Internships Abroad in Scotland

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A Guide to Interning Abroad in Scotland

Welcome to Scotland, where your dreams of owning a 16th-century castle can come true. This northern country is part of the United Kingdom, but has a long history of fighting for independence after being taken over by the Vikings and beating a Roman invasion. Scotland is home to the legendary Loch Ness Monster, pesky midges nobody adores, and enchanted fairy glens. Also, their official national animal is a unicorn; how much more magical can things get? Throw on yer tartans and get ready to fall head-over-kilt in love with internships in Scotland.


Whether you prefer majestic highlands or modern cities that collide with renaissance history, Scotland is a small but mighty country with plenty to offer. From the bustling towns that serve as economic hubs in the south to the charming villages off moody coastlines in the north, there is something for the intern inside all of you.

Don't let ghost stories in underground tunnels scare you away from Scotland's capital. In the 19th century, Edinburgh's economy was known for banking and brewing. Nowadays, the economic focus has shifted toward scientific research and tourism, and the city boasts the second-strongest economy in the UK. Interns can unclog their arteries after trying the infamous deep-fried Mars Bar by climbing Arthur's Seat, an extinct volcano with a 180-degree view of the city. Universities are spread across Old and New Town, which together are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Edinburgh explodes with international visitors every August during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and again in December for Hogmanay (New Year’s).

William Wallace crying out, “FREEDOM!” in Braveheart will be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Stirling. The tiny town is Scotland's heritage capital, ruled by three centuries of monarchs. Home to the National Wallace Monument and famous battle sites where the Wars of Independence were fought and won. Interns can climb 246 steps to the top of the monument or explore Stirling castle, a gorgeous site that stands over the Forth bridges to Loch Lomond. The heritage mile connects Stirling's Old town with the modern city centre, where history buffs and artsy types will be left equally in awe.

If you want to cuddle with a hairy cue (highland cow), the rural areas of Scotland are the place to be. Ballach will bring nature lovers closer to the south-west shores of Loch Lomand and Trossachs National Park, and Greenock is a historic industrial town by the Firth of Clyde, only 25 miles west of Glasgow. Both offer plenty of excursions between internship duties, so be sure to pack a pair of (waterproof) hiking boots!

Internships in Scotland

Scotland’s shipbuilding industry placed the country on the map in the early 20th century. Since then, Scotland’s economy has become widely diverse and internship opportunities are more abundant than the country’s supply of whisky. Read on and you’ll be setting sail for Scotland in record time!

Internships in Scotland are most popular in major city centres, where there is a focus on economics, specifically in retail and banking. It won't exactly be like working in Diagon Alley, but you'll be surrounded by so many historical wonders and mythical tales you might secretly start to feel like a wizard in Scotland’s world of business.

Nessie has kept tourism afloat in Loch Ness, and Edinburgh's festivals draw a fair crowd as well. Internships in Scotland in the tourism industry will never get boring, with so many cultural and historical attractions around the country. Those who decide to intern in hospitality will find themselves proving to tourists that Scotland is more than bagpipes and golf courses. You might even score a hole-in-one (aka. a job offer!) once your internship in Scotland is in full swing.

The surreal natural landscapes formed 10,000 years ago during the last glacial age will keep interns who are interested in environmental studies memorized by the deep lochs and rugged coastal areas. Ever wonder if haggis is worth more than a wee bite? With more sheep than people, interns will find good opportunities to intern in agriculture in Scotland, which means this mystery can finally be solved.

Some internships in Scotland require participants to have previous experience or qualifications, such as a bachelor's degree or work experience in a related industry. But hardworking interns driven to make an impact will stand much taller than Ben Nevis, the highest point in Scotland. Interns set to impress their collages should be punctual, dress conservatively, and avoid talking very loud in the workplace. However, do prepare yourself to laugh harder than ever at clever Scottish banter during tea breaks.

Salary & Costs

While interning in this northern paradise comes with a mentionable price tag, the top-notch experiences and professional connections you make will be worth the initial investment. Save up a few pennies, then plunge into this professional endeavor with determination and get ready for future rewards!

It’s true: day-to-day life in Scotland can be expensive. A casual dinner in a major city in Scotland will typically cost about $15, and your morning cappuccino will cost about $3.50. As far as rent goes, getting a place outside of the city centre will cost upward of $800, while in the city centre is often over $1,000.

Although smaller towns and villages are more affordable than bigger cities, accommodations and other essentials will be more costly than you may be used to in Scotland. Your expenses will be dependent on your lifestyle preferences and if certain expenses are included in your program fee. Check with your internship placement provider before you arrive to see if they cover accommodation, food, and transportation.

Most internships in Scotland offer incredible experiences, but, are unfortunately, unpaid. As the Scots say, “Mony a mickle maks a muckle.” Meaning, look after the pennies and the dollars look after themselves. Before you go breaking into the vaults of Gringotts to afford interning in Scotland, talk to your internship provider about financial aid options or check out FundMyTravel for some solo promoting of the cause.

Accommodation & Visas

It might take you a while to save up for that 16th-century castle, but you can find many accommodation options to store your throne in the meantime. Most internships in Scotland last between a couple of months to a year, so it’s possible to find accommodation for both short-term and long-term opportunities.

Interns in Scotland usually choose to live in flats (apartments or condos) within the nation’s major cities. It is possible to rent a small house or flat in smaller towns for a more affordable price. However, most internships are found in cities, and while commuting in Scotland is fairly easy, the time it takes to travel could be significant. Dorm rooms are offered through university programs and worth considering for interns who prefer a more social atmosphere.

International visitors who wish to work in the UK, and not part of the European Economic Area (EEA), must have a work visa to do any paid or unpaid work. Before being granted a work visa, applicants need to be sponsored and show proof of hiring from a UK company. There are three types of visas, all with specific eligibility and application requirements. Check out GoAbroad’s embassy directory for up-to-date information on the visa process.

Benefits & Challenges

Timeless Scotland. From the rugged coasts to the awe-inspiring castles, you’ll discover parts of Scotland that feel like they’ve been frozen in time. Whether you’re getting lost down narrow alleyways in Edinburgh or watching the sunset amid neolithic ruins, Scotland’s deep history and natural landscape is sure take up a lot of space in your heart and on your camera’s memory card.

Weel-kent Words. Otherwise known as well-known words, the lingo in Scotland can be tricky to understand. Google Translator won’t be able to assist you in deciphering those heavy accents from the far north. Not to worry though, the Scottish are lovely people and have uncanny senses of humour. Before you say to them, “Yer bum’s oot the windae,” meaning, you’re talking nonsense, learn to approach Scottish slang with patience and a dash of humour. Soon you’ll have plenty of mukkers (friends) to pick up the lingo from and understand your workmates.

There’s a good reason Scotland has been fought over for many centuries. You’ll find yourself never wanting to leave this stunning country as you win victories in your own field and achieve your own independence in the process. No matter which road you decide to take, there's no wrong direction to travel in during your internship abroad in Scotland.

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A Guide To
Interning Abroad in Scotland


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