Population: 5.1 million
Capital City: Edinburgh
Time Difference: Scotland is +1 GMT, so it is 5 hours ahead of the east coast and 8 hours ahead of the west coast.
National Animal: Red Lion
National Anthem: Flower of Scotland (unofficial)
National Flower: Thistle
National Food: Haggis
Geography: Located in the northern third of Great Britain, Scotland is roughly the size of Maine. In the Northern Highlands and Islands region you will find mountainous terrain and over 790 islands. The Central Lowlands are home to the majority of the Scottish populations. The Southern Uplands contain miles of green, rolling hills and in them lays the UK’s highest village, Wanlockhead (1,411 ft above sea level). The Gulf Stream from the Atlantic Ocean keeps the climate mild throughout Scotland. Although rainfall varies within the country, the west coast tends to be wetter, but also has warmer summer weather. The east coast will have a cooler and drier climate with minimal snowfall at the lower elevations in towns like Stirling and Edinburgh, making them ideal study locations!
Important Holidays: If your timing is fortunate enough to experience a Scottish holiday, you will certainly be in for a treat! Hogmanay, or New Year’s Eve, is considered by some Scotts to be more important than Christmas. Celebrating takes place throughout the night and when the church bells ring at midnight, everyone sings Auld Lang Syne. On May 1st, Beltane’s Day is celebrated with the lighting of fires, originating from the ancient belief that the burning would help the crops to grow. The strong influence of the Catholic Church has led to a holiday on November 30 devoted to the country’s patron saint, St. Andrew. The day marks the beginning of the Christmas markets throughout the country.
Famous People: John Logie Baird (inventor of the television), Robert Burns (composer), KT Tunstall (singer), James Mathew Barrie (author of Peter Pan), and Gerard Butler (actor).
Great Movies: The 39 Steps; Braveheart; Trainspotting; Rob Roy; Highlander; Comfort and Joy; Gregory’s Girl.