Why study in the UK? The UK and its universities have an undisputed reputation for academic excellence and quality with thousands of courses available for students, as well as being an ideal destination for many decades for over a million international students from all over the world.
There are a variety of reasons why you should consider studying in the UK. Some of these reasons might be exclusively academic for you, but in addition to the high-quality education, you will gain a lot of value from this one-of-a-kind experience, if you choose to study in the UK.
Furthermore, in comparison to the level of education offered to you, British universities are more affordable. There’s much more you need to know if you’re asking yourself why should I study in the UK. Let’s take a look.
Why studying in the UK is a perfect option for international students
The UK is one of the most popular countries to travel to for the purpose of earning an education. Generations of international students have come to the UK for their education, which means that British universities have decades of experience in working with international students. In other words, you’ll get the red carpet treatment from the time you start applying until you walk across the stage for your degree.
There are two major organizations that can help you find out what you need to do in order to study in the UK as an international student. The British Council can work with you on every aspect of applying to university, find which university fits your needs, and get ready to come to study in the UK. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service can also help you to apply to institutions across the UK as well.
After you’ve been accepted, your university will treat you well. Many institutions help you get from the airport to your living accommodation, and some even guarantee living accommodations for the first year you are there. Every university has an international student society that will help you become adjusted to life in the UK and connect you with other international students.
Currently, the competition in the job market is tougher than ever before. To be able to survive you must be equipped with top-level skills. What’s the best way of achieving this, except attending a top quality education? And what’s better than being able to cover all higher tuitions and other living expenses these places carry along entirely on your own? Knowing the financial struggles foreign students usually face abroad, this is why studying in the UK should be your top option.
If you want to seek an excellent higher education at the smallest price or dream of free education, you’re actually far from reality. In modern times, one without the other is pretty impossible. Indeed, the UK is a particular example of this.
British Universities are Affordable, No Matter Which You Choose
UK degrees take less time to attain than degrees in other countries. Where other countries take at least four years for an undergraduate degree and two or three years for a postgraduate degree; in the UK only takes three years for an undergraduate degree, and one year for a postgraduate (unless you are in research, then it may take 18 months to 2 years). That means that you are spending less money overall.
On top of that, there is a lot of “free money” (scholarships, grants, and bursaries) available from British universities or certain institutions that are just for international students. Over 20,000 international students also get other financial aid from the UK government, and you can work while you’re studying in the UK as well.
The UK has a Unique Culture
The UK is quite a unique country. Thousands of families from around the world have decided to live in the UK, which gives it a rich, multicultural atmosphere that you cannot find anywhere else in the world.
Every year, over 200,000 international students decide to study only in England, while the number of them choosing to study in the UK is even bigger. In the UK you’ll encounter a diverse community. You’ll get to mix and meet people throughout the world, and your experience will be even richer because of being able to interact with so many different types of people. You’ll get insights into other countries and cultures, and learn a lot more than you may have been able to in your home country.
The UK isn’t just unique because of its cosmopolitan flair, though. The UK holds a rich, interesting history that makes it an ideal place for people of all backgrounds. Commerce is also immense in cities like London. The nightlife is varied all over the country, and there is always something to do. Art galleries, concerts, open-air markets, and pubs are popular places for the English to congregate and enjoy themselves.
The UK is the Gateway to The Rest of Europe
If you want to travel to Europe, the UK is the place to be. In the United Kingdom alone, you can travel to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland and learn about the different backgrounds and lifestyles in each country. Public transportation makes it simple to travel the entire United Kingdom and take in the sights and sounds. As a student, you can receive special rates for transportation when you buy monthly passes.
Those same public transportation routes can be utilized to reach the rest of Europe. The Chunnel (English Channel Tunnel) can take you right into mainland Europe within a day. You can obtain public transportation passes for the countries close to the UK, and you can explore wherever you want on the continent. Just make sure you have the necessary paperwork to do so (passports), and take the time you’ll have on weekends and long breaks in order to take in the sights and sounds of the rest of mainland Europe.
Scholarships offered by UK Government
There are hundreds of scholarships, bursaries and grant schemes on offer for students who need extra support to pay for their UK course.
Depending on your nationality, you may be eligible for a loan or financial support from the UK government. Visit the UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) website for more details.
Postgraduate studentships can be found via a number of websites, including Postgraduate Studentships and Prospects.
Many institutions offer their own financial assistance, and you should check their websites for more details.
Science and research funding:
Euraxess UK: Research placements in the UK
Royal Society grants: Postdoctoral science research
The Newton Fund and other funding initiatives provide grants and other funding opportunities for researchers from certain countries.
You can apply for any of the following scholarships, providing you meet the scholarship program criteria.
Chevening Award: Postgraduate scholarships from the UK government aimed at students with potential as future leaders
Commonwealth Scholarships: Postgraduate scholarships for nationals of Commonwealth countries funded by the UK government and intended to support individuals who will subsequently make a contribution to the development of their home country
Country-specific scholarships and funding:
There are many different scholarships available, and some depend on where you are from.
A.S. Hornby Trust Scholarship Program: Scholarships for English language teachers to develop their English language skills
Scotland’s Saltire Scholarships: Scholarships for postgraduate master’s studies in the areas of science, technology, creative industries, healthcare and medical sciences, and renewable and clean energy.
International Atomic Energy Agency Scholarships: Fellowships for graduates
Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan: Master’s and doctoral courses (for study in the UK and distance learning), plus academic, professional and medical fellowships
Charles Wallace Pakistan Trust Scholarships: Doctoral studies, research, visiting fellows and Scottish summer school
Marshall Sherfield Fellowships: Post-doctoral research in science and engineering at any university in the UK
UK Student Visa Requirements
All international students who want to study in the UK are required to get a student visa (Tier 4). This type of visa is only available to full-time university students pursuing a degree in the UK, and not short-term or language courses.
Anyone who is planning to study in the UK is required to have a visa in order to stay in the country for an extended period of time. Immigration requirements for the UK (and the United Kingdom as a whole) are determined by your nationality and the country(ies) that you have citizenship in. This part of the guide will focus on giving you a general idea of the guidelines for getting a visa to study in the UK.
How to apply for a student visa in the UK?
The application for a student visa in the UK can be carried online, by post or in person. Note that you can apply online only from outside of the UK, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man (except North Korea). Those who are residing in the UK at the time of application must apply in person or by post.
What documents do I need?
Always have in mind that visa restrictions and requirements in the UK change regularly. Therefore, you must always check the official visa policy guidelines before initiating an application.
Currently, your student visa application requirements in UK change based on your citizenship and the type of visa you’re applying for. Depending on your purpose of visit in the UK whether it is for health issues, studying, familiar union and so forth, you need to seek a proper visa and particular visa requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions about UK Student Visa
When can I apply?
You can apply for your student visa in UK 3 months before your course starts. Once you submit a university application you’ll receive (or you can request it) a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies. This document will entitle you as an admitted student in the UK and therefore you’re eligible to seek a visa. Use the CAS number to support your student visa application form.
Can I work while studying in the UK?
Yes, you can. Under current legal regulations in the UK, you are allowed to find a part-time job while studying. As a government-sponsored international student who attends a course for 6 months or longer, you’re allowed to work up to 20 hours per week. However, make sure your university is listed on the list of recognized higher education providers in the UK. At this link is the full list of these recognized bodies.
Can I bring my relatives in the UK with my student visa?
You can, but there are some restrictions and exemptions applied you must be aware of. As a government-sponsored student, you can bring in the UK your dependents if you’re enrolled in an undergraduate course longer than 6 months or in a postgraduate course longer than 12 months at a recognized university.
First, you need to know what is regarded as a dependent. Your spouse/wife and children are considered as your Tier 4 dependents. Other relatives are not.
Next, your dependent must prove good financial resources in order to be given the right to come in the UK as you’re dependent. The amount of money required in this case can be held by you or by your dependent.
Your dependent can work in the UK under these circumstances
- You’re attending an undergraduate degree course longer than 6 months or a postgraduate degree course longer than 12 months.
- A newly introduced rule in the UK states that those dependents who submit an immigration application on or after 06 July 2018 will be allowed to work even if your course is longer 9 months or longer.
How much does it cost to get a student visa in the UK?
Naturally, applying for a UK student visa carries a certain fee which may depend on your nationality and the type of visa you’re willing to get. Furthermore, the student visa fee scheme changes from time to time so you must always check the official sources.
If you apply from outside the UK for a Tier 4 Student visa you will need to pay £335. If you’re applying from within the UK the following prices may apply to you
- Standard service – £457
- Priority service – £916
- Premium service – £1047
Note: A charge for your membership at the Immigration Health Service is included.
At this link, the UK’s governmental site shows the exact cost of applying for a visa in the UK, including student visas. Just select your country from where you’re applying, the type of visa you want to get and the purpose of your visit to the UK and there it is.
How to get a work visa after studies in the UK
If you’re thinking to remain in the UK for a certain period after getting your degree there are various options for you. As long as your student visa is valid you’re allowed to find a full-time job and work in the UK. After your visa expires, you must contact the Home Office if you want to extend its validity.
However, there are some restrictions, you must be aware of. These are the types of job you’re not allowed to seek
- A permanent full-time job
- Self-employed or Freelancer
- A doctor in Training, Coach, sportsperson or entertainer (except in a certified Foundation Program)
Below are given some of the ways you can extend the duration of your staying in the UK by seeking a proper visa.
Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme – Students that are at the final stage of completing their Ph.D. in the UK and are thinking to find a job or establish a business can seek an extension for up to 12 months. To get this visa a sponsorship from your university is required.
Tier 2 (General) – The most common route to immigrate and work in the UK is by taking a Tier 2 (General) visa. You can only seek this visa if there’s a Tier 2 licensed employer who’s offering you a job. This type of visa is valid for up to 5 years.
Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur – If you have an idea to set a business in the UK, you can get a Tier 1 visa. You don’t need a sponsorship for this visa, but an approval from the University or UK Trade and Investment is required. Its validity lasts for 12 months and after that, you can ask for another extension of 12 months.
UK Ancestry – If your grandparent was born in the UK and you want to work in the UK you can get such a visa. Its validity lasts for 5 years.