Old Aberdeen – not to be confused with just plain Aberdeen, of which I shared some photos a few days ago – is a formerly independent town that is now part of the city of Aberdeen. Though nowadays, Old Aberdeen is less of an actual town and more of a big university campus, since it houses the main campus of the University of Aberdeen.
As university towns and campuses go, Old Aberdeen is strangely devoid of pubs, bars, cafés, shops, indeed any sort of commercial life, though they did have a Blackwell’s shop. When I wanted a cup of tea, I had to go into the university cafeteria. The students were some of the most conservative looking I’ve ever seen in the UK (or elsewhere for that matter), too. Several wore blazers with the university logo, for goodness sake.
Now different universities do tend to attract a different sort of student. For example, the students at the University of Vechta, where I taught for a while, were a much more conservative bunch than those at the University of Bremen, where I studied (which fits in with the fact that Vechta is smaller, rural and Catholic). In Vechta, punk or goth styles were a rare sight, in Bremen they were common. The Vechta students often seemed so nice and harmless (among others, I taught first semester undergraduates) that I was scared I’d shock them when discussing e.g. vulgarisms in a linguistics class. But compared to the students I saw in Aberdeen, the kids in Vechta were positively adventurous. It was kind of puzzling, really, particularly since British students, particularly the female ones, tend to dress more extremely than their German counterparts (which frequently leads to culture shock among German exchange students). It can’t be cultural differences between England and Scotland either, since students elsewhere in Scotland (e.g. Edinburgh) look a lot more like the British norm.
Coincidentally, the drunken young people and scantily clad women that tend to invade British (and Irish) city centres on the weekend were also conspicuously absent in Aberdeen. I saw a few, but far less than elsewhere.
And now some photos, not of students, but of buildings: