The United Kingdom has become the second most popular destination for international students, right after the United States. It hosts 10% of international students and there are a number of reasons why so many of them choose the United Kingdom to do their degree. The country is not only home to some of the oldest and most esteemed universities, but they have also made an effort to welcome more and more international students into their institutions in recent years.
Some of the best universities in the world
It is no secret that places like the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge are some of the best higher education institutions in the world. Ranking in the top ten of best universities, they are quickly followed by University College London (UCL) and Imperial College in London, and Edinburgh University in Scotland. Rankings aside, these are institutions with hundreds of years of tradition and having a degree from one of them opens a lot of doors. Not to mention, studying in some of them often feels like being a Hogwarts student. Indeed, some of the scenes in the movies were filmed at Oxford campus. Although not a filming location, University of Glasgow is the one often called Hogwarts by the students and visiting tourists due to its architecture.
Best place to practice your English as a non-native
If you are a non-native English speaker, there is no better place to practice your English than in the cradle of the language, which is the UK. Between the coursework and your day to day life, there are countless opportunities to practice. The variety of the accents, from London to Newcastle, Scotland and Northern Ireland is astonishing and it is great fun to meet people from different places and hear how they speak. And at any British university you are guaranteed to meet people from all around the country.
What’s in it for you if you are a native English speaker?
If you come from an English-speaking country, such as the United States or Australia, don’t think it will be boring because you know the language. The educational system is very different and it will still be a wonderful adventure in a foreign country. The cultural differences are huge and even though you might speak English, be prepared to have some difficulties with understanding people in places like Scotland or Wales
Low or free tuition
Great Britain offers lower tuition than many other countries, especially the United States. In some cases, such as universities in Scotland for home and EU students, the undergraduate degree is even free. In England and Wales tuition fees are around £9000, or higher if you’re studying medicine or something similar. Masters degrees only take a year and are also considerably cheaper than in other places. On top of that, there is a wide variety of loans and scholarship available to home, EU and international students. In England, have a look at Student Finance England , Northern Ireland- Student Finance NI and in Scotland at SAAS to see what kind of help you can receive.
Easy to combine studying with work
International students are usually permitted to work up to 20 hours a week, with EU students having no limitations in that regard. The UK education system also makes it easier to combine studying with work, as there is considerably less teaching hours than in other European countries. This allows you to easily hold a part-time job and still have time for studying on your own. Here is more on how to combine university with a part-time job.
As I mentioned before, 10% of world international students study in the UK. All British universities have a huge international community and it makes you feel very welcome and comfortable as a foreign student. At my university there are a number of clubs and societies for international students and a wide variety of events organized for us to have a great time at university.
One of the most important cities in the world
London is one of the financial and cultural capitals of the world and whether you study there, or somewhere else in the UK, you have easy access to that gateway to the world. As a place where cultures from all around the world mix, a host to an infinite number of events and a world heritage city, London is truly a unique place to study or visit.