How to make Aberdeen your home away from home as an international student

Moving to a new country and having to adapt to a new culture can be nerve-wracking. To help you settle in Aberdeen, we asked international students at RGU their top tips on how to make the Granite City your home away from home.

1. Create a community of international students

RGU has a huge international community as the university welcomes 16,000 students every year from over 150 countries! With so many students coming from all over the world, you won’t be the only one living away from family and having to adapt to a new culture. Creating your own friend group with other foreign internationals will help you cope with homesickness.

“Establishing a group of friends that you can share your homesickness with is important. Me and my friends would hang out all the time, especially if anyone started to feel lonely. Also, we would cook our national dishes for each other to share a little piece of our culture.”

Milla Ranin – Finland

“Find your community and the food. There are multiple international communities in Aberdeen that you can find on Facebook. I made a lot of friends from Indonesia here. I also like going to an Asian restaurant called Selera Malaysia Bistro located on St Nicholas Lane which serves food that has a similar taste to what I usually eat in Indonesia.”

Farid Hadiaman – Indonesia

RGU Union has a few societies for different international communities such as the Nigerian Student Society, the Malaysian, Bruneian and Singaporean Society, or La Sociedad for hispanic students. Joining these societies will help make Aberdeen feel like home.

Aberdeen also has a diverse food scene where you will find restaurants and shops that might provide food from your home country. You can learn more about international food stores on the RGU website.

2. Join clubs and societies

Sports clubs and societies are a good way to make friends and do something that you enjoy during your free time. RGU Union has over 60 clubs and societies where you can meet like-minded students. But there is also a lot to do in Aberdeen! The Granite City is a multicultural hub with plenty of activities that can connect you with different people and cultures.

“When I came in my first year, I remember that there were a lot of different events during Freshers Week. This was a good opportunity to meet people. Joining different clubs and societies, not only as part of the university, can also help settle you in. For example, I joined a salsa and bachata group that meet in Revolution de Cuba. This was an amazing experience. Personally, I find it useful to follow different Aberdeen-based accounts on Instagram, both businesses and personal ones. This way, you always know what’s going on around the city and where you can join. ”

Natalie Dimitrova – Bulgaria

Join clubs that get you out in the city and surrounding area! I joined the golf team at RGU and going to St Andrews was unreal. Our home club was Murcar and that was pretty awesome too.”

Corey MacQueen – Canada

“I luckily met a lot of other international students through sports clubs, and they became my other family.”

Milla Ranin – Finland

3. Explore the city and travel around Aberdeenshire

Exploring Aberdeen and adventuring around the region can help you be more familiar with your environment and feel more at home. Meeting locals is also a good way to learn more about the culture.

“Mingle and travel with friends. I would recommend visiting Seaton Park or trying out Adventure Aberdeen Snowsports.”

Cynthia Edochie – Nigeria

“Go hang among the locals. You can meet a lot of Aberdonians in bars, coffee shops or even the beach.”

Corey MacQueen – Canada

“As soon as I moved to Aberdeen, I started exploring all the parks and regularly walk along the beach.”

Vir – Italy

“Explore the town and make new encounters. The people are great here.”

Ifeanyi – Nigeria

You can find some inspiration on where to travel and what to do around Aberdeen in some of our other blogs:

My Favourite Locations in Aberdeen

5 things to do within 30 minutes of Aberdeen

Explore Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire through surprising facts

Must visit Aberdeen Parks

My Favourite Castles in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire

6 Must-See Spots in Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire

A guide to the hidden gems of Aberdeen

Aberdeen City Council also developed an app providing different trails to explore the Granite City. You can find out more on their website or download the GoABZ app on your phone.


For more information on life in Aberdeen, visit the RGU website or chat to other international students on Unibuddy.

Are you an international student who moved to Aberdeen for your studies? Let us know how you made the Granite City your home away from home!

Related blogs

Moving from Pakistan to RGU

From China to Aberdeen – Starting RGU as an international student

Living in RGU accommodation: My experience as an international student

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