Foreign Gals Guide to Aberdeen

Foreign Gals Guide to Aberdeen


Hi! Based on my own experiences, I have crafted a list of the eight most important things an EU student would want to sort out upon moving to Scotland.


  1. First things first: Learn how to fluently spell your full name with the English alphabet. Nowadays, I never even bother trying to say my surname I just immediately spell it out for the sake of everyone involved.


  1. During my first few days here I came to struggle with one thing: having a non-British phone number. It would be a great idea to get one sorted as soon as you can as a lot of admin tasks you’ll need to do require one. It’s a super easy process as you can just pop into the store of any local telephone provider and they’ll sort it for you in no time!



  1. Another struggle when dealing with my new Scottish life was that I did not initially have a British bank account. You can compare the deals you would get from the banks online, or the leaflets you’ll be likely to get from your accommodation starter kit or the Fresher’s fayre. To be able to open up a bank account, you will need to go to the info hub on campus and ask for a proof of address addressed directly to the exact bank of your choice (apparently one provided by your accommodation is not enough…). They will know what you’re talking about if you say it’s for a bank account.  Then, I was able to just go to the bank with my ID, proof of address and acceptance letter in hand and get a student account opened up.


  1. Furthermore, when you open up a bank account they might ask if you would also like to get insurance. That might worth looking into depending on whether or not your international insurances will be effective now that you live abroad.


  1. On a related note, it’s a good idea to use an app like Transfer wise if you often transfer money from your international bank account to your brand new British one. It can be expensive to do transfers between banks, but with this app: 1. the transfer fees are low 2. It usually only takes minutes (up to 20min) for the money to transfer and 3. It’s very easy.


  1. From the beginning, you should get registered with a GP (general practice = ‘doctor’s office’). The GP you can register with is dependant upon where you’re living. For some practices, you can register for during the Fresher’s week at university, or at least they will be able to tell you which GP you belong to. I just walked to my GP with an ID and a proof of address filled out a form and within a few weeks I was registered and ready to use the medical services!


  1. If one wishes to work in the UK, you will need a national insurance number (NI). You will need to call 0800 141 2075 ( and state that you would like to apply for one, then they will give you a time for an interview. All that you are required to do is show up, answer some questions, bring your ID and proof of address and voilá! Your NI should arrive in the mail within a few weeks.


  1. Speaking of working, some students might want to work part-time during their studies. Before getting your hopes up, do keep in mind that there are loads of students in Aberdeen so you might not immediately get a job. I also noticed, as an international student, that most of my applications were ruined at the last bit: two mandatory references. I had one, but even that was from a person back home who doesn’t speak a word of English. Sometimes the applications even required two UK references. So, there’s that. This doesn’t mean that you should give up, just give it time and don’t be discouraged even if it doesn’t work out at first!

All images are Emma's own


There we go! From HCAU you can find loads of other tips to life in Aberdeen, so you might want to give them a read too. At first, moving to a different country might seem a bit overwhelming, but fortunately, you will find that there is loads of help available, so many things to do, people to meet and societies to join, that the time will fly. Before you know it, you will have finished your first year!