Why study in United Kingdom
Universities in the UK are well known in the world for their top-quality education. Critical thinking, creative methods of teaching, and quality-control merge successfully in British higher education.
Here are the top reasons why the uk is the best place to study:
- The highest number of ranked universities. The UK has the highest number of ranked universities in relation to the size of the country: 111 ranked universities. University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, and Imperial College London constantly feature in the world's Top10.
- Quality of teaching regulated by the government. The UK is home to some of the world's oldest and most prestigious universities. This doesn’t happen by chance. Bodies such as the Office for Students (OfS) and the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) make sure that universities meet national standards for academic quality.
- Big focus on independent learning and creative thinking. As a student in the UK you will be expected to take responsibility for your learning and develop critical thinking skills. This is different from other countries where lecture-based learning is considered more important. This approach encourages you to take an active role in your learning, rather than simply listening to lectures and memorizing information, which can help you develop a deeper understanding of your subject matter.
- Nightlife for many tastes and interests. Big cities like London, Manchester, and Glasgow have a well-established nightlife scene with many clubs, bars, and music venues that cater to different tastes and interests. However, smaller cities and towns may have a more limited nightlife scene, but will still offer a range of student-friendly places like museums, cinemas, and live music venues.
The country offers some of the best and most comprehensive support systems for international students, both as part of the university and through government or independent bodies and organisations. It’s no wonder why so many international students choose to study in the UK.
At the same time, while they do have high tuition fees and living costs which won’t be easy to meet, the UK also provides students with a lot of scholarships and funding opportunities.
What’s more, British universities excel in all fields of study (Arts and Humanities, Engineering and Technology, Life Sciences & Medicine, and Natural Sciences) but what matters most is that here you can find study areas that are unique in Europe, like Creative Writing or innovative interdisciplinary courses that may sound like this: “Are We Alone? The Search for Extraterrestrial Life.” or “From Sherlock Holmes to CSI : a History of Forensic Science and Medicine.”
Culture in United Kingdom
People in the UK are generally friendly and polite, with a strong sense of humour and an appreciation for social etiquette. They usually think that it's important for people to have their own freedom, be able to do things on their own, and keep some things private. They also have a deep respect for tradition and history. Some of the most iconic aspects of British culture and traditions include the monarchy, teatime, pub culture, the London Underground, and the Beatles.
With a population of almost 68 million, the UK is not one of the world’s biggest countries. In fact, having a size just 60% of California, it only ranks 80th in the world. UK culture and traditions are "a melting pot of cultures", with a long history of immigration and diversity. The Kingdom itself is actually made up of four different countries: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and each of these four has its own cultural identity and unique traditions.
Cultural diversity in the UK
The UK is a diverse and multicultural society, with people from many different cultural backgrounds living and working in the country. Approximately 14% of the population of 68 million people belongs to an ethnic minority. Some of the largest cultural groups are from India, Poland, and Pakistan. This diversity is reflected in everything from food and music to arts and literature. Of all the cities in the UK, the highest diversity is in London, where 40% of the population comes from an ethnic minority background. Apart from the capital, Birmingham, Manchester, and Leicester are also great examples of high cultural diversity.
Languages spoken in the UK
English is the official language and by far the most commonly spoken, but there are also several other languages spoken throughout the country, like Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, and Irish Gaelic. At the same time, according to the London Museum, in the capital city, there are over 300 languages spoken today.
UK food culture
British food culture has influences from all over the world, and expat communities can often enjoy the taste of their home food in restaurants and shops across the UK. At the same time, some of the most iconic British dishes include fish and chips, bangers and mash, shepherd's pie and roast beef and Yorkshire puddings. Fun fact: there are around 10,500 fish and chip shops in the UK today. But the British are also known for their love of tea, ale, and other alcoholic beverages.
Weather in the UK
You probably know the UK has a reputation for being rainy because of its geography. Throughout the year, temperatures in the UK tend to vary between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius. You'll enjoy the warmest and driet summers in the south-east of the country.
How to choose a university in United Kingdom?
Deciding where you want to study is a deeply personal choice, but there are a few general ideas you should consider. To make things simpler for you, we put together the following Choosing a university checklist:
- Think about which of the following experiences you want to have during your studies and choose what fits best with you:
- Decide how important a university’s reputation is to you:
- A high-ranking university will look more impressive on your CV because these are universities that have a reputation across the world for being very good and teaching the smartest and most talented people. Attenting one of them will give you more opportunities, but it will be harder to get in, more expensive, competitive, and more focused on academic results.
- A university that doesn’t rank as high will probably offer you a more inclusive and relaxed environment. These universities are often top quality as well, but less famous. You will face easier admission and enjoy a more flexible schedule
- Read student reviews to learn how other students feel at that university. If you access a programme of study on our portal, you can read tens of student reviews for each study programme. And if you're still in doubt, try chatting with students who are currently studying at universities you are interested in.
- Research how well a university performs in your particular field of study by checking QS Subject Rankings and THE World University Rankings by subject.
What are the best universities in the UK
Its centuries-old tradition, high standards of teaching and commitment to providing students with a world-class education, lead to the UK having over 100 world-ranking universities. Here are the top 5 universities in the UK:
- TheUniversity of Oxford is the oldest university in the UK, benefiting from a distinctive collegiate structure. Both students and academics belong to a college or hall, a self-governing organisation within the university.
- TheUniversity of Cambridge is, alongside Oxford, one of the ancient English universities consistently ranking among the top 5 in the world, with a rich tradition of over 800 years and world-leading research.
- Imperial College London started from a vision of Prince Albert (the consort of Queen Victoria) who wanted to create a cultural area to include museums and colleges. The college focuses only on business, science, technology, and medicine.
- University College London (UCL) the very first university in London, is a rule-breaking institution: the first university in England to accept students of any religion and one of the first to admit women as students.
- The University of Edinburgh is the best Scottish university and the fifth ranking in the UK. With an entrepreneurial and cross-disciplinary culture, it attracts students and staff from across the globe.
>Click here for the full list of university rankings in the UK.
What are the top student hubs in the UK
The biggest student hub in the UK is of course London. The city was declared Best Student city by QS, and it has no less than 18 ranked universities. It’s huge – the third biggest city in Europe with a population of over 9,3 million people, multicultural, and very diverse.
But big-city life is only for some, and the UK offers many other excellent student hubs. In the North of England, you have Manchester with five big universities, BBC and ITV studios and many thriving businesses. Even further to the North, another thriving city full of charm and history is Edinburgh, Scotland's capital, home to one of the best five universities in the UK.
If you want your experience of studying in the UK to be even more relaxed, so you can enjoy that orderly and calm British life, consider the famous cities of Oxford and Cambridge, as well as Bath or Liverpool with their highly ranked universities.
Tuition Fees in United Kingdom
British students pay different tuition fees from international students (including EU students). Fees are also different depending on the university or study programme you choose.
Tuition fees for international undergraduate students range between £9,000 and £33,500 per year, while tuition fees for international students at postgraduate level cost between £7,000 - £36,400 per year, the average programme being £20,000. For UK nationals, tuition fees at undergraduate level range between £1,820 and £9,250, while postgraduate courses cost between £3,350 and £22,300.
If cost is a big factor for you when choosing a university, the cheapest tuition fees for international students according to QS TopUniversities are Coventry University, Royal Agricultural University, and University of Suffolk. Also, keep in mind that online programmes are usually cheaper than campus-based ones. We have over 700 online Bachelor’s programmes in the UK, the cheapest only £1,784 per year and over 2,500 online Master’s programmes, starting at £540 per year.
Sometimes, students can benefit from a tuition fee waiver, meaning a discount applied to your overall tuition fee. However, this is usually available only for UK and sometimes EU students. Check on your university’s page to be sure. Also, remember that there are plenty of scholarships available for both national and international students.
Use the ‘Tuition fee’ filter on the left menu of our Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD search pages to find the programme best suited for your budget. You can also sort the list of available programmes by Lowest tuition fee, by clicking the top right Sort button.
Can I study in United Kingdom for free?
Unfortunately, there is no free education in the UK for international students or for home students, but there are ways to go around it and minimise or completely reduce your costs during the years of study.
Home students have the option to apply for a Student Loan which will cover their undergraduate tuition fees in full, and they only have to pay it back once they start earning enough money to classify for repayments. To apply for the loan for your undergraduate studies, you have to access Student Finance on Gov.UK once you have an offer from university. In addition, home students can also apply for a loan for their Master’s degree of up to £11,836, but this may not fully cover the cost of the programme.
As an international student, if you’re wondering how to study in the UK for free, the only option is to win a scholarship that fully covers your tuition fees and potentially living costs as well. While these are very competitive, there are plenty available, so go on and check Scholarshipportal for all scholarships available to study in the UK.
Finally, if you want to do a doctorate in the UK, whether you are a national or international student, the only way to do it tuition free is through a scholarship for PhD studies, but you can also get a job as an assistant within your university and earn some money while researching as well.
Financial Aid and Scholarships in United Kingdom
Many universities, private organisations, NGOs, and governmental institutions offer scholarships and grants to international students.
Each scholarship or grant has different criteria; some are awarded for academic success, others for financial needs, and some for students coming from developing or underdeveloped nations.
You can apply for financial aid after acceptance, meaning soon as you have an offer from your university. There are many scholarships allow you to apply even after you’ve started your programme. Learn about the best practices when applying for a scholarship. You’ve got nothing to lose.
Head over here to see our full list of over 1700 scholarships on offer in the UK.
Types of scholarships on offer
There are several types of financial aid for international students in the UK. The most common are scholarships, but you can also find bursaries (typically awarded based on financial need), grants and loans.
Scholarships can be awarded based on merit, financial need or other criteria. For example scholarships for excellent academic results or scholarships for students with low incomes, and see what fits best with your situation. Learn all about the different types and how to start applying for scholarships, in this article.
There is no limit to how many scholarships you should apply for, just go for as many as you can. Ensure you meet the criteria before searching for the best scholarships to apply for. Begin with the ones where you feel you have the highest chances of success.
Where you can find scholarships
An excellent starting point when you’re trying to figure out where to apply for scholarships is our Scholarshipportal.com, a database where we list over 1,700 scholarship opportunities for the UK.
Other credible sources with up-to-date information about scholarships and financial aid you can access:
- Studyportals Scholarship – International Distinction Award, open to all international students – see FAQ about the award
- Your preferred university's official website. They will likely award scholarships themselves or recommend partner organizations where to apply for financial aid.
- Government Scholarships (British Council Scholarships):
- The Chevening Scholarships for Master’s
- The Commonwealth Scholarships for PhD and Master’s
- GREAT scholarships
- Scholarships offered by universities:
- Gates Cambridge Scholarship
- Oxford Pershing Square Scholarship
- University of Bristol Think Big
- Imperial College London Scholarship
- GEMS International Undergraduate Scholarship
- Undergraduate Global Excellence Scholarships
You can learn more about Scholarships offered by UK universities in this article.
- Euraxess UK Portal for PhD and Postdoc Euraxess UK is a portal for PhD students and postdoctoral researchers looking to work or continue their research in the United Kingdom. It provides information on funding opportunities, research networks, job vacancies, and other resources to help these professionals succeed in their careers.
You can also find some of the best options of scholarships in the UK for international students in this article.
How to apply
Once you’ve done your research on how to apply for a scholarship in the UK and shortlisted the scholarships you want to apply to, it’s time to get going with the actual application. Applying for a foreign university scholarship may be intimidating, but if you follow these steps, it won’t be that hard:
- Check the eligibility criteria: make sure you meet all the requirements, which may include academic achievements, nationality, age, field of study, and more. Applying for a bursary or a university grant may have different rules from applying for a scholarship.
- Gather the required documents: Financial aid providers all have a how-to-apply for university funding or scholarship page. This is the place to find and check what documents you need, things like transcripts, a motivation letter for applying to the scholarship, and recommendation letters.
- Complete the application: pay attention as you fill out the scholarship application form to ensure you include all required information.
- Submit the application: very important step, take a deep breath and click submit!
- Wait for a response: this may be harder than it sounds. But if you are shortlisted, you will probably be called for an interview or asked to provide additional information. See our advice on how to do well in a scholarship interview.
- Accept the scholarship: the best part! If you are selected, read through the terms and conditions and accept the scholarship offer if you are happy with the terms.
What to include in your application
The specific requirements for a scholarship application will vary depending on the type of financial aid or scholarship, and the program you are applying to. However, a scholarship application will always ask you to explain why you are applying for financial aid and how it will help you achieve your academic and career goals. This is usually done in a motivation for applying, or a request letter for your scholarship application and it might just be the most important element of your application. That’s why it’s essential to Learn how to write a motivation letter for your scholarship.
Other information to include in your application will likely be:
- Personal information
- Academic background, such as your academic transcripts, degrees, and certificates
- Letters of recommendation, typically by teachers, professors, or employers who can vouch for your academic abilities and potential
- Financial Information: the scholarship you’re applying for might not cover the total costs of your studies, in which case they can ask about how you will cover the rest of the money.
- Essays or writing samples that demonstrate your writing skills and ability to think critically.
Other supporting materials, such as a portfolio of work or a list of awards and honours.
Apply to university in United Kingdom
How to apply
All UK applications are done through the UCAS website. You can submit only one application for each study cycle and within this application you can select up to 5 different study programmes. Unlike in many other countries where you must tailor your application to each individual university, here you need a general application.
What’s the structure of the UK academic year
The UK academic year typically starts in late September or early October and ends in June. The exact dates may vary depending on the institution and the course, but most universities follow a similar timeline.
During the academic year, there are three main terms:
- Autumn term (September to December),
- Spring term (January to April),
- Summer term (from May until late June).
These terms are broken up into several weeks of teaching and a few weeks of holidays or exams:
- Christmas Break: (mid-December to early January)
- Easter Break: (two weeks, during spring)
- Summer Break: (the longest break of the year, from June to late September)
- Half-Term Breaks: (roughly every six to eight weeks throughout the academic year)
- Bank Holidays (public holidays in the UK)
Some institutions may have slight variations on this structure, but the three-term system is the standard for most UK universities.
When to apply for British universities
Most universities and courses in the UK have the application deadline in January for courses starting September the same year. But Cambridge and Oxford as well as programmes in Medicine will likely have an earlier deadline. Make sure to check UCAS for the exact dates each year.
You can still apply to university after the deadline through Clearing, from July until October, but you must keep in mind that this round of applications is only for the places left unfilled in the regular application process, so you should only use it if you didn't manage to secure a place beforehand.
Documents needed to apply for university
Each UCAS application contains this list of documents you need to apply for university:
- Personal details
- Education history
- Employment history
- Programmes selection
- Personal Statement (a very important part of you application)
- Reference (from a current teacher or employer, depending on your situation, written in English)
- Payment of the application fee
Next step is to await an answer. If you are accepted, you can receive a conditional offer or an unconditional offer.
A conditional offer means that your acceptance depends on meeting some conditions in the future, like obtaining certain results at exams or language tests. An unconditional offer means you already meet all requirements and are definitely accepted.
If you want to study in the UK, your programme will be taught in English, so you must have a certain level of proficiency in order to perform your academic work. That’s why you will definitely need to meet certain English language requirements for UK universities. To do that, you have to take one of the approved tests and obtain the minimum score required by your university.
Commonly accepted UK language tests:
You’ll get a score of 0 to 9 for each category (Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking), as well as an overall band score. Generally, UK universities ask for a minimum score of 6.0 or 6.5, with some more reputed universities requiring 7.0 or 7.5.
The four sections (Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing) have a score of 0 to 30 points each. You can get a maximum of 120 points. Many universities ask for a score of 70-80 to be admitted, while the more famous ones like Oxford and Cambridge ask for a score over 100 points.
- PTE Academic
You can obtain a score between 10 and 90 points in the three sections Speaking & Writing, Reading, and Listening. To study for a degree level course, UK universities usually ask for a minimum of 59 points.
- Cambridge English Advanced
The Cambridge exams range from pre A1 - Starters to C2 Proficiency which means scores starting at 80 points and going up to 230 points. For UK universities, you need to obtain the C1 Advanced certificate with a score range of 180-200 points.
- Duolingo English test
The test is gaining more and more popularity and is already accepted by thousands of institutions worldwide. You’ll get a score between 10 and 160 points, where 95-100 points is the equivalent of the 6.0 IELTS score.
To learn more about the different tests you can take, read this comprehensive guide on English language certifications that we’ve put together.
Student housing in United Kingdom
When you’re looking for student housing in the UK, you have two options:
On-campus accommodation: these are halls of residence managed by your university; they are basically blocks of flats where hundreds of other students live. Additional costs such as water, heating and electricity fees are included most of the time, and as much as possible, first-year and international students have a guaranteed place if they apply on time.
This type of student accommodation in the UK generally offers small, clean rooms, with a bed, wardrobe, and desk. The kitchen and common room are shared, and sometimes the bathroom is as well. You can have a lot of fun living in a hall of residence and fully immerse yourself in student life, but will also need to learn how to share and live with people you’ve just met.
Off-campus student housing: this option can mean private student housing apartments or halls, where you will have more privacy, less sharing, and probably a more modern environment. Of course, this can come at a higher monthly cost. At the same time, another option to live off-campus is to share a house with a couple of other friends. The cost will be more affordable, and you won’t share the place with people you don’t know. However, you need to find the place yourself, sometimes pay rent in advance, and handle your own additional costs like heating, water, internet or electricity payments.
When to apply for student accommodation
In order to know when to apply for university accommodation on campus, you should check the university’s website for specific deadlines. The rule of thumb is to start applying once you have an unconditional offer from the university and before you arrive in the UK.
On the other hand, if you prefer off-campus student housing, start applying as soon as you know you will start studying at that university to have a better chance of getting the accommodation you want.
Extra resources for finding student housing apartments
- Amber, a portal listing verified private student accommodation in over 250 cities worldwide.
- Student, options for private student housing in over 400 cities across the world, with 24-hour support from the booking team.
- Unite Students, private accommodation in the UK, with all utilities included, as well as the option to book a shared accommodation with one or more of your friends.
- Right Move, a portal where you can search for private student housing in the UK, on-campus halls of residence, and private halls close to your university.
Cost of living in United Kingdom
The average cost of living in the UK with rent, food, transport, and entertainment included is around £12,000-£15,000 per year.
London, the country’s capital, has by far the highest cost of living in the UK. Here, you might end up paying almost double the amount you would pay in the rest of the country. The average monthly rent in London is over £1,000 for a small apartment where you pay the bills or a room in a private student hall with bills included, while in other cities, the average cost is around £700 per month.
For students in the UK, the cost of living varies according to each region. Belfast in Northern Ireland, Cardiff in Wales, and Glasgow in Scotland are more affordable locations with an average monthly cost of living around £1,000 - £1,300, while Manchester in England and Edinburgh in Scotland are more expensive, the average being £1,400 - £1,700 respectively. London remains the most expensive location in the UK with a monthly average cost of £2,500. This data is based on Numbeo and refers to the living expenses of a single person, however as a student you will be able to get different discounts and promotions, so your actual expenditure will probably be smaller if you budget your money well.
Cost of food in the UK
On average, a meal in a mid-range restaurant costs around £15-£20, while a week's worth of groceries for one person can cost anywhere from £40 to £60. However, international students can save money by cooking at home, shopping at local supermarkets and taking advantage of student discounts. The average monthly cost of food for a student in the UK is around £250 ($338).
Work and study in United Kingdom
Are international students allowed to work in the UK?
Generally yes, but there are some restrictions. The maximum number of working hours for international students in the UK depends on your exact Visa conditions. Usually, the limit is 20 hours during term time and full-time during holidays, but sometimes, international students can be restricted to only 10 hours during term times. To be sure, you must check what conditions are set on your Visa. Furthermore, your university may also impose further restrictions.
If you are eligible, the first place to search for a job is your university’s career page where they post jobs, specifically for students. The following are some popular student job sites that offer part-time, full-time, temporary, and seasonal work opportunities, as well as internships and graduate schemes. Many of them share useful information on job hunting, CV writing, and interview preparation:
Read this article for Tips on Finding Part-Time Jobs for International Students, including ideas of how to get an internship or a work from home job for students.
Is United Kingdom safe?
The UK is generally considered a safe country: according to the latest data available from the Global Peace Index 2021, which ranks countries based on their level of safety and security, the UK is ranked as the 42nd safest country out of 163 countries worldwide.
Additionally, a survey conducted by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) in 2018 showed that 87% of international students in the UK felt safe living in the country. This was based on responses from over 2,000 international students.
Universities in the UK take the safety and security of their students very seriously, and many have dedicated support services and advice available to help students stay safe. However, like in any country, there are still some risks that students should be aware of, such as pickpocketing, petty theft, and online fraud. It’s good to remember some of these common-sense personal safety measures that you would use anywhere else in the world:
- Make sure you know the emergency numbers: 999 or 112
- Avoid dark corners or streets at night
- Pay extra attention when you take money out from ATMs
- Try not to walk around alone at night
- Be mindful of pickpocketing
The healthcare system in the UK is called National Health Service (NHS), and to be able to access its services as an international student, you need to pay a £470 Healthcare surcharge along with your Visa application. This is enough to cover your healthcare needs.
Although more expensive, private providers are an alternative to the NHS and offer faster access to specialists and shorter waiting times. There are various private healthcare providers in the UK, including BUPA, AXA PPP, and VitalityHealth, among others.
You may also get healthcare through your university, which may have its own healthcare facilities or partnerships with private providers.
Student insurance in United Kingdom
Your student Visa will cover your basic healthcare needs, however, you may prefer private insurance which will give you extra benefits like emergency assistance and money to support you in case of a long illness. You can opt for a package like the ones offered by AON Student Insurance.
Learn more about this by visiting our Student Insurance Portal
Support services available for international students
Your university is the most important place where you can find quality student support services during your university years. Examples of student support services include disability support, counselling and mental health, academic support, language support, orientation programmes, sexual harassment support, conflicts and violence support, and support services for special needs students.
Your university will have an International Office where you can access some of the above-mentioned services, like information about immigration, visas, funding your studies, employment regulations and opportunities.
Here are a couple of organisations providing support to international students:
There are several popular student organisations for international students in the UK, including:
- The Student Union is the most important student organisation in the UK and will likely be part of the National Union of Students (NUS). The union is meant to protect students’ rights without being affiliated with the university where it operates. The Student Union at your university is run by students and forms a great student community where you can easily get involved.
- UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA), a charity created to support international students with advice and information in many areas, including Visas and Immigration, Fees and Money, Working, Preparation and Arrival, and more.
- The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) provides support for international students studying in Europe, including the UK. They offer a range of activities and events, including language exchanges, cultural trips, and social events.
- The International Students House (ISH): provides accommodation and support services for international students studying in London. They offer a range of services, including housing, social events, and academic support.
Things to do for students on a budget
One of the free things to do in the UK for students is go to the museum. There is a rich selection of awesome museums, and most of them have free entry. Museums in the UK are lively places, where kids are allowed to play and often enjoy interactive experiences. Head over here for a full list of museums in the UK.
You will also find many cheap things to do in the UK if you visit different cities or outdoor locations. The UK is not very big, which makes travelling easy and as an international student, you won’t want to miss the most famous and epic tourist destinations in the country.
Top 5 urban attractions:
- Must-see landmarks in London. One of the most famous cities in the world, home for the British monarchy and many well-known icons like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, the capital has so much to offer, from world-class (FREE) museums to zorbing on green hills.
Read this article about Cheap Things You Can Do in London on a Student Budget to discover plenty of ideas.
- Roman heritage inBath. Home to beautiful 2000 years-old Roman baths, Bath also showcases some great examples of Georgian architecture, a style dating from the 18th century, named after four British kings named George.
- Scottish medieval sights in Edinburgh. You shouldn’t miss this awesome Scottish city, even if you can only visit it for one day. Edinburgh Castle sits in the middle of the city built atop an extinct volcano. You can also visit The Royal Botanic Gardens as well as the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, where you’ll definitely have a lot of fun.
- See the famous location of TheCanterbury Tales. Here you can visit the famous Canterbury Cathedral, the very first cathedral of England, the Roman Museum hosted inside an original Roman Villa, or the Franciscan Gardens, belonging to the first Franciscan Settlement in Britain.
- See where Titanic took off in Southampton. You can see the Titanic Exhibition because Southampton was the home port of the Titanic, and the city has a fascinating exhibition about the ill-fated ship and its passengers. And keep the mood, you can continue by exploring the SeaCity Museum which features interactive exhibits, artefacts, and stories about the city's relationship with the sea.
Top 5 outdoor attractions
Keep these in mind for great adventures in nature after you’re done with those busy exams and assignments and need a taste of fresh air and wild beauty.
- The Lake District. Situated in the North of England, this is the largest national park in England where you can climb its highest mountain, Scafell Pike. The park is famous for its beautiful lakes, mountains, soft valleys, and sandy coastlines. It’s the perfect place for a late spring or summer adventure in nature. Don’t miss it.
- Scilly Island. If you visit the gorgeous Isles of Scilly in summer, you might wonder if you’re still in Britain. Well, you are, although it looks like a tropical paradise.
- The Scottish Highlands. Snow covered mountaintops and old castles amid crystal clear lakes and an atmosphere of perfect peace. This is what you’ll find in the Scottish Highlands whether you go hiking in summer, skiing in winter, or horse-riding any time of the year.
- Stonehenge. A famous prehistoric site in Salisbury, believed to have been built over a 1000 year period from 3000 BCE to 2000 BCE, which is still a big mystery for archaeologists. Stonehenge is an engineering masterpiece, a spiritual place, and still an inspiration for people today.
- Cotswolds. Here you can get lost into the charming British countryside, walk on the streets of pretty villages made of limestone and traditional market towns. The place is so beautiful, it was declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AOBN).
Travelling in the UK
You can also buy a number of student cards which offer student travel discounts:
- 16-25 Railcard which gives discounts for rail tickets if you are 16 to 25 years of age.
- 18+ Student Oyster photocard for students living in London to get a 30% discount of Travelcards, as well as Bus&Tram season tickets.
- Young Persons Coachcard for discounts when travelling with National Express coaches if you’re aged 16 to 26.
- International Student Identity Card which gives discounts to international students for a bunch of things, not only travelling, but also food, entertainment, clothes, and more. The card is valid in 125 countries, not just the UK.
As a foreign student in the UK, there are several ways you can improve your English language skills:
- practice with native speakers;
- watch English TV shows and movies;
- read English books and newspapers,
- attend an English language course
- use language learning apps, such as Duolingo
There are many language schools and colleges in the UK that offer English language courses for international students. These courses are designed to improve your reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills.
Living as an expat in United Kingdom
Once you graduate, the main thing that changes is that you will no longer have a study Visa so you’ll need to find a different type of Visa (such as a work visa or residency permit) in order to be able to stay in the country.
To be eligible for such a visa you will need a job offer from a UK employer. Once you’ve secured a job, the next step should be finding your expat apartment. As an expat in the UK you can use the National Health Service (NHS), but many choose to take out private health insurance as well.
Expat communities in the UK
The most represented countries in the expat communities in the UK are Poland, Republic of Ireland, India, Romania, and Italy. Followed by Portugal, Spain, Pakistan, Nigeria, and the USA.
Expats living in the UK can benefit from a supportive and vibrant expat community. UK expat forums and online communities can be a great place to connect with others like you, and to find advice on everything from finding housing to navigating the healthcare system.
Here are some useful resources:
- Expatica website where you can find a lot of useful information about living and working in the United Kingdom as an expat.
- InterNations website where you can connect with other expats in your city or country.
- HSBC guide and resources for expats (HSBC is a major bank in the UK)
- Expat website with a lot of information for expats around the world.
There is no one best place to live in the UK for expats. True, larger cities like London offer many social or cultural activities and job opportunities. But you may also consider a smaller city with a quieter pace of life.
United Kingdom Immigration rules
How your immigration status changes after graduation
Once you graduate, your immigration status changes and you can no longer stay in the UK on a student Visa. To continue living there, you need to apply for a different kind of Visa or apply for citizenship if you already meet the requirements.
Types of Citizenship
- Apply for a new Visa depending on your circumstances after graduation:
Graduate Visa. This is the most common route for international students, which allows international students who completed a higher education course in the UK to stay in the in the country for up to 2 years.
Skilled Worker Visa. You can apply for this Visa if you have a work offer from a UK employer approved by the Home Office who can give you a “certificate of sponsorship” detailing your role which must fit in this list of occupations. The Visa is valid for up to 5 years and can be extended any number of times.
Global Talent Visa. This is for you if you can prove to be a leader in one of these fields: Arts and Culture, Academia and Research, Digital Technology. This Visa is valid for 5 years with the possibility to extend it if you still meet the conditions.
Start Up Visa. This isn’t the easiest Visa to get, but if you have an innovative idea for a business that doesn’t exist in the UK, you should try it. This Visa is valid for 2 years and cannot be extended.
- Apply forIndefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
Usually, you can get Indefinite Leave to Remain after you lived in the UK for 5 years continuously, but sometimes it can be even 3 or 2 years, depending on the type of Visa you had previously. You should apply for ILR as soon as you meet the required time period if you plan on gaining British citizenship.
- Apply for British Citizenship
Once you had Indefinite Leave to Remain or Settled Status for a minimum of 12 months, you are eligible to apply for British Citizenship. You will also need to prove you English skills and pass the Life in the UK test where you will have to answer 24 questions about traditional practices and ways of life that have been passed down through generations in the UK.
To stay up-to-date on the latest UK immigration news for student visa, check the updates from UK immigration authorities. It's also important to budget your immigrant visa application processing fee, which can be different based on your country of origin.
Immigration processing times
The processing time for immigration applications in the UK can vary depending on several factors such as the type of visa or permit being applied for, the volume of applications being received by the UK Home Office, and the complexity of the application itself.
Generally, the UK Home Office aims to process most visa applications within 3 weeks or less, but some applications may take longer. For example, applications that require additional documentation or information may take longer to process.
Job opportunities in United Kingdom
Most of the job opportunities in the UK for international students after graduation are in the larger cities like Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Leeds, Cardiff, Belfast, and so on. Of course, you’ll find the biggest pool of work opportunities in London.
But if you hope to get a job when you graduate, you should consider getting some part-time work or volunteering during your studies as well because experience is very important.
The following websites for UK jobs after graduation are a valuable resource for international students looking to start their careers. You will likely find opportunities across different industries and sectors:
- Jobs in the UK on the Government's platform
- The Prospects jobs platform
- Jobs Section on The Guardian
- Addeco jobs platform
Additionally, many universities in the UK have their own job boards and career services, which may be helpful if you are a recent graduate.
Continue your studies in United Kingdom
If you are an international student who will graduate from a UK university and would like to continue your studies in the UK, there are several options available to you:
- Pursue a Master’s degree: You can apply for a Master's degree if you already have a Bachelor's degree. Apply through UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, or through individual university websites. Head over here to see over 1900 Master’s in the UK.
- Apply for a PhD: If you are interested in pursuing a research-based degree, and you already have a Master’s degree, you can apply for a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programme in the UK. Here’s a list of over 2000 PhDs in the UK.
- Apply for a postgraduate diploma or certificate: These shorter courses are designed to provide additional training or education in a specific field and can be completed in a shorter amount of time than a full degree program.
- Apply for a professional qualification: Professions such as law, medicine, or teaching require additional qualifications beyond a degree. You can apply for these professional qualifications through professional organisations or regulatory institutions.
Frequently asked questions
- Do international students need a visa to study in the UK?
Yes, international students need a visa to study in the UK. The type of visa required depends on the length and level of study, as well as the student's nationality and individual circumstances.
- Is studying in the UK worth it?
The UK offers high quality education, an extensive portfolio of courses taught in English, the option to have a part time job while studying, many scholarships and other types of funding opportunities, as well as a dynamic and multicultural environment. All these make for very good reasons for studying in the UK.
- What is the cost of studying in the UK?
Tuition fees for international students at undergraduate level cost between £11,400 - £38,000 per year while tuition fees for international students at postgraduate level cost between £9,000 - £30,000 per year.
- How much money is required to study in the UK?
The average cost of living in the UK with rent, food, transport, and entertainment included is around £12,000-£15,000 per year.
- Can I study in the UK without IELTS?
If you apply to a university in the UK as an international student, you will need to show proof of English Language skills. You can take the IELTS, but also other tests like TOEFL, PTE Academic, or Cambridge English Advanced.
- What are the requirements to study in the UK?
To study in the UK, you have to send all the required documents in your application, including education history, proof of English language test, personal statement, and references. On top of that, you will need to get a Student Visa and be able to prove that you can support yourself financially during your studies.
- What exams are required to study in the UK?
To start studying in the UK, you need to take the A Levels in subjects required for your particular degree. If you are from a country where you don’t take A Levels, you will need the equivalent of that. You will find the approved exam qualifications for each country on your university’s website.
- How to get permanent residency while studying in the UK?
To get permanent residency in the UK, you can apply for the Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) visa after five years of working a graduate job. You also need to take the Knowledge of Life in the UK test and one of the approved English language tests.