7 reasons to study in Glasgow

02 Jul 2021
By Unite Students, Staff writer at The Common Room

Home to three universities, a wealth of history and culture, and a modern, cosmopolitan feel, Scotland’s largest city is a fantastic choice for prospective students. Read on to find out why you should study in this award-winning city.

1. Its friendly, welcoming atmosphere

Glasgow is well known for its welcoming atmosphere and has twice been voted the world’s friendliest city, in 2014 and 2021, by Rough Guides readers, reflecting the warm hospitality the city has become famous for. Every year, Glasgow accommodates over 50,000 full-time students, which means the city is awash with different cultures, backgrounds and history, all ready to welcome you with open arms.

It’s also a city proud of its uniquely Scottish culture, from bagpipes and kilts to the Glasgow International Comedy Festival, one of the largest comedy festivals in Europe, and acclaimed comedians like Billy Connolly and Frankie Boyle.

2. Glasgow’s fantastic choice of universities

Scotland’s biggest city is home to three universities, the University of Glasgow, the University of Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian University, while the Paisley campus of the University of the West of Scotland is within 10 miles of Glasgow’s centre.

The University of Glasgow is the fourth oldest in the English-speaking world and a member of the Russell Group and Universitas 21. It regularly ranks among the top 20 in various league tables and lists James Watt, Nicola Sturgeon and Emeli Sandé as alumni. The University of Strathclyde is the first institution to be named University of the Year twice by Times Higher Education, in both 2012 and 2019, while Glasgow Caledonian University boast internationally renowned research and the award-winning Sir Alex Ferguson Library.

With hundreds of courses available across the city’s universities, as well as the nearby University of the West of Scotland campus, there really is something for every student in Glasgow.

3. Its amazing art, history and culture

A former European Capital of Culture, Glasgow is a beautiful city with a rich history. Its plethora of cultural sites and stunning architecture is crowned by the Mitchell Library, one of the biggest in Europe with over 1.3 million items. We’ve already mentioned its Scottish heritage, but Glasgow is also home to the Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet, National Theatre of Scotland and Royal Scottish National Orchestra, so, whatever floats your cultural boat, Glasgow has it!

Glasgow also houses some fantastic museums, from the grandiose buildings of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and the Gallery of Modern Art, all the way through to the strikingly modern architecture of the Riverside Museum and the Glasgow Science Centre.

4. An incredible music scene

Glasgow was the third city in the world to be named a UNESCO City of Music, reflecting its “legendary music scene that stretches across the whole spectrum from contemporary and classical to Celtic and country”. Students looking to experience this extremely wide and diverse variety of genres can take in live music at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, the SSE Hydro arena and everywhere in between.

King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut is an iconic, 300-capacity live music venue that has been named Best UK Live Venue by Radio 1 and is where Oasis were discovered and signed to a label. Other bands that have played gigs at this student favourite early in their careers include Biffy Clyro, White Stripes and Franz Ferdinand. So, whether its operas and classical music, or discovering the world’s best up and coming bands, Glasgow has something to suit every taste.

5. The city’s food, shopping and nightlife

When you want to unwind from the rigours of studying, Glasgow has an incredible food scene to rival that of any major city. Its historic pubs, with craft ales and roaring fires, host regular live music and friendly locals, while the city boasts Michelin standard restaurants of just about every cuisine imaginable. Scottish produce is well regarded as being among the best in the world, while PETA named Glasgow the UK’s most vegan-friendly city in 2013.

If it’s retail therapy you’re after, Glasgow’s shops rival those of London, with its ‘Style Mile’ providing a veritable treat for fashion-conscious students – even if you’re only window shopping! Glasgow’s nightlife gives you a chance to don your newly bought glad rags and really let your hair down, with everything from trendy cocktail bars to Scotland’s biggest nightclub, The Garage, which plays chart, R&B, cheese, indie and rock music throughout its different rooms.

6. Its passion for sport

We couldn’t discuss Glasgow without mentioning its passion for sport; it’s the home of the biggest rivalry in football, the Old Firm derby, and Hampden Park, the Scottish national football team’s stadium. While the fiery games between Celtic and Rangers provide the highlight of the sporting calendar in Glasgow, its sport scene has much more than just football to offer.

The city was named European Capital of Sport in 2003, as well as hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games. It’s also home to professional rugby union, speedway and basketball teams, the Glasgow Warriors, Tigers and Rocks respectively. If all that wasn’t enough, the Scottish Boat Race pits the University of Glasgow against the University of Edinburgh every year on the River Clyde in Glasgow, in the world’s third-oldest university boat race.

7. Glasgow’s ideal location

Glasgow is ideally located to explore more of the beauty and culture that Scotland has to offer. A direct train to the capital city of Edinburgh takes less than an hour, giving you access to the county’s second-largest city, its historic castle and stunning Old Town. A little further afield, Aberdeen to the north and Newcastle to the south are also both easily accessible by train for days out exploring different cities.

If a city getaway isn’t quite your cup of tea, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park is also on Glasgow’s doorstep, providing 720 square miles of delightful forests, mountains and lakes (or lochs!) to hike, cycle and kayak in. So, when you need a break from all that studying, why not explore the stunning natural beauty that Scotland is so famous for?

So, there you have it, Unite Students’ top 7 reasons to study in the incredible city of Glasgow. Its friendly, cosmopolitan atmosphere, combined with its amazing culture, sport and choice of universities make it an ideal choice for prospective students. You can use our Glasgow hub to find out more about the city, or browse our accommodation in the city here.

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Staff writer at The Common Room