Campus & Student Life
Michael Wallenwein, 28 August 2019

Study Abroad Experiences: Studying at Robert Gordon University Aberdeen

"Aberdeen is the perfect size for a semester abroad. You can find your way around within a few days, but at the same time you have enough to experience and discover for the coming months," says Michael Wallenwein, bachelor student in General Management, about his semester abroad at Robert Gordon University Aberdeen (RGU). In our quick check he takes stock of his studies and stay in "Granit City" and tells us more about his study abroad experience in Scottland.

This is what you can experience at Robert Gordon University Aberdeen and in Aberdeen:

1Modern university with an interesting programme of events

"The university is located approx. 30 minutes from the city centre in the Garthee district, near the river Dee. Here 16,000 students study in about 300 different courses. The Robert Gordon University Aberdeen is very modern and well organized. It also offers a broad and interesting event programme: There are many lectures on relevant and current topics. I took part in the Entrepreneurship Advancement Programme of RGU, that prepares me for starting a business. The gym on campus offers various sports that are worth trying. “

2. Young bar and club scene

"Aberdeen is located in the North East of Scotland, right at the mouth of the Dee and Don rivers. Students make up about 10 percent of the population and are welcome everywhere. A large part of life in Aberdeen takes place along Union Street and Union Square, whose shops, clubs and restaurants have a lot to offer. As Scotland's third largest city, Aberdeen has a great nightlife, so you can go to a different club or bar every night".

3.Well located student residences

"I recommend the student residences, as it is much easier to meet new people there. Centrally located residences are Woolmanhills (RGU), Spring Gardens (Unite Students), Old Fire Station (Unite Students) and Mealmarket Exchange (Student Roost). I lived in Woolmanhills, the largest and best located accommodation offered by the RGU. I could walk to Union Street within 10 minutes and a bus runs three times from the dormitory directly to the university in the morning. I shared my apartment with five other international students. The rooms are small, but fully furnished. There is one large living room with kitchen per flat. There are some en suite rooms (with bathrooms), but most of the flat mates share their showers and toilets."

4. Flat parties

"On the first evening I went with two of my flat mates to an event in our common room, where we met other people and were spontaneously invited to a birthday party in a club. Since every flat has a large living room, there are many parties where you can quickly meet new people. Woolmanhills was the central place for my circle of friends. Friends from other dormitories often came to celebrate with us there."

5. Discounts and support by the RESlife team

"Each hostel has its own RESLife team, which organises events and is available to answer any questions you may have.  RESLife (Residence Life Team) is a student initiative. RESLife members receive a discount on their accommodation. It is a good idea to go to many of these events at the beginning of the semester, because you can get to know so many students so quickly".

6. Cultural exchange

"With around 700 students in Woolmanhills, I quickly came into contact with international students. I shared an apartment with a Nigerian, two Finns and two Hungarians. One quickly learns to appreciate the advantages of the Erasmus+ programme and realises that the differences between different countries, cultures and continents, as propagated by some political groups, do not exist. The semester abroad is a great help in breaking down prejudices and broadening one's horizons".

7. Beautiful excursion destinations in the surroundings

"Within Aberdeen it is worth visiting the old fishing village, Old Aberdeen and the University of Aberdeen. Close to Aberdeen are New Slains Castle and Dunnotar Castle. New Slains Castle is an old castle ruin in the north of Aberdeen. The castle is an hour away by bus and it is recommended to get off at Bullers of Buchan. There you can see puffins with a bit of luck and hike to New Slains Castle within an hour. The whole trip takes about half a day.

Dunnotar Castle is a beautiful castle ruin in the south of Aberdeen. The castle is an hour by bus from Aberdeen. To gain access, you have to pay admission. Beside the castle there is a path to the beach, but it is very slippery, as I experienced myself. It's worth walking an hour from the castle to Stonehaven and sampling the award-winning fish and chips at "The Bay Fish & Chips". The world famous fried Mars bar can be tasted at "The Carron"."

You can find all the information you need about the semester abroad here.

Would you like to spend a semester abroad in Scottland? This is what you should be prepared for

1. University far away from the centre

"I recommend that you move as close as possible to Union Street, especially as the buses stop running between midnight and 4 am. Here you should inform yourselves a little bit, since the RGU advertises on its website only the own dormitories in campus proximity. I personally would advise against moving to one of those dormitories, because you will be too far away from the city."

2.Early closing hours in clubs

"The clubs in Aberdeen close at 2 am during the week and 3 am on weekends. When I came back from the outside area on my first night, I was suddenly alone on the dance floor and facing a staff member with a broom, which confused me a lot. But the short club nights also have the advantage that you can repeat all the fun on the next day."

3. Intensive learning courses

"Unfortunately, the courses at the RGU cannot be freely chosen, so that I had to take a course of study of the second or third semester. I took three subjects and two tutorials and had a maximum of 6 hours of lectures per week. However, other students had to attend far more lectures than I did. Nevertheless, you should not underestimate the courses, as I must wrote a detailed literature review and a long business plan. The earlier you start, the less stressful it will be at the end of the semester".

4. Sound-permeable windows

"In my dorm, the quality of the rooms varied from flat to flat and the administration invests money in the upgrading of some of them. I had some bad luck with my flat, because the windows were badly insulated and I could hear the seagulls.”

My conclusion:

"The semester abroad was the highlight in my Bachelor's degree so far. Due to the international student scene and the young club culture you won't miss anything in Aberdeen! The time in Scotland and at the RGU has shaped me very much and I can only recommend Aberdeen to you for a semester abroad".

Here you can read other study abroad experience reports.

Michael Wallenwein

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