Hundreds of thousands of international students study in the UK each year, making studying in the UK the number two choice for international students in the world, second only to the USA. For students worldwide that would like an English-language education, what better place to study than the country that invented the language?
With an excellent higher-education system and hundreds of world-class universities, the UK promises a rich experience for international students. Our Study UK resource is intended to help you learn more about studying in the UK as an international student, and includes sections on choosing the UK as a destination, choosing a location within the UK, learning more about the country, its history and culture, and adapting to life in your adopted country.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (which is usually shortened to just the UK or United Kingdom) is a political union made of up of four countries, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. England, Scotland and Wales share the island of Great Britain, which lies just off the northwest coast of continental Europe. The fourth country, Northern Ireland, is a portion of another island, which is split between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, an independent country, in the south. The UK also has overseas territories such as Bermuda and Gibraltar.
The union of Great Britain and Northern Island is the latest that has occurred over the last 300 years. Originally Scotland and England were two entirely separate countries with their own monarchs and political systems, and Wales fell under the control of England and was known as a principality.
Over the years, various acts of union have taken place that have brought England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland together, and Ireland was later to gain independence in 1922 leaving the current split we see today.
The British Empire was once a world force, with territory as far flung as India, Canada, South America and Africa. Although colonial days are far gone and there has been a steady decline in the British Empire and the UK’s influence around the world, the UK is still a major political and economic force, with membership in the G8 and an economy that is the fifth largest in the world and second largest in Europe. The UK’s colonial history also means that it has been subject to a multitude of international influences and influxes of people, helping to create the multi-cultural society that exists today.
UK has become one of the top destinations to study around the world. With traditions of excellence dating back hundreds of years, high class institutions in every corner and much more flexibility than many other countries, the United Kingdom has much to offer international students that other English-speaking countries cannot offer.
But what makes the United Kingdom stand out? Why should you come to the UK as a destination to further your international education?
International students have always been an important presence in the UK, and their numbers have been growing steadily over the years. In fact, the UK is now the second most popular destination for international students, behind the US. The UK has worked hard to capitalize on the growing demand for English-language instruction and the post-9/11 visa hurdles in the US.
Degrees and qualifications from UK higher education institutions are known around the world as high quality and world class. This standard of excellence is set by some of the older universities with recognizable names, such as Oxford and Cambridge, but the tradition carries through to many of the universities and colleges throughout the UK. When looking for work in the future, this can be a great selling point in your favour!
Education Costs are Lower
The cost of education for an international student in the UK can beis generally lower compared to the USA and other countries. Programs in the USA can be $25,000 or more a year in tuition alone. Tuition for the majority of UK higher education institutions generally £6,000 to £7,000 a year – considerably less!
Because your degree will generally take less time to complete in the UK than in other countries, this will also save you money. Although four-year programs are increasing in popularity, most degree programs in the UK are three years, and a masters program is typically between one and two years.
Although international students can manage their affairs so that their UK education is affordable, UK policymakers are taking note of an alarming trend in the cost of education for non-EU students. With exchange rates climbing, life in the UK can be quite expensive. In addition, unlike in many other EU countries, non-EU students are charged higher rates in the UK than students from EU countries. One recent study from the Higher Education Policy Institute warned that the UK must act to contain and reduce tuition and costs to stay competitive in the hunt for international students. At InternationalStudent.com, we are always cheered when policy-makers take note of the increasing costs of international education. As global competition for international students heats up, we’ll be watching for the UK to act aggressively to keep the UK a primary destination for international students.
An international student in the UK is typically allowed to work up to 20 hours a week during school term, and up to full-time when school is out of term. Of course, you should always check with your international advisor at your school before starting any work – you do not want to be in violation of your visa, and rules change frequently. Also, it is not always easy to find a job, so relying on work income to fund your education is not a good idea. Unless you have employment set up through your school before you arrive, you should plan to fund the entire first year of your studies without any employment income.