Beginners Guide for starting at Robert Gordon University

Fit like? So, you’ve received your unconditional letter of offer for a place at RGU and you’re running around trying to make all the necessary preparations to make your big move to Scotland. You turn on your PC and type in the words “Aberdeen” hoping our dear old Google could tell your fortune and predict how your new life will be in the Granite City. “How are the people? Are they friendly? Will I feel accepted as a foreigner in this oil city? And more importantly (especially if you’re from Africa) IS IT AS COLD AS EVERYONE SAYS IT IS??!!!” Well, I have good and bad news…

I’ll start with the bad…. Aberdeen is as cold as everybody says it is. We are in the North East of Scotland, and just a strand of hair away from being in the Arctic so it IS freezing. No, I’m making it worse than it actually is. Don’t Panic! But truthfully, carry as many warm clothes as possible. If you’re coming from a warm tropical climate, your body will not be accustomed to the change in temperature for a little while and it is very important that you dress warm so that you do not fall ill. Carry gloves, scarves, coats and boots; because you will be arriving in January in the middle of the winter, it is important that you bring along strong, sturdy boots that will have proper grip especially when it snows and the paths get a little slippery. Remember, as my mother always says, your health is the most important thing and preserving it should be your first priority so that you’re able to enjoy the vibrant university life that our RGU has to offer. Besides, you will definitely feel more comfortable going out and discovering Aberdeen when you’re appropriately dressed for the weather.

Now the good news… Aberdeen is a great place!! It is so easy to feel like home here if you open your heart and mind to learning and embracing the charming Scottish culture. Most people are warm and lovely and will be ready to help if you ask, you do not have to worry about facing discrimination here because the equality laws are properly put in place to make sure that we all get an opportunity to work and live peacefully in the community. The sound of bagpipes and the sight of kilts will forever warm your heart if you live in Aberdeen; I LOVE the Scottish Culture, it’s so warm and fun! I know you missed the fantastic Christmas Parade and the Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) parties that happened over the festive period but fear not, there are many more exciting celebrations that happen in Aberdeen regularly and if there are no celebrations, set out for the castles, highlands, dolphin cruises and plenty of adventure that Aberdeenshire has to offer.Dunnotar castle

Visit the amazing Dunnotar castle in Stonehaven, just one train stop away from Aberdeen

Union Terrace

Take a wee stroll to the Union Terrace gardens right in the city centre, especially in Spring, it’s beautiful.

Even better news… RGU is a fantastic university, the best in Aberdeen I daresay. GREAT CHOICE! Our modules are very well organised, we have loads of educational resources at our disposal and the lecturers and other members of staff are extremely qualified and respectful. You will get a university email address where you’ll constantly receive communication from the administration regarding practically everything. The International Students Office is always available for advice and they are super-efficient. Say for example, you need a letter to open a bank account, all you need to do is just request one from your account and it is ready on the same day. Sometimes, it even only takes a matter of minutes. We have so many clubs you can join to keep you busy and to help you make new friends. My personal favorite is “Go-Green”; this is an environmental club that encourages students to protect the environment through various projects. They even hire out bikes to students in their efforts to encourage alternative use of transport that do not cause carbon emissions that pollute the environment. I also joined the RGU African- Caribbean society, and it was through attending the ball organized in collaboration with Aberdeen University that I met one of my closest friends in Aberdeen.

River Dee

Check out the stunning view of the River Dee we get to enjoy at lunch from the campus

You’re in good hands. Welcome to RGU and welcome to Aberdeen! If you wish to hear more about my experiences in Aberdeen, sign up for the Talk to a Current Student Scheme run by RGU International office, they will be happy to link you with an International Student Ambassador who you can chat to and make your transition to Aberdeen more comfortable and exciting.

Valerie

LLM Oil and Gas Law, 2015

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