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How to Act Like Scottish Local

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If you want to immerse yourself in Scottish culture, pick up some of the lingo and try our delicious local specialities. Try our hints and tips to make sure you act like a local during your Summer School experience!


Essential Phrases

“Ta, pal” = thanks, mate

“Haud yer wheesht” - hush

“Driech” - grey, rainy, miserable. Not what you want from summer.

“Blether” - chat

“Juice” - not fruit juice as you might expect, but a fizzy drink - usually Irn Bru.

“Braw” - Great. Exactly what we hope your experience with Summer School will be!


Eat Scottish

We’re not encouraging you to eat unhealthily, but when in Scotland…

Edinburgh has some incredible restaurants, but sometimes you just have to try the cheaper end of the food options. There’s only one rule - if you’re ordering from the chip shop, you have to have your food with salt and sauce (especially if it’s a fried pizza supper). The exception is with dessert - this is the city who gave the world the battered mars bar, after all.

If you do want something more traditionally Scottish - or at least less likely to raise your cholesterol - then haggis, neeps and tatties can be bought almost everywhere.


On the Rocks

Forget calling it ‘scotch’ - whisky made in Scotland is just called whisky up here. If it’s made anywhere else, we just don’t acknowledge it. Called uisge beatha or ‘water of life’ in Gaelic, which suggests how seriously we take our national drink, there are six main different types, based on where they’re distilled:

  • Highland
  • Island
  • Speyside
  • Islay (distilled on the island of Islay, the centre of whisky tourism in Scotland)
  • Lowland
  • Campbelltown

If you’re not a whisky fan, Edinburgh also has a burgeoning microbrewery and gin scene - or if you want a soft drink then good old Irn Bru will be available wherever you go. Just don’t ask what actually in it.


East vs West

Although it hurts us to admit it, Edinburgh isn’t the only city in Scotland. Glasgow, despite the obvious pitfall of not being, well, Edinburgh, makes for an excellent day trip if you need to get away from the Summer School festival crowds, brewery smell and overpriced drinks that fills out fair city in August. With its own rich cultural history, you can spend hours in museums and art galleries - we might even be persuaded to agree that Glasgow has better shopping. Just make sure that you come back.


Edinburgh is a fantastic place to spend your summer! To find out more about the University of Edinburgh Summer School, visit our Courses page to see what's available in 2019. Visit Courses page >