Scottish ways & customs
A wee bit different, aye.
Every culture has unsaid rules which affect the way people interact. Finding your feet in a new place takes time, but people in Scotland are very friendly. Hopefully, you will soon feel at home. These tips should help:
When you first meet someone it is considered impolite to ask personal details about their age, their political beliefs and how much money they earn. It’s best to avoid these subjects until you are friends. Until then, you’ll find students often talk about the local area, activities at your school and the weather!
Being late for a class or a meeting is seen as bad manners. Always aim to arrive 5 minutes early for classes so you can get seated before the lesson begins. If you are going to be late for a meeting, let the person know.
People in Scotland use the words ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’ a lot! And if you bump into someone it is normal to say ‘sorry’ even if it is not your fault. Queuing is also seen as being polite and respectful. Pushing in front, or cutting in line is a no-no.
There is a tendency nowadays towards using first names when addressing people; this includes lectures and other university staff. When emailing, it is best to use Dear + first name.
“Drop in anytime” and “come see me soon” are phrases often used in social settings but they should not be taken literally. A real invitation to someone’s house usually comes with a specific time and date. It is also wise to telephone before visiting someone at home.
How to greet someone
Scottish people are quite reserved when greeting one another. A greeting can be a bright 'Hello' 'Hi' or 'Good morning'. We only kiss or hug people who are close friends and relatives.
Stage 3: Adjustment
Stage 4: Acceptance
What can I do to feel more ‘at home’ in the UK?
- Understand that these feelings are normal, give yourself time.
- Keeping in touch with home is an important part of living in a different country
- Have familiar things around you that have personal meaning, such as photographs or ornaments.
- Find a supplier of familiar food if you can.
- Stay active, eat well, and get enough sleep.
- Make friends with international students, whether from your own culture or from others, as they will understand what you are feeling and, if possible, make friends with the local students so you can learn more about each other’s culture.
Health & wellbeing
SRUC has a variety of support available for the physical and mental well-being of our students.
Shared Service Delivery (SSD) can help students with a wide range of issues. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0131 535 4444
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