In the recent light of Brexit I have been thinking over and over again: Thank God, I live in Scotland. Here are 10 reasons why you should move to Scotland!
My Story Scotland

10 Reasons to Move to Scotland NOW

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In the recent light of Brexit, but also last week’s decision of the Austrian constitutional court to overturn our latest presidential elections, I have been finding myself saying one thing over and over again: Thank God, I live in Scotland. I knew I would love it here long before I made the decision to apply for university in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. That was in early 2014. Eight years earlier I told my mum about this amazing thing called Wwoofing (if you don’t know what that is, have a look here) and how much I wanted to travel around Scotland and wwoof my way through the Highlands. I had fallen in love with pictures of the Highlands, the islands and the lush green hills. I was 17 at that point, had never traveled on my own, and as you can imagine, my parents said no.

How lucky do I consider myself now, ten years later, living in the country of my teenage dreams. And how lucky do I consider myself to live in a country where the majority voted in favour of the European spirit that enables me to do so.

Here are my top ten reasons to move to Scotland and why you should consider living here as well.


1) Free Education

I wish I would have known this earlier – my parents are probably quite glad that I didn’t. Undergraduate education at Scottish universities is free of charge for all students from the EU, except the English who have to pay the same fees as charged by English universities (currently £9,000 a year).

The Scottish government has just released a statement to reassure current and prospective EU students that this will stay this way for the coming time, despite the results of the EU referendum. Of course none knows what will happen by the time the UK actually leaves the union, but for the time being Scotland should be your number one choice for free and excellent higher education!

Scottish universities rank consistently high, with the institutions in St Andrews, Glasgow and Edinburgh scoring particularly high. But also the schools in Aberdeen and Stirling are great choices. For added bonus just picture the Hogwarts-esque cloisters all these buildings have to offer!

Read: 10 free things to do in Glasgow


2) Low costs for freelancers

One of the ‘little’ annoyances I remember from living in Austria and Germany was how expensive it was to be a grown-up without a proper full-time job. I had always earned my money with part-time jobs and freelancing, so I hardly ever had a full-time contract that would have covered me for health insurance or automatically deducted my taxes. While the systems are different in everywhere, I feel comfortable to generalise one thing: being a young entrepreneur is not easy in in Austria or Germany. You pay extortionate amounts of money for health insurance regardless of your income, and you only get €10,000 of tax-free income per year.

In the UK this immediately rises to £10,000 (a lot more, at least until last week) which is particularly convenient if you still have a majority of clients paying you in Euros.

The other thing that I found way easier and more affordable as a freelancer here, is health insurance. As long as you remain under a rather generous income limit, you only pay £2.50 a week to cover you fully under the NHS. Starting your business and gain ground as a freelancing writer after my masters was so much easier here than it would have been back home.


3) Free healthcare

Now that I’m a student again I enjoy one of the greatest perks of life in the UK – free healthcare. While employed and self-employed pay a small contribution towards their National Health Insurance, I am exempted from this for the time being. I remember the first time I had to go to a hospital in Glasgow for an emergency. I was worried sick after my experiences back in Germany, when I had to be rushed to the hospital after being hit by a car. In the 48 hours I spent there for observation of my concussion I had to speak to the hospital’s finance administrator at least three times and eventually faced a €600 bill for the ambulance transport. All that with a European insurance card that is supposed to cover me for emergencies…

In Glasgow I got picked up by an ambulance, received the friendliest treatment by the A&E staff (one of them gave me a tenner go get myself a taxi home afterwards) – no questions asked. When I asked a nurse whether they wanted to see my insurance card, she said to me: ‘You’re here and need help, so we help you. That’s it.’ Let that sink in.

In the recent light of Brexit I have been thinking over and over again: Thank God, I live in Scotland. Here are 10 reasons why you should move to Scotland!


4) Politics matter

While anywhere else in Europe people seem to be increasingly disillusioned by and disinterested in politics, I thoroughly enjoy the general political engagement of the Scottish people. I moved to Glasgow a year before the Independence Referendum 2014 and ever since have noticed how eager everybody here is to discuss politics in a mannered way (mostly). No matter what their opinion is, whether they are cab drivers, uni colleagues or just random strangers in pubs, they want to talk about what’s going on in Scottish, British and European politics.

It is refreshing to live in a country where, no matter what their political opinion is exactly, people take an interest in partaking in political debates.


5) Witnessing the writing of history

The Austrian composer & conductor Gustav Mahler once said that if the world will end one day, he’ll move to Vienna where everything happens with a 50 year delay. I want to opposite.

Since I have moved to Scotland I have witnessed an independence referendum and a EU referendum, a Scottish parliament election and a UK general election. I have seen friends and colleagues doing some world-changing research and achieve personal goals. Things are changing and developing all the time, but somehow I feel closer to it all ever since I moved here.

In the recent light of Brexit I have been thinking over and over again: Thank God, I live in Scotland. Here are 10 reasons why you should move to Scotland!


6) Backyard Adventures

Let’s change the topic. One of the reasons why I loved growing up in Vienna is that the Vienna Forest is just a 15 minute tram ride away from my parents’ flat – even though I am a city kid, nature was always so close. Now, Scotland is even better. Living in Glasgow I don’t need to drive far to get to the seaside, beautiful lakes, the mountains or all three in one day. The Highlands and the west coast islands are my backyard and I can venture out whenever I have a day or two off.

The country is full of places perfectly suitable for micro adventures by car, train, bike or by foot – you only need to take the weekend off and point your finger on the map.

Read more: Exploring Glasgow: The Seven Lochs Wetlands Park

No need to go as far as Glencoe or Loch Lomond for an active day out and about - a hike in the Kilpatrick Hills makes for a perfect day trip from Glasgow!


7) Experiencing Scale

While we’re at it – Scottish natural landmarks are a great reminder of how small we are in comparison to the world. Take a road trip through Glen Coe, or a hike up to the Old Man of Storr and you’ll understand what I’m talking about. Do you see the tiny man standing next to the pinnacle on the picture below?

Scotland would not be the same without its pristine, untouched wilderness. The same counts for the rest of our planet, but experiencing it first-hand right here has changed my mindset towards an eco-friendlier lifestyle significantly.


8) Environmental Consciousness

In correspondence with my personal lifestyle choices, I am glad to see that the Scottish government has a very progressive energy strategy to protect its country as well. Almost 60% of Scotland’s energy comes from renewable sources and the plan is to raise this to 100% of Scottish electricity consumption by 2020.

Yes, the economy still relies strongly on the offshore oil and gas reserves in the North Sea, but at least it is a step in the right direction. In shops you have to pay for plastic bags and re-useable containers are encouraged by many coffee shops and takeaway places. I hope that soon the government will think about introducing deposits for glass and plastic bottles and tin cans like in Germany – then I’d be even more happy!

In the recent light of Brexit I have been thinking over and over again: Thank God, I live in Scotland. Here are 10 reasons why you should move to Scotland!


9) First Class Cultural Hub

It’s absolutely out of question that Scotland is a first class cultural hub. The country is famous for institutions like the Edinburgh Film Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe and the Glasgow School of Art, artists like Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Alasdair Gray, and musicians like The Proclaimers, Belle & Sebastian or KT Tunstall (admitting a few guilty pleasures here) – the talent in this country is incredible.

As an arts student I love the thriving contemporary arts scene as much as the rich history of arts and culture in Scotland. And I’m not the only one. Artists are relocating to Glasgow in big numbers because other artsy centres of the UK, like London, become too expensive and exclusive. There is always a gallery opening, a free gig or a poetry slam going on in one of Glasgow’s many venues. \

The Scottish countryside might be a bit quieter, but even there you have very active cultural community centres, touring cinema vans or art exhibitions, and many former industry towns, like Dundee, are re-branding themselves as arts and design centres. Check out the programme for this year’s special initiative, the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016 which hosts exhibitions, installations and other events all over the country.

Read: 50 Travel Tips for Glasgow

Scottish history is not all about medieval castles, Glasgow has its fair share of rich heritage, and Glasgow Cathedral is a good place to learn more!


10) Everyone is Welcome

Whether you live in Europe or not I’m sure you have heard about the ‘refugee crisis’ the continent is dealing with at the moment. While some people have to leave their lives behind in order to survive, many politicians/people in Europe are more concerned about what that means for their local neighbourhood than to talk about actual strategies to end the wars that have forced these people out of their homes in the first place.

Whenever the hateful voices grow too loud (like right now in many parts of England) I am glad to hear the Scottish people extend a warm welcome to everybody who needs help. Just like the NHS nurse in a Glasgow hospital helped me out because I needed help, the general vibe in Scotland is ‘Refugees & immigrants welcome’!

Being white and from the EU I used to take my place in the Scottish society and the privilege of freedom of movement for granted way. Post-Brexit though I am happy about the extended welcome of the Scottish government, the reassurance that my contribution is valued by my university, the hugs of Scottish friends who make sure that I know that I – and everybody else who was not born here – is welcome.

In the recent light of Brexit I have been thinking over and over again: Thank God, I live in Scotland. Here are 10 reasons why you should move to Scotland!


There is no place I’d rather live right now than Scotland, and these 10 reasons are only the beginning. The friends I’ve made, the career opportunities I get and of course the love I found are the reasons I want to stay in Scotland – that and the pizza of Paesano in Glasgow’s city centre…

And if you need a little more convincing – travel around the country before you make any decisions. Scotland is an amazing place for female solo travel – here are my eight reasons why!

Would you move to Scotland?


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In the recent light of Brexit I have been thinking over and over again: Thank God, I live in Scotland. Here are 10 reasons why you should move to Scotland!

All photos by Kathi Kamleitner.

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40 Comments

  1. This was a really interesting article. I’m from the UK (Nottingham) and was always jealous of free University in Scotland!

    On the subject of Brexit, I’m absolutely gutted we voted out, and I’m hoping and praying that it won’t affect my dream of moving to mainland Europe (saving up for a move to Denmark!). It’s not looking promising right now though… 🙁

    • Oh dear – so much has happened since I wrote these words… I have no idea if I will be able to stay here; or if my British partner will be able to come to Europe with me… then again, let’s hope for a soft Brexit and that the government remembers that we’re all human beings!

  2. Such a beautiful country to move to! I’ve always wanted to visit, and I’m so glad you’re enjoying your time there! 😀

    • I hope you get to visit one day; it’s such a gorgeous place! Thanks for your comment!

  3. I love Scotland! I can see why you do too. It’s such an amazing place. If only I could move there myself.

  4. I couldn’t agree more. Do you know what annoys me though? I can literally see Scotland from my house. I live on the border. Its a stone throw away. I can just nearly touch it with my fingertips but yet here I am still in England and having to live with their rules and expensive education. haha great post

    • Oh no – that’s the worst tease ever! Maybe we can move the border to include your house if worse comes to worst…

  5. So inspiring! I’m based in the UK (England) and I can’t see myself live here long-term. My boyfriend and I are planning to visit Scotland so I can see if I prefer it over there… Now, I’m convinced! I can’t wait to go!

  6. I’ve been having conversations back and forth with myself for quite a while now about making a move to Scotland, I’ve even gone as far as to research jobs and a place to attend church, because doing something permanent like that would be impossible for me without either one. It would also be a HUGE change for me since I have lived in the same tiny town in Alabama, USA since I was five 🙂 but your article only makes me pine for Scotland even more! Can you miss a place you’ve never been to?! However, I’m nothing if not practical, haha, and I know a move from the US to Scotland would definitely NOT be simple. You could just be reading the hopeful words of a big dreamer, but in any case, do you have any advice on how to go about it? 🙂

    • Sounds like you should at least plan a trip here soon to check it out 🙂 I think at the moment, it’s really hard to tell what the chances are to move to the UK… with Brexit happening there are so many stories flying about, that it’s hard to keep an overview. I guess the easiest route would be if you had Scottish/British ancestors, or to land a well-paying job and the company would vouch for you. But I’ve heard that’s getting harder as well… Sorry I can’t be more of help, but I hope you’ll find a way to visit and stay!

  7. You are blessed to live in such a wonderful contry. I hope someday to travel to Scotland. It has been a dream of mine for many years. i can’t imagine the red tape of moving there.

    • I hope you get to visit one day. I wish everybody could see it <3 Thanks for your comment!

  8. So glad I found this! I’ve always felt a strong urge to visit Scotland (too many Rosamunde Pilcher novels, maybe) but after this past year I don’t think living there permanently would be such a bad idea. At least my tax money would go towards the betterment of society rather than building walls. Looking forward to getting there soon!

    • Well, let me know when you arrive here, I’d be happy to show you around Glasgow 🙂 Thanks for your lovely comment!

  9. It’s heartwarming when someone else loves Scotland as much as we do. We are such a tiny country but we have the best of EVERYTHING here, yes i am slightly biased, but it’s also true. You will ALWAYS be assured of a warm welcome and of course a dram or 5! Sláinte!

    • Thanks for your comment! I totally agree – and I’m very happy I found a little spot for myself in Scotland <3

  10. Recently, I was looking into the possibility of moving to Scotland when I retire. The information I was able to find stated that you could use ancestry only if you had Scotish ancestors as Granparents. Nothing beyond that counted. I could find no way to stay there. I hope that changes.

    • Oh, what a shame! Are you American? I’m afraid I’m not familiar with visa requirements, but I hope it works out for you somehow!

  11. So much awesomeness described here!! It’s great to hear such amazing comments about my home country 🙂 Now I must get to reading some of your other blog posts.

  12. Hi! I loved your article! Could you possibly tell me how easy or hard it is to immigrate to Scotland? I’m American but my now ex husband is German. Our daughter has European citizenship so I’m debating on moving to Scotland so she can be closer to her father. Added benefit to me being that my best friend is in Scotland and I’ve had a country crush on it since I was a teenager too!

    • Oh, I’m not entirely sure and it feels like much will change about immigration to the UK/to Scotland in the near future… I’d recommend to have a look for options here, https://www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration. I don’t have any US American friends who immigrated to Scotland permanently, I’m afraid. One friend of mine was here on an entrepreneurial visa, but just returned home to the States. I’m sure there is a way though, especially since your daughter has a European passport! Sorry I can’t be of more help!

  13. Judith Anderson

    I visited Scotland in 2015 and loved it. USA here. The biggest threat to our society now is the massive social spending in our budget right now. It is the single largest part of our federal budget and is driving our national debt. The key to resolving this issue is to educate our people to become more responsible for ourselves and less dependent on the public dole. As a single mother of two I worked and paid my own way. Two higher education degrees for which I paid for by student loans for the first one and working full time for the last one. The greatest lesson learned from my parents was you are responsible for you.

  14. Linda R. Atkins

    Tell me more about living in Scotland!!! It is the land of my ancestors- (Morrison’s for one) and I have visited once. I now live in Michigan,USA , where the economy is bad, property taxes are high,health care is really high–I pay over $2000.(US dollars) per year just for my medicines, and that doesn’t count Dr. visits and all other fees for care. I do love America, but am having a really hard time living on my social security. I am 74 years old, widowed, and would love to hear more!!!

    • Hi Linda, thanks for your comment! I can’t really help with official info – seeing that I have a EU passport my knowledge of applying for visas is very limited – but there is something called UK Ancestry Visa that might be worth looking into: https://www.gov.uk/ancestry-visa. The same counts for coming here as a pensioner – all I know is that when you work here and pay your taxes (which are fairly low) you get access to the NHS health care system which covers a lot of costs for doctor visits, medicines and emergencies. What I do know though is that Scotland is a fantastic place to live in. Once you get accustomed to the climate, especially along the west coast… There are loads of little peaceful seaside towns, but also great cities with loads of cultural stuff happening. People are really friendly and proud to tell you more about their country. I find the cost of living average to low, especially because I feel that the quality of life is very high in Glasgow, there is lots to do and I don’t ever get bored. Do you know where your ancestors were from? Or do you have a place in mind where you’d like to go?

  15. I agree with Judy – free comes with a cost – to those taxpayers paying! If you really want to live in a country that welcomes all, try Canada. It’s the best place to live.

    • Canadians pay a lot of taxes as well though. What I find disturbing is how ‘our’ European taxes are demonised by so many Americans, while the majority of the taxes they pay to their government is used to finance the military. Very simplified this means that ‘we’ pay taxes and get services in return – some need more, some need less – and the Americans pay taxes, get war in return and have to pay additional fees for education, health care etc. This doesn’t make sense to me…

      • Hi Kathi,

        Great write up on living in an amazing country. We’ve visited Scotland 4 times and will be going for a fifth trip next summer.

        Reading your comment that “the majority of the taxes they (Americans, my comment) pay to their government is used to finance the military.” highlights a common misconception people have about the US budget. The money budgeted for US national defense is only the third or fourth biggest slice of the budget pie, depending on if you group veteran’s benefits in with it.

        The largest budget item, by far, of the US budget is Social Security, followed by spending on healthcare. The data is from the US government website: https://www.whitehouse.gov/interactive-budget

  16. Love this article. Must say thought that reason 11 (or maybe 1) for me is: Men in Kilts! There is something quite sexy about a man in a Kilt. The Scots are so much fun, so witty, as if being cold in the cold weather of the north gives plenty of time for great stories along with the hard work. Its a beautiful land, with beautiful people. Did I mention the men in Kilts!?

    • I know, aren’t they?!? I’ve been waiting to see my Scottish partner in a kilt since day 1 and next week it’s finally the time, as we’re invited to a wedding and its traditional wedding attire <3

  17. Judy Domingues

    Sad to read this article to see all the people who want everything in their life for free. Working for things like education, medical care, food, rent, and everything else in our lives give us character and responsibility for our own lives and not a mooch off of other people. What is going to happen to you people when you run out of other people’s money and government can not give you free stuff? Free enterprise and capitalism is the only way to progress not socialism and communism like you have been brought up in. That is why people of Brexit voted to get out because they are tired of paying for people like you who wants everything free and to be controlled by people that they never voted to be put in office. These people are call the elite, they get wealthy while everybody else is controlled and kept poor. So, in college did you study women studies instead of an economic course to learn why Scotland is not growing economically? What do you think the ancestors of Scotland would think of this kind of lifestyle when they took care of their owns needs? Become is true citizen of Scotland and get a real job.
    PS. What is going to happen when your woofing , or whatever you call it, when the government comes in and wants to tax it and regulate it? They eventually get their hands into everything to control it.

    • Hi Judy, first of all, thanks for taking the time to comment! I see young people having the opportunity to study for four years (undergraduate) while others (e.g. in the US) pile up thousands of thousands of dollars of debt which they spend the rest of their lives paying off – that is if they are part of the elite who is eligible for loans. I prefer the former, and am happy to contribute to the social democracy that enables this with my tax money. I do not believe in capitalism as the way forward at all – I think it is the beginning of the end. We have to agree to disagree here. And by the way, I am a postgraduate student who faces very real university fees and I have always worked to finance my studies, sometimes several jobs. My PhD is the first instance where I get a scholarship and I worked very hard for that. I don’t want everything for free, but I want to live in a country where people have the opportunity to access education and healthcare regardless of their financial situation because both are necessary to build a healthy society. And I certainly don’t want to live with a government that was not voted into office because that is not my understanding of democracy. I’d happily see another General Election in the UK soon, if that’s what you mean. Not that I’m allowed to vote in it.

      PS: Wwoofing has existed since 1971 in 100 countries. If the governments of these 100 countries decide to tax the exchange of help and favours, it’s just a sign of how far we’ve spiraled down in our crazy money-driven world. People have to be allowed to help each other for free.

    • Judy, I really had to respond to your comments about everything being free. You talk about free enterprise and capitalism being the answer. I have to disagree with you because capitalism has ruined our world. We have a small bunch of insanely rich organisations and individuals who have a huge amount of influence and power. They want us to borrow to buy our education, to buy our houses, our cars, our lifestyles – because if we borrow we have to pay it back so we are on the endless treadmill of working to earn a meagre crust to pay our loans and make ends meet. I am so proud that Scotland provides free health care and education it allows us to be equal and it also allows our children to choose what they want to do not what the capitalists demand of them.

  18. Benedikte

    This was so fun to read! I’m Norwegian, have wanted to visit Scotland for ages, and are currently planning on taking my masters degree there next year. Preferably Glasgow 🙂 Can’t wait!

    • Love Glasgow – I’m doing my phd at the university of Glasgow! What are you thinking of studying there? 🙂

  19. What a lovely piece! I’ve just returned to Scotland after 17 months of travel. You are right, we do have nature at our backdoor (I do literally, there is a loch!) Shame about the weather though…

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  21. Thank you for this great shout out for Scotland. Not that I’m Scottish, it’s just that’s really nice to read such a positive post about living in a country.
    I knew that taxes were high in Germany & Austria but I thought that covered full medical insurance. Strange that you would still have to pay so much for an ambulance.
    That said, it’s still a whole lot better than in the US. When we were traveling there, we once had to take one of the kids to the ER. Four hours of observation + blood tests cost more than $2K! Fortunately our insurance covered it.

    • Hi Anne, thanks for your comment!

      Oh dear, 2K for that… I once paid 200USD for a US doctor to look at a rash on my skin for one minute and prescribe me cortisone cream and antihistamine – it’s crazy! Sadly, the full medical insurance is different in each country, and sometimes it comes down to the specific person you’re dealing with. In regards to said ambulance transport my insurance guy first said ‘we’re not paying a taxi ride to the hospital’, completely ignoring that I was actually hit by a car and fell on my head… insurance people are terrible, anywhere in the world…

      Anyways, I’m glad you enjoyed the article! Hope you get to visit Scotland for yourself one day! 🙂

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