Students around the world have long been drawn to study in the UK. And, it’s for a good reason. The UK is known for its world-class education, diversity, and bustling student cities – making it a great place to study abroad.
In recent years, the UK has also announced more incentives to attract international students – such as visa changes and friendlier immigration policies. Overall, it hopes to recruit 600,000 international students per year by 2030. In 2019/2020, international university students made up 22% of the student population!
So, why should you consider studying in the UK? In this article, we’ll explore 7 benefits and how studying at a UK university can help prepare you for the future.
1. The UK is home to top universities
UK universities are among the most respected in the world. In fact, according to QS World University Rankings 2021, eight UK universities are ranked among the top 50 universities globally. They are:
- University of Oxford (5)
- University of Cambridge (7)
- Imperial College London (8)
- University College London (10)
- University of Edinburgh (20)
- University of Manchester (27)
- King’s College London (31)
- London School of Economics and Political Science (49)
Universities in the UK are well-known for their R&D capabilities, medicine, and arts and humanities courses – and there are more than 100 universities to choose from. To see which universities in the UK excel in your specific area of study, QS World University Rankings also breaks down universities by subject.
2. It’s incredibly diverse
Fourteen percent of the population in the UK was born abroad, about 9.5 million people. This means international students who move overseas to the UK could have the opportunity to learn about numerous different cultures and make friends with people from around the world. This is especially true if you’re moving to London, where 35% of the population was born outside the UK. Even more, you’ll also likely be able to stay closely connected with your own culture, through attending community events or visiting restaurants that serve food from home – things that can help with homesickness and culture shock.
3. There is support for overseas students
There is plenty of support for international students in the UK. This might be online, through your university, or through the local government. For example, each university has an office set up to address international students’ needs, and answer questions about tuition, housing, and academic support, etc. You can also be in touch with this office before you apply to a university.
The UK Council for International Student Affairs, which is an advisory body for international students, boasts lots of great information on their website for international students, as well – including resources on mental health support, housing, working, and immigration. They also have a hotline you can call with questions. Learn more here.
4. Studying in the UK will improve your English skills
What better place to practice your English than England, where the language originated from? By studying in the UK, you’ll get the chance to hear numerous different British accents – including English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh, all of which might sound distinct in different regions.
Since the UK is so diverse, you’ll also be exposed to different English accents from around the globe, giving you a real-world listening experience you might not get at home.
5. There are job opportunities after graduation
This March, the government announced they’d soon open up applications for the Graduate route – a move that’s set to attract even more students to study in the UK. Starting in July, international bachelor’s and master’s students will be able to apply to stay for 2 more years after graduation, while international doctorate students can stay for 3 years. This makes it easier for new professionals to settle and begin their careers in the UK.
There are also lots of career opportunities, especially if you work in a job on the UK’s Shortage Occupation List. In the UK, there is a shortage of nurses, pharmacists, teachers, engineers – and more – and the government actively recruits professionals for these positions from abroad.
6. It’s a great place to live
So, what’s it like to live in the UK? According to the OECD Better Life Index, pretty good. People in the UK ranked their general satisfaction with life a 6.8 out of 10 (which is higher than the OECD average). The UK also ranks above average in things like jobs, education and skills, and social connections – all things that may be important to international students.
7. Finally, you’ll have a lot of fun
From London to Glasgow, to Manchester, to Nottingham, the UK is home to a whole range of great student cities for international students to explore.
You might want to enjoy the UK’s pub culture through university student nights or visit your new city’s world-class art galleries and museums. You’ll get the chance to tour centuries-old castles, and explore landscapes, cliff sides, and picturesque towns. Most of all, you’ll get to meet friends from around the world – and with them, enjoy all the UK has to offer.
PTE Academic can help you get started on your journey to the UK. Our English language test is accepted by 99% of UK universities as proof of English proficiency.