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Why Study In The UK?

Published on 24th July 2019 - Last update on 7th July 2020

How a British degree can be a better preparation for life.

Every year, thousands of young – and some not so young – people come from around the world to study in the UK, with around 420,000 students taking undergraduate and postgrad courses. There are many reasons why you might consider joining them.

You can see how students from around the world come to the UK - and the universities they choose - here.

The higher education system in the UK has set the standards for higher education in other countries for many years, and even highly regarded universities such as Yale and Harvard took their cues from Oxford and Cambridge. But the choice of where you learn must be based on more than historic precedent. There are several major advantages to studying in the UK.

Be challenged by academic excellence

British universities are recognised as having creative and challenging environments that help their students push themselves and achieve excellence. The high standards may be challenging, but they ensure that your educational qualification will be recognised and valued wherever you go. This means that a UK university will provide you with a solid foundation for the next step in your career, whether it is in business or in further study.

UK universities also offer choice. There are hundreds of universities and colleges, and thousands of courses available, ensuring that whatever your interests, you will be able to pursue them. The choice goes further; you will be able to choose from a variety of different degree courses, and combine them to make a degree programme precisely suited to your needs and interests.

Andit is not just the traditional academic subjects where a degree from a UK university gives you a competitive advantage - UK engineering, art, fashion, film, TV and video are considered among the best in the world.

Build the skills you need to succeed

Knowledge alone is not enough. You need to have the ability to apply that knowledge in the real world – and, again, UK universities can be your first choice. Employers want high-quality employees with specific skill sets, including effective, critical, and creative thinking. Study in the UK is never based on rote learning. You’ll be encouraged to think independently and to question and analyse what you learn, and to develop new ways to put it into practice.

What’s more, employers also want people with English language skills. Becoming fluent in English is an added benefit of studying in the country where the language was created.

Enjoy a warm welcome

The UK is a generally tolerant and friendly society, and generations of international students have come to the UK to study. This means that British universities have decades of experience in working with international students. Every university has an international student society that will help you with the details of getting used to life in the UK and help you connect with other international students, as well as the rest of the student body. Many colleges will provide practical help and even guarantee living accommodation for at least the first year you are with them. There will be plenty of opportunities for sport and leisure activities which, although not academic, will have important benefits in helping your English language and social skills.

Outside university, the UK has a rich, multicultural atmosphere that will allow you to meet people, not just from Britain, but from around the world. You will be able to interact with so many different types of people, ensuring you can enjoy fresh insights into other countries and cultures without leaving the UK.

You’ll also be able to enjoy a rich and vibrant cultural life. There is nightlife to enjoy all over the country, and the theatre, art galleries and concerts to explore. Public transport makes it easy to travel and discover Britain too. As a student, you can receive special rates for transport by bus and trains – which cover the country.

The UK has a national health care system, the National Health Service (NHS), that can provide free health care during the time you study in the UK.

In addition, UK universities are LGBT friendly. You will never feel marginalised if you identify with this community.

Deal with the costs

The best is always worth paying for, and all universities will charge a fee for their degree course tuition. You will also be faced with accommodation and living costs.

To avoid struggling financially, it may be best to have arranged funding before you begin your course. However, unlike many educational systems, in the UK you ’re allowed to work while studying. During the regular academic year, you can work part-time up to 20 hours per week. This can help cover your living costs, and provide additional help with your language skills.

Universities in other countries may take four years for an undergraduate degree and two or three years for a postgraduate degree. Those in the UK take just three years for an undergraduate degree, and one year for a postgraduate.

This means your overall costs are reduced.

There may also be scholarships, grants, and bursaries available for international students. Over 20,000 international students get financial aid from the UK government.

Which university should you choose?

All UK universities welcome international students, and your choice of university might depend on the course you intend to follow. Business & Administrative studies is popular with overseas students, as is Engineering & Technology. But all areas of study, from Social Studies to the Creative Arts, are available. 

You can use this search tool to see how international students are attracted to different study subjects in various universities across the UK.

Finding out more

There are two organisations that can help you find out more about study in the UK as an international student. The British Council and the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service can help you to apply to institutions across the UK as well as decide which college and course are right for you.

Finally, to come to the UK as an international student, you must arrange a student visa. However, this is relatively easy to arrange, and you can find more details here.

Alternatively, if you are a higher education institute looking for external funding, take a look at our resource on funding for higher education institutions.

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Richard Mitchell

Richard Mitchell

Content writer
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