Aberdeen has a very large student population which attracts students from all over the world offering you the opportunity to mix with students of all cultures.

Find out more about the International Exchange opportunities at Robert Gordon University.

Before Departure

Entering the Country

If you are coming to Robert Gordon University to undertake an exchange period, and you are a student from Canada or the USA, you will need a visa to enter the country.

If you will be attending Robert Gordon University for one semester only (i.e. a period of less than 4 months), you should apply for a student visitor visa - further information, including how to apply, can be found here.

If you will be attending Robert Gordon University for a whole Academic Session, you should apply for an adult student visa.

Accommodation

RGU: Accommodation endeavours to provide accommodation for all exchange students who book in advance as long as they have submitted a fully completed application form and Learning Agreement by 01 June for Semester 1 and 01 November for Semester 2. Please note that University accommodation is very popular, so you are strongly advised to book your accommodation as early as possible. If accommodation is requested at short notice, the University cannot guarantee to offer campus accommodation but it will help students to obtain private accommodation.

If you wish to stay in University accommodation, you must do so by applying online at Roomonline
Please note that you will not be able to apply for accommodation online until such time as you have received a letter of acceptance from the University.

It is a requirement that all students staying in University accommodation pay a non-refundable booking fee of £100. The easiest way to pay this is through Roomonline

Information on the various different types of accommodation that are available can be found here

The University flats are fully furnished, heated and are self catering. This means that 3 - 8 students each have their own bedroom but share cooking facilities and in some cases they share shower and bathroom facilities. Student Accommodation also provides a coin operated washing machine and dryers. Students have to provide their own bedding, cutlery, crockery and cooking utensils.

The Student Accommodation Service is also able to assist you with other arrangements such as bed and breakfast, private flats etc., if you prefer not to stay in University accommodation or arrive before the semester starts.

If you have any enquiries about accommodation then do not hesitate to email RGU: Accommodation or telephone on +(44)(0)1224 262129 or +(44)(0)1224 262130.

Living Costs

It is estimated that for stay in Aberdeen of 4 months, you may need approximately £3,000 and £3,500 to cover living costs depending on your individual lifestyle and the duration of your stay. These costs would include accommodation, food, books and travel expenses.

Disability and Dyslexia Service

It is important for disabled students to know that adjustments an be made to facilitate your studies.  The Disability and Dyslexia Service offers confidential advice and support to disabled students and prospective students.

The Disability and Dyslexia Service, part of the Student Services' Department, is validated by the Scottish Government to undertake assessment of needs and has many years' of experience of supporting students. 

On Arrival

Arriving in Aberdeen

When making travel arrangements, students are advised to arrive Monday to Friday between the hours of 9am - 5pm. This is preferable as staff are on site during these times and can allow you access to your accommodation. If you think that you may arrive outside these times, you should contact the Accommodation Services who will arrange for someone to be on site at your arrival time to give you access to your accommodation.

If your arrival coincides with the beginning of Semester (end of September and end of January), you will be met at the airport or train station, provided that you have completed the necessary form prior to arrival. This form can be downloaded from Roomonline after you have applied for accommodation. Please note that you will have to make your own way to your accommodation.

From the Airport

  • Taxis
    The taxi fare from the airport to your accommodation will cost approximately £15.00 to £20.00. Taxis are available from outside the terminal.
  • Buses
    The Jet Service 727 runs regularly from the airport to Union Square bus station, which is in the city centre. Fare information and timetables are available from www.stagecoachbus.com/Bluebird%20Jet.aspx
  • From the Bus/Train Station
    The taxi fare to Woolmanhill, Meal Market or Garthdee will cost approximately £5.00 - £12.00. Taxis are available from inside the railway station, which is next to the bus station.

Orientation

Information on orientation for Semester 1 of 2011/12 will be available in due course.

Enrolment

All exchange students must enrol with the University, and this can be done online at www.rgu.ac.uk/current-students/enrolment-information. You will be sent a letter in due course which will give you further information on enrolment. You will not be able to enrol until you have received this letter.   

With your ID card, you will be allowed access to all University premises and facilities including the Student Union. With your student card you will also be able to benefit from some of the student discounts that are on offer to students within Aberdeen. For example, you can get discounts in certain cinemas, sports facilities, restaurants and nightclubs.

Medical Services and Dentists

You are entitled to register with a Doctor (GP) under the National Health Service (NHS) for all medical services. Registering with a GP gives you access to free healthcare, although you may have to pay for any medication that is prescribed.

It is important to arrange this on arrival in Aberdeen to ensure you are covered in an emergency. Registering with the University Medical Service is not compulsory although it is essential that you register with a Doctor if your stay in Aberdeen is longer than 3 months. If you wish to register with a doctor who is located near to where you are living then you should consult the Yellow Pages.

More information can be obtained from the Medical Service.

Dentists - If a student requires dental treatment, they will have to pay for all treatment that they receive. There are numerous dentists in Aberdeen, both National Health Service Dentists and private ones, although there may be a waiting list to see an NHS dentist.

Insurance

It is strongly recommended that students who are on a study visit to Aberdeen are insured. Your insurance policy should be fully comprehensive and cover you in the event of medical emergencies as well as your property. This can be done through any insurance company in your home country or in Aberdeen.

Bank Information

If you wish to open a UK bank account, it is advisable to choose a bank that is within a reasonable distance of where you will be living or studying. Most banks will require certain documentation in order to open an account. It is advisable to take along four documents:

  • Student ID Card
  • Passport
  • A letter with your Aberdeen address
  • Letter of Acceptance from Robert Gordon University

Some banks may also ask you for a letter of confirmation of matriculation from Robert Gordon University. The Erasmus Institutional Coordinator will supply such a letter on request.

The majority of banks are open from 9 am to 5pm / 5.30 pm.

If your bank card displays the ‘Plus (Visa)’ or ‘Cirrus (Mastercard)’ symbol then you may be able to withdraw money from ATMs, however, you may be charged for this. It is advisable to check with your own bank in your home country before you leave.

Some of the banks in Aberdeen are:

  • The Royal Bank of Scotland
  • The Clydesdale Bank
  • Lloyds/TSB
  • Barclays Bank
  • The Bank of Scotland

Living in Aberdeen

Travel

Aberdeen has a good bus service that operates in and around the city centre and to the various campuses of the University. Students can travel between Schoolhill and Garthdee by using services no.1, 2 and 9 (UniLink).

Standard First Aberdeen buses in Aberdeen operate on an exact fare basis - i.e. you pay the exact money as you will not be given any change. While staying in Aberdeen you can purchase a bus pass that will give you unlimited travel within the city. These passes can be purchased for a period of 1 day, 1 week, 1 month or 3 months.

Coach

Discounts are available for both Citylink Coaches and Megabus coaches. For up-to-date details, please consult the appropriate website:

Rail

A 16 - 25 Railcard gives you discount on rail travel. It can be purchased online, at all major railway stations or over the phone on 08457 48 49 50, and costs approximately £26. For up-to-date information, please consult the railcard website:

Timetable and fare information can be obtained from:
Tel: 08457 484950
www.scotrail.co.uk

Holidays

Usually the last Monday in September is a local holiday and the University will be closed along with the local banks, so if you are arriving on this day then do remember to bring enough currency to see you through.

Other holidays include:

  • New Year's Day and 02 January
  • Aberdeen Spring Holiday (April)
  • May Day (May)
  • Aberdeen Summer Holiday (July)
  • Aberdeen Autumn Holiday (September)
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day

Student Counselling & Wellbeing Service

Studying at University is designed to challenge you to achieve your personal and academic potential. This is often exciting and rewarding but sometimes you may feel overwhelmed with negative emotions and require additional support.

Whether your worries are directly concerned with your academic studies or stem from external pressures or incidents, the Counselling and Wellbeing Service can offer you the opportunity to talk through your problems, help you understand them, and discover strategies to resolve or minimise them.

Asking for help when you feel overwhelmed is a positive step towards maintaining your wellbeing.

Clothing

When coming to Aberdeen from another climate, remember to bring warm clothing, as the Scottish weather can be unpredictable. So do not forget to bring fleeces, an umbrella and/or waterproof clothing.

Electricity

The voltage of electricity in the UK is much greater than in most other countries. If you intend to bring any electrical appliances with you, please bear in mind that you may need an adaptor/transformer as the sockets are completely different also. Please check before use as if voltage is not sufficiently reduced it may irreparably damage your appliance.

TV Licence

When do I need a TV Licence?
You need a TV Licence to watch or record TV programmes, irrespective of what channel you're watching, what device you are using (TV, computer, laptop, mobile phone or any other), and how you receive them (terrestrial, satellite, cable, via the Internet or any other way). If you don’t have a licence you risk prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000. A colour licence costs around £145.50 for 12 months.

You need your own separate TV Licence if you live in halls of residence and use a TV in your own room.

Telephones

Many mobile phones will work in the UK, however, it is advisable to check with your service provider before your leave your home country. UK mobile phones are readily available in supermarkets and specialist shops, both on "pay as you go" and "pay monthly" tariffs.

Public payphones are also available and accept coins or phone cards or credit cards.

Shop Opening Hours

Most shops are open from 9am to 5pm/5.30pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and from 9am to 8pm on Thursdays. Many shops are open on a Sunday. The bigger supermarkets are open most days until at least 9pm, while many are open for 24 hours.

Student Discounts

As a full time student with a student card, you will find many shops, restaurants, cinemas and bars will give discounts.

If you would like to know what is happening in Aberdeen then you can pick up monthly guides such as:
‘What’s On’
‘Arts and Recreation Listings’
These are available from RGU:Union, the Tourist Information Board and The Music Hall, amongst others.

Sports Facilities

RGU SPORT provides opportunities for students, staff and the wider community, of all levels of ability, to participate in sport and physical activity.

Robert Gordon University has invested over £11 million in a state of the art sport centre. The centre is a dramatic improvement in sporting infrastructure available for the region and will also act as a social hub for the Garthdee campus.

The centre features a 25m swimming pool, three gyms, climbing wall and bouldering room, cafe, three exercise studios and a vast sports hall.

The Yellow Pages can provide additional information on sports and activities that take place outside the University.

University Societies and Sports Clubs

There are over thirty Societies and Sports Clubs currently funded by the Student Association, including:

  • Rowing
  • Tennis
  • Drama
  • Singing

Membership of a Society or Sports Club provides excellent social activities and great opportunities to make new friends. You can find out more about the Societies and Sports Clubs at Fresher's Fayre, which is held at the beginning of Semester 1 or from RGU:Union's website.

Useful Addresses and Telephone Numbers

Embassies and Consulates

Canada

Canadian Embassy
Macdonald House
1 Grosvenor Square
London
W1K 4AB

Tel: 020 7258 6600

USA

U.S. Embassy
24 Grosvenor Square
London
W1A 2LQ

Tel: 020 7499 9000

U.S. Consulate General, Edinburgh

Consulate General
3 Regent Terrace
Edinburgh
EH7 5BW

Tel: 0131 556 8315

Emergency Telephone Numbers

  • Police 999
  • Ambulance 999
  • Fire 999

Other Telephone Numbers:

  • Operator 100
  • Directory Enquiries - there are several numbers, each charging different amounts, examples of these are 118 118, 118 500 and 118 247. You can also search for directory enquiries online.
  • Grampian Police 0845 600 5 700 (for non emergencies)
  • Foresterhill Hospital 0845 456 6000
  • NHS 24 08454 24 24 24

Telephone Codes to the UK from Other Countries

The UK dialling code from both Canada and the USA is 011 44.

Telephone Codes when Dialling Other Countries

UK - Canada 00 1
UK - USA 00 1