If you want to study abroad, it’s definitely a “smashing” idea, as the British would say, to go to the United Kingdom, which is a melting pot of cultures.
Over 100 universities and other higher education institutions are available to international students in the United Kingdom.
The UK (England) welcomes 485,000 international students pursuing their degrees, according to figures from the Higher Education Statistical Agency (HESA).
Non-EU nations account for 342,000, including 120,000 from China, 26,000 from India, and 20,000 from the United States.
University College London, the University of Manchester, and the University of Edinburgh are the UK universities with the most international students.
Business and administrative studies, social studies, medical and related studies, and creative arts are the most popular disciplines.
How the United Kingdom is Tackling COVID
- Online tuition and alternate test arrangements are becoming more common in universities and colleges.
- At educational institutions, staff assistance is provided.
- University support personnel work to alleviate health concerns regarding students living in communal housing.
- They will guarantee that alternate lodging is available.
- Future students can contact their university for information about the #WeAreTogether initiative, which was created to reassure international students.
Student life in the United Kingdom for international students
Campuses in the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland) are secure, although care should be taken.
Attend a police safety presentation during Orientation Week; stroll or travel late at night in groups; choose well-lit streets and avoid nighttime shortcuts; use ATMs during the day and never write down your PIN.
A degree from one of the UK’s universities, which date back to Oxford (1096) and Cambridge (1209), would put you in excellent stead for career possibilities all around the world.
In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, most undergraduate programmes last three years (four years for a foundation degree). The standard in Scotland is four years.
Because the programmes are shorter (albeit still rigors), the cost to the student is cheaper than in other nations, and the student is better prepared for work sooner.
Applying to study at a UK university is a very straightforward procedure. The first step is to narrow down your options for programmes, schools, and universities, then research them to determine whether you fit the requirements.
The second step is to register and apply for undergraduate programmes using the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) website (for deadlines, see the UCAS website) – you may apply to all universities/colleges through the UCAS website for undergraduate courses (graduate courses have their own specific requirements and application processes).
After that, you accept any university offer, arrange for finance, and apply for a visa.
For international students, the grading system might be perplexing. A first class requires 70% of the marks, an upper second class requires 66-69 percent (which is usually the eligibility for graduate school), a lower second class requires 50-59 percent, a third class requires 45-49 percent, and an ordinary degree requires 40-44 percent (the minimum required for a pass).
Undergraduate students in the United Kingdom often attend courses for 15 to 25 hours a week, during which time they are encouraged to be creative and interactive during discussions, analyse issues independently, and build teamwork skills on their projects.
Almost every assignment or project must be completed, and students must strike a balance between their academics and their leisure activities.
Some professors allow their students to address them by their first names, which encourages critical thinking and self-learning.
Life on campus
Campus organisations and clubs that span a wide range of interests and hobbies, as well as drinking tea or having a pint at a bar, are all part of the UK university culture.
From hip-hop to opera, the UK is a hotbed of international music, with big-name artists and bands performing on university campuses.
Punting is a unique Oxford and Cambridge University activity in which you use a flat-bottomed boat to propel oneself down a river by pushing a pole down the riverbed.
The universities with the best campus, according to Times Higher Education surveys, are Loughborough University (library, spa, sports facilities), Exeter (quality accommodation, huge digital library), Lancaster (shops, bars, jazz concerts), Dundee (cheap and cosy), Edge Hill (location in Cambridge, great housing), Sheffield (urban campus, art galleries), Buckingham (landscape), and St. Andrews (breathtaking scenery) (libraries, music venues). Newcastle, Leeds, and Dundee are other fantastic places to go out at night.
You should evaluate the quality of a campus based on four factors: social life (are there clubs or art venues? ), community vibe (who will be your college roommates? ), extracurriculars (sports facilities, competitions? ), and campus environment (is it near a city, is it safe, is it beautiful?).
When you arrive
You’ll need a bank account to register for university, so get one before you go. The time it takes to open an account is between seven and 10 days. Make sure you have adequate money for the first few weeks.
Before you can start your trip to your dreams, you must first get past the red tape.
International students have a lot of paperwork to deal with, including numerous applications, financial aid papers, and health insurance documents (students are eligible for free medical assistance and subsidised dental and optical treatment through the NHS after paying a surcharge).
International student officers and counselling services at your university can assist you.
Save the Student (STS) may also help with financial issues, housing, food, student loans, and scholarships and awards.
Look for groups for international students at your university on Facebook. This is something you can do even before you arrive.
International Student Pathfinder, a book published by a Ugandan Cardiff graduate, is a useful reference for international students.
You should become acquainted with your city’s public transportation system, particularly if you live in leased housing distance from the university.
Larger cities, such as London, may have extra transportation options, such as the Metro. To save money on transportation, see whether you can afford a yearly pass.
In London, the Oyster card or Travelcard may be used on all types of public transportation. Oyster is less expensive, but depending on how frequently you commute, Travelcard may be a better alternative.
If you enjoy biking, it is also a fantastic alternative for the environment and your fitness.
Low humidity, pleasant summers, and moderate winters characterise the UK climate, which includes sunlight and heat waves, rain, and snowfall. It is frequently chilly and rainy, so bring plenty of warm clothing and a raincoat.
Summer isn’t always hot. Summers are marked by long, bright days, while winters are marked by chilly, short days.
The people have a strong sense of justice and uphold the rule of law. They have a nuanced and sardonic sense of humour that is not always easily grasped by non-native speakers.
Even if you know a lot about the United Kingdom, you may be concerned that you will not fit into its social and intellectual culture. What if you don’t succeed in making friends?
There are a few options for getting out of your predicament:
- Speak with other international students who are likely in a similar situation.
- Take a few souvenirs from India to help you feel at ease.
- Establish an effort to talk to other students and make friends, even if it is tough at first.
- Join student clubs to mingle, and discuss your problems with your mentor/tutor.
- Learn to say thank you and sorry in a courteous manner.
- Be on time, as being late is considered impolite.
- Stick to the waiting system.
- If you’ve been asked to a party, bring a modest gift and send a follow-up invitation.
- Although there is a prevalent drinking culture among students, they do not feel obligated to drink.
- It is illegal to smoke in public areas.
- Discriminate against anybody based on their gender, age, social status, or handicap.
- Traveling is an excellent method to become acquainted with a new country’s culture. Take a bus or train to see the many cities, towns, and rural areas.
For the best prices, get your tickets in advance. Coaches are less expensive than trains, but they are only half as fast.
You may also go on a walking tour or use ferries or trams.
Students get to go touring and explore places like the Lake District and the Yorkshire Moors, the Scottish and Welsh highlands and mountains, the UK’s coastline, World Heritage Sites like Stonehenge, and Shakespeare’s birthplace.
In addition to get-togethers and festival celebrations, clubs organise visits to these locations.
Freshman’s Week is held at universities to help break the ice. There are also traditional museums and modern art galleries to visit.
Many students throw parties or attend them, but there are also bars and restaurants, concert halls, music and theatre festivals, and other cultural activities to consider.
Sports and fitness centres can be found in local governments, institutions, and private groups. You can also take part in organised sports, some of which are held as part of philanthropic events such as the London Marathon.
Cities in the United Kingdom are well-served by public transportation, so there’s no need for a car, especially for students. However, if you feel compelled to purchase a car, keep in mind the associated expenditures, such as gasoline and upkeep.
You can drive in Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales, except Northern Ireland) for 12 months if you’re a foreign student with a non-EU driver’s licence.
If you are discovered driving without a valid driver’s licence, insurance, or vehicle fitness certificate, your student visa may be affected.
Cuisine and food
Students can, of course, prepare for themselves and maintain their familiarity with food.
Because of the country’s diversity, there are supermarkets and smaller grocery stores where produce and supplies from a variety of nations are available.
There are also meals and cuisines from all around the world accessible. Ingredients from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and other parts of the world are available in supermarkets, as is organic produce, as the British are becoming more health-conscious.
The English breakfast, like fish and chips, is famous all over the world.
Some international students may find British curries to be “bland,” and even the popular Indian curries are significantly softer on the tongue.
Meat, potatoes, and other vegetables make up the majority of British cuisine. Before you leave home, it’s a good idea to learn to make at least a few simple foods, as relying on restaurants and fast-food places isn’t always a smart choice.
However, eating out is popular, and restaurants provide a wide range of cuisines, with some providing student discounts. To create some excellent acquaintances, it’s a wonderful idea to cook and share a great traditional dinner.
Moderate alcohol consumption is not considered taboo, and pubs and wine bars serve as social gathering places.
Tea or coffee are available to teetotallers, and numerous coffee shops may be found in UK towns and cities.
In the United Kingdom, tap water is safe to drink unless it is labelled “Not for Drinking.”
For lecture-based undergraduate programmes in 2020, tuition fees for international students in the UK ranged from £10,000 to £26,000 per year (£58,600 per year for the UG medical programme).
Postgraduate studies are more costly, and the cost varies by university.
In 2020, the average student rent was £126 per week (£182 in London) or £500 (£720) per month.
A dinner at a restaurant may cost £12, a movie ticket £10, a monthly transit pass £60, and monthly utilities £140.
Living expenditures for a Tier-4 student visa (2019, according to Numbeo) are £1,015 per month or £12,180 per year (£1,265 per month or £15,180 per year in London).
The last thing you want is to arrive in the UK and discover you don’t have anywhere to stay. So take care of things before you come.
The first place to look is your own university, which may have space for you in one of its “halls of residence” — some universities have halls specifically for international students, and first-year students are usually given priority.
Staying on campus has the advantage of allowing you to establish friends with students from your own department and other like-minded individuals more rapidly.
You can select between catered and self-catered options; the latter will almost probably be less expensive.
One important advantage of university halls in the United Kingdom is that rooms are single occupancy, as opposed to double occupancy in the United States, and that they are less expensive.
A room at a private lodge can also be rented. Landlords in your university neighbourhood will be willing to rent out studios or one-bedroom apartments.
You can also board with a local family, which will help you improve your social skills as well as your English.
Graduate students with families are eligible to request special accommodations.
Part-time employment are a wonderful option to supplement your income while studying in the United Kingdom.
However, if you take on too much, it may not be enough to cover all of your living expenses, and it may also cause you to lose focus on your studies.
You can work 20 hours per week and full time over the holidays if you are from a non-EU nation. However, your eligibility will be determined by a variety of criteria, and you will need to confirm your eligibility.
For part-time work, the national minimum wage is £7.38 per hour for those aged 21 to 24, and £7.83 for those aged 25 and over.