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Posted March 3, 2014

Student City Guide: Aberdeen

Postgraduates who to choose to study at the University of Aberdeen will be attending one of the country’s most distinguished universities. A place of education from as far back as 1496, the university boasts a postgraduate community of well over 3,500 students. Many of these postgrad masters and doctoral student are not Scottish in origin. Indeed, the university as a whole has a very cosmopolitan feel with students coming from 120 different countries around the globe.

Relocating to the west coast of Scotland can seem that you are entering a bit of a backwater. However, the truth is far from it. Since the discovery of North Sea Oil off the coast in the 1970s, Aberdeen has become very much a centre of industry and commerce. Having been home to Scotland’s third oldest university for centuries, the entire area is now one of economic vitality. Some refer to Aberdeen as the energy capital of Europe, but it is not just for oil that it has earned a reputation. The city is leading business hub and one of eight so-called super cities which lead the UK’s economy. Given the success of the local economy, it is hardly surprising that many postgraduate students are drawn to Aberdeen because employment opportunities are readily available upon completion of their courses. Indeed, plenty of postgrads juggle study with part time work whilst spending their time in the city.

As well as the world renowned University of Aberdeen, the city has a second place of higher education. This seat of learning became a university in 1992. The Robert Gordon University has a similar student population to the University of Aberdeen – both are about 15,000 including undergraduates. For postgraduates, Robert Gordon University has a focus on technology and engineering which is hardly surprising given the local oil industry’s requirements for high-calibre postgraduates in those fields. Students from the two institutions enjoy good relations and mix well socially.

Aberdeen is a great city to study in. The University of Aberdeen has been consistently named as among the top ten places to study in Great Britain for the student experience available as well as for the support services it provides. Both institutions, for example, provide high-quality sporting facilities. In 2009, a new £28 million sporting facility was opened in partnership with Aberdeen City Council which aims to make the area a centre of excellence for sport in northern Scotland. Aberdeen Sports Village is well equipped. It offers a fully sizes indoor football pitch, indoor athletics facilities, a sports hall, no less than four squash courts, a well-equipped fitness suite and a gym. There is also a 400 metre athletics track with its own stadium and a floodlit hockey pitch.

Entertainment in Scotland’s third largest city is something that is on the mind of most postgraduate students who are considering moving there. There are a couple of cinema multiplexes in the city as well as an excellent theatre and a performing venue. Aberdeen is well-known for its music venues which offer anything from low-key intimate gigs to much larger events that are part of national tours. There are gigs every night of the week that cover all types of music. The Tunnels is the latest independent music venue to open and it is popular amongst undergraduates and postgraduates alike.

Aberdeen is also well-blessed for shopping, too. Head to Union Street and George Street for the main shopping areas, where you can find a good choice of retailers. In the last decade, Aberdeen was awarded a prize for its commitment to Fair Trade values. Many of the local retailers offer student discounts . The Trinity Shopping Centre, in the middle of Aberdeen is worth checking out and a new retail centre is currently being developed off Union Street, making for even more options.

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