific items of clothing or having trouble understanding how to do laundry.
Please read my post on what to anticipate when moving to Scotland if you have any concerns.
There are some unforeseen taxes in Scotland. Where you live, the kind of housing you have, and whether you have a TV all affect how much you pay.
These taxes are necessary and significant because they fund neighborhood services like trash pickup, schools, and general city maintenance. (However, we can still grumble!)
The amount you must pay is determined by one of several different council tax bands, ranging from Band A (the least expensive) to Band H (the most expensive).
Find out which council tax band your future apartment is in before you sign anything to avoid unpleasant (and expensive!) surprises later on. These fees are separate from your rent payments.
I introduce you to council tax, which, in the words of my friend Chris, “takes your hard-earned money and sets it on fire!”
TV tax is yet another additional charge! Each household is required to pay a monthly TV tax because the BBC wants to continue to be ad-free. Not owning a TV is the only way to avoid paying. Who actually watches TV these days?
See more: Why Does Scotland Have Two Flags? (Scotland Flag Meaning)
Clothing Care and Drying
The norm in the majority of nations is to hang your clothes to dry outside on a line. However, if you’re moving to Scotland from the United States or Canada, you’ll need to adapt and figure out how to do your laundry without the convenience of a dryer (or a tumble dryer, as they say in the UK).
Even if you manage to find a beloved tumble dryer, Scotland has terrible ones! The machines typically consist of a single washer-dryer combination with a definite quality reduction on the dryer side.
I’ve heard that the equipment has improved significantly, but it’s unlikely that your rental apartment will have them. All you need to do is learn how to hang your clothes, and life will be simple.
It’s almost as if they turn the laundry in a circle for ten hours until it’s barely damp, at which point you give up on expecting warm, dry laundry that you doubt will ever arrive.
Although I’ve heard that there are better standalone tumble dryers available, if you’re renting an apartment for two years, be prepared to use a terrible combo dryer. (or not using one at all)
Scotland is also a rainy country. Therefore, be ready to quickly run outside to grab your clothes off the line so you can dry them inside on a clothes drying horse.
When I moved, I gave my friends the exact dryer horse that I had bought. They then shared it with their friends. Where is my dryer horse right now?
Window screens are blank.
I’m not sure why residents of Scotland don’t cover their windows with screens. In Canada, I’d be constantly bothered by spiders and other bugs in my bedroom if I didn’t have a screen on my window because there wouldn’t be a partition separating the inside from the outside.
Be prepared to share your bedroom with spiders if you enjoy having fresh air in there. This might not be a problem where you live in Scotland, but there were plenty of spiders in South Queensferry and Edinburgh.
Topic: Moving to Scotland & Pros and Cons of Living in Scotland
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By: Travel Pixy