Though Glasgow is not the capital city of Scotland, it is, nonetheless, its largest-and arguably its most important. Home to 600,000 residents (they're known as Glaswegians), it is the commercial center of Scotland, and the second largest retail center in the United Kingdom, after London, of course. Its central location in the country makes it easily accessible, a bonus for anyone planning on visiting or studying there.
Every year, more than 3 million tourists visit Glasgow, and the variety of activities they engage in is truly astounding. From wandering the streets and admiring the Victorian-era architecture to spending the day in some of the city's excellent museums and galleries, including '[t]he magnificent Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum in Kelvingrove, which houses the city's principal collection of paintings, and is Scotland's most frequently visited free attraction; [t]he Transport Museum, with its ever popular collection of Glasgow Trams, locomotives, [and] an exact reconstruction of a 1930's Glasgow street...St Mungo's Museum of Religious Life and Art, the UK's only museum celebrating the world's many religions; [and the] Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art, a brand new gallery set in the refurbished Stirling's Library, and housing the city's principal modern art collection,' among many others. Glasgow is, indeed, a world-class city when it comes to its respect for and history in the arts.
It's history 'stretches back almost two thousand years and has been rich and varied.
Originally a small salmon-fishing village at a crossing point on the River Clyde, Glasgow has been shaped by battles, world wide trade and heavy industry to become a truly international city.' Like many cities in the U.K. and continental Europe, it was founded by a missionary, but over the years, through battles and vast changes in the nature of its character, Glasgow has become a classic example of secular success. Both its religious origins and its eventual secular nature ultimately led to its becoming a world-renowned university city in 1451, when 'Glasgow University was originally built in the High Street area of the city, but was moved to its present site in Glasgow's West end in 1870.'
Today, however, it is the beneficiary of one of the most extraordinary urban renaissances in modern history. In the 1980's and 1990's, Glasgow underwent a change of nearly epic proportions that brought it out of its industrial slump and into the bright light of its exciting present. Glasgow is now one of the best cities in the entire U.K. for young people to live, study, and work. Its combination of nightlife, cultural institutions, and wonderful restaurants and pubs has made it quite more than attractive to people from all over the world.
Studying in Glasgow becomes just as much an international experience as it is a Scottish one. The city's prevalence of institutions of higher education, including the University of Glasgow, the University of Strathclyde, the Glasgow School of Art, and Glasgow Caledonian University, are just some of the schools that attract students from all over Scotland, the United Kingdom, and the world.
At its heart, though, spending a semester or a year in Glasgow is bound to be transformative in the way that only studying in the United Kingdom can be. From its rich history, the vast influence it has had on the world (the economist Adam Smith was born there, for example), and its exciting present, living and studying in Glasgow is sure to be one of the best things you will ever do as a student-and beyond.