Scotland is a vibrant country for anyone looking to move to a land filled with mind-blowing scenery, innovative job markets and the friendliest people on this side of the equator.
A land full of character and filled with interesting characters - who can throw you for a loop if you aren't prepared.
But not to worry, we've helped create a little guide that should smooth over any worries you might have about moving to Scotland. Here are the top 7 things you should consider when thinking about moving to Scotland.
The Scottish people are inquisitive and friendly to a fault. They are ready to drop anything to help you out, even as complete strangers. It's a rare personality trait to find within a collective people, especially city-dwellers, but you'll see it first-hand for yourself.
Most people in Scotland do speak English but with a strong twist on the dialect. So much so that you could be forgiven for believing that Scottish slang is an entirely different language to English, with its mix of Gaelic and new-age slang - which you will pick up throughout your stay, but it may take time. Check out this helpful guide for common slang phrases you might struggle with on your first visit.
Scottish people are very proud and passionate about their land, with many Scottish residents wanting independence from the UK. So rather err on the side of not mentioning the UK government. If you're planning to move to Scotland fully, brushing up on the history and politics is highly recommended.
The Job Market
If you're actively seeking work, Scotland is booming with an immense variety of options, all on an upwards growth trajectory. This country is constantly breaking new ground in many different sectors and offers new visitors to its home some outstanding career opportunities. Scotland has something to offer in all areas, from creative industries to STEM fields.
Scotland's economy is rapidly growing in both public and private sectors. Home to many start-up companies and tech hubs, people from all fields have a chance to enter the industry. Scotland has seen the most significant growth in its tourism and hospitality sectors, along with oil & gas, financial services, and social enterprises.
The government has pushed for a big focus on making Scotland an attractive destination for investment, focusing primarily on finance, digital infrastructure, and sustainably renewable energy sources.
The Methods of Transportation
Public transport in the big cities of Scotland is wonderfully efficient. There are many buses and trams that operate within moments of each other throughout Edinburgh and Glasgow, all working quite timeously.
If you don't live in one of the major cities, you'll still have access to regular buses and trains that offer quick and cheap transport all over the country. It's effortless to get around in Scotland, even without the luxury of owning a car.
Buy monthly or annual transport passes that will ease your finances and save you time. One of the first things you should do when you arrive in the country is buy a public transport pass.
The Arts & Entertainment
Scotland's culture has close to nearly a thousand-year history, and the people are proud of their ancient heritage. Their art and culture offerings are more than bagpipes and tartan, despite what many movies might have led you to believe.
You'll quickly be drawn into their traditional sports; golfing, curling, and shinty. Wait until you regale your eyes with the unique national dress, which includes the above mentioned tartan kilt, yes, but also the Balmoral bonnet.
A huge part of Scottish life is taking part in their traditional festivals, such as Hogmanay, which is celebrated on New Year's Eve, and Burns Night, which honours the life of renowned poet Robert Burns. These festivals always involve activities such as ceilidhs dances and haggis suppers. All these are part of the Scottish identity, giving Scots a strong sense of pride and belonging during these festivities.
Apart from festivals, the Scots also love a party – nightly gatherings are constantly taking place where everyone is looking to have a good time or "enjoying a blether," (check the slang guide from earlier) and welcoming others with open arms and a tall drink. Wherever you are in Scotland, there's always a "rarmy" or party - no matter the weather (Scots disregard hail, rain or snow altogether), the bars will be open.
Magnificent moors, graceful glens, heather-hewn hills and beautiful beaches - Scotland is celebrated for its breathtaking landscapes. It currently boasts around 700 islands, 30 000 lochs, and various mountains, valleys, and coastlines.
A significant portion of the region is ferally uninhabited. This means that even if you choose to live in Edinburgh or Glasgow, you are still only a few kilometres from some of the most dazzling scenery the land has to offer.
Plenty of activities are available based solely on exploring the natural wonders of Scotland; rafting around on a loch, island-hopping, white-water kayaking, castle tours - the list goes on! This part of Europe is the ideal place to strap on your outdoor shoes and experience nature in all its splendour.
The Culinary Scene
It would be an understatement to say that Scotland's culture revolves around its fare and libation. And the culture and economy go beyond just a fun night out.
Scotland produces some of the world's finest and most sought-after natural produce due to the bucolic countryside, fresh waters, and fertile lands. Scotland's food has come to be associated with taste and quality, as evidenced by their delectable Aberdeen Angus steaks, Seafood arrays, and the Scottish "water of life" - whisky. Och, even the international ratings of cheese in Scotland lead even the French to come back for seconds.
Scotland is also the land of deep-fried food. Delicious and deeply unhealthy options also abound at every opportunity. If you happen to be wandering around at night with a rumbling belly and you come across a chips and cheese stand, do not resist it — deep-fried chips covered in mounds of melted cheese await you. If your digestion can handle it, you can give deep-fried cheeseburgers or sausage a try.
Scotland is home to the notorious haggis, which consists of ground-up sheep's heart, liver and lungs stuffed inside a sheep's stomach. It's tastier than it sounds, and the Scots eat haggis regularly and always on Burns Night and other festivals. You'll find it readily available in most Scottish restaurants you venture to. Haggis is a significant dish within Scottish cuisine, so you should try it from at least a few different places since there is a wide variety of ways to prepare it.
The Healthcare System
Before you move to Scotland, you must pay a one-time immigration health surcharge when applying for your temporary work visa if you're coming in from outside the UK. But, after you've paid this fee - all healthcare (including eye care) in Scotland is free. If you need medical assistance, the National Health Service (NHS) will cover it.
This system should save you the worry of finding a doctor or paying for costly procedures. The NHS exists across the entire UK, but in Scotland, it delivers slightly different services. They cover more drugs under the national drug plan and, generally, residents of Scotland also get free prescriptions for many medications. The drawback is that although the NHS covers you, there may be a wait before a doctor sees you or you receive any treatment.
Scotland is a land that will welcome you with a cheery shout that you might not understand at first. But moving can be a real pain, even with the heartiest of hellos. Len's Self Storage has facilities in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and we offer a host of services to make your transition easier and less painful.
Contact us today to chat with one of our professionals about how we can help you.