The United Kingdom has one of the highest number of international students in the world. Many students choose to come to the UK for their studies since, like the US, it’s an English-speaking country. However, unlike the US, the education is comparatively less expensive. The UK has an excellent higher-education system with hundreds of world-class universities, leading to a huge number of international students. No matter where you come from, or what you’re studying, international students will all have some common experiences when studying abroad in the UK.
The UK is totally different from any other country, and coming to the UK gives you the opportunity to experience the traditional English culture. As the UK is relatively small compared to many other countries, you also have the chance to explore other cities apart from the one you’re studying in. Each and every part of UK is very beautiful, with incredible historical towns and beautiful beaches to visit around the country.
Whenever you have a break, you can easily fly to neighbouring countries. Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany and Ireland are all just a few hours away from the UK. With travel convenient and relatively cheap, it is easy to plan a lovely weekend away with your friends or have a trip to Paris to celebrate your birthday.
The UK is surrounded by the most beautiful islands such as the Isle of Wight, Anglesey, the Isle of Man and the Isle of Skye. These stunning coastlines will take your breath away, and you will fall in love with their natural charms, wide shoreline and alluring hills.
Who doesn’t love exploring and experimenting with food? British food tends to be more plain than other international cuisines, but there are some traditional dishes like a Sunday roast dinner that shouldn’t be missed. England has also always welcomed the food of other countries; you will find delicious dishes from every nation here, from sushi to tacos and pizza to Chinese noodles.
Each and every university in the UK has international societies of almost every country to make their new students feel at home. Finding a society focused around your home country at your university means you’ll have an instant group of friends and avoid homesickness. Whenever a national holiday or festival from your home country is coming up, you can help organise an event through the society to celebrate it as you would at home. You can also take your new friends from Britain or other countries to these events and introduce them to your culture and heritage.
When you move to another country, sometimes it’s difficult to adjust to a totally new place with a new culture. You might struggle with the local surroundings, trying to find out which are the best shops at which to do grocery shopping or which are the best restaurants in the city, but the struggle won’t last long. Once you make new friends, it becomes easy to explore things and do things. If you make British friends in your university, they’ll also be able to explain any cultural nuances or quirks that you don’t understand.
Who doesn’t like to party? The UK has a great pub culture, where you can relax with your friends over a huge variety of beer, ciders or wine. The UK also has fantastic nightlife, especially around student areas, and it’s not unusual to visit two or three different clubs in one night to dance with your friends to your favourite songs. Going to parties is the best way to meet new people and as an international student, everyone will want to hear about where you’re from and life in your home country.
Gradually, over the period of your stay, you will have the best experience. Leaving your home country and all your friends may feel difficult, especially if it is your first time striking out by yourself. It’s normal to feel homesick at first, but by immersing yourself in student life both in and out of the classroom, you’ll soon make new friends from all over the world. When your time studying in the UK is over, you won’t want to go home, and youwill be determined to come back to the UK for all your future holidays!
This article was written in association with Wessex Scene, a student publication based at the University of Southampton.