Pros And Cons Of Living In Scotland

Scotland is a beautiful country with plenty of history and a rich culture. Many people wonder if they should move to Scotland, and there are pros and cons to living in the country.

Some of these things can be both a positive and negative experience depending on what type of lifestyle you enjoy or what you’re looking for in a home.

Pros And Cons Of Living In Scotland

Job Opportunities

One of the pros of living in Scotland is that there are many job opportunities available.

In particular, people from outside of Scotland are often welcomed in places such as hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions, and offices, and there are many temp agencies that can help visitors or those who have just moved to the area find work.

Many jobs also come with housing accommodations.

Scotland also has an excellent work-life balance, and employees in Scotland are entitled to a minimum of 28 days of paid holiday or vacation days.

In order to obtain work in Scotland, you’ll need certain documents, including a work visa.

For many countries, obtaining these documents and a visa is relatively simple.

However, if you’re an American, you’ll need to have a job lined up before you can apply for a work visa, which means a job will need to hire you and help you apply for the appropriate paperwork before you can start working.

This makes moving to and working in Scotland trickier for people from the United States.

woman at office job

Friendly People

People living in Scotland are generally known as friendly and helpful. People who have moved to Scotland from other countries are often surprised by how welcoming the people of Scotland are and how easy it is to make new friends.

People who have moved to Scotland are referred to not as immigrants or aliens but as New Scots.

Language Barriers

Although the people of Scotland are quite friendly in general, there can sometimes be issues with language.

Scots speak English, but the accents can be very heavy, and the Scots also have a dialect that’s very different from the English that Americans, Canadians, or even other people from the U.K. speak.

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Moving to Scotland might seem like a good choice because of the common language, but many people only realize that there is a bit of a language barrier after they move.


Even the largest cities in Scotland, such as Glasgow and Edinburgh, are considered to be relatively safe.

The cities and towns are also quite walkable, so it’s easy to get around or explore a new area without worrying about where to park or how to drive through the city.

As with all cities, there are some areas that are best avoided, and it’s always a good idea to stay alert about your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings.

Pros And Cons Of Living In Scotland

Beautiful Landscapes

In Scotland, most towns and even the larger cities are nestled amongst beautiful scenery and historic areas, such as picturesque castles.

Opportunities for exploring nature, hiking, or photography are never too far away, and many can be found right in the largest metropolitan areas.

landscape in scotland


One of Scotland’s biggest detractors is its weather. Scotland sees a large amount of rainfall throughout the year.

In addition, because it’s surrounded by water, the weather in Scotland stays relatively cold throughout the year, and the climate can often feel damp and raw even when it’s not raining.

Although Scotland has its share of beautiful sunny days, many people who are new to the area can find the weather a bit depressing.

weather forecast


In Scotland, healthcare is free. When moving to Scotland, you’ll be expected to pay a one-time immigration health fee.

After the fee, however, any doctor visits or prescriptions are free, and eye care is also free.

You can also supplement this free healthcare with additional healthcare insurance of your choice if you prefer to or feel you need extra coverage.

woman and child with healthcare worker

Free Universities

Universities are free in Scotland, as long as you have been living in Scotland for at least three years.

You don’t need to be a citizen or have been born in Scotland in order to take advantage of its free colleges.

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In addition, many of the universities in Scotland, including the University of Edinburgh, are world-renowned.

Access to Europe

Scotland is a relatively small country, so it doesn’t take too long to drive, fly, or take a bus or train to an entirely different country.

From Scotland, you can easily visit Wales, Ireland, England, or any of the countries in Europe or the surrounding area.

Most countries in Europe use euros, so traveling between countries is made even easier, as you won’t often need to exchange money.

Euro bills in wallet

Public Transportation

Public transportation in Scotland makes it simple to get around the country.

In major cities, there are usually several options for buses or trams, and they run on a frequent schedule that makes it easy to catch a ride when you need one.

Even outside the major cities, there are many options for buses that travel the entirety of the country.

Driver’s License Issues

Accessible and reliable public transportation is important, as getting a driver’s license in Scotland can be very challenging.

Even if you already have a driver’s license in the United States, you’ll need to take a written and practical test and fill out several forms in order to apply for a driver’s license that’s legal to use in Scotland.

You will also need separate licenses for driving manual or automatic vehicles.

drivers licence

Lack of Appliances

Due to the age of many houses or apartments and the need to conserve space, most homes don’t have appliances such as dryers, dishwashers, or air conditioning.

Instead, clothes are hung outside to dry or inside on a drying horse. Dishes are washed by hand and left to drip dry in a drying rack.

Although there’s not too much of a need for these appliances in Scotland, making the shift to living without them can be a challenge for someone who’s used to the conveniences these appliances offer.

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