The benefits (and hurdles) of studying abroad in the UK
Find out whether student life abroad is for you
Studying at a university or college abroad can be a fantastic experience, and I would argue that the UK is the best place in the world to go. However, at the same time, it can be pretty terrifying starting a new course in a foreign country hundreds of miles from your friends and family.
Here I'm going to take you through some of the benefits of studying in the UK, as well as the problems you may face and how to overcome them.
The many benefits
The UK may not be that big, but it has a number of truly world class universities. The top universities in the UK are also some of the top institutions in the world and names like Oxford, Cambridge (or Oxbridge if you like!), Imperial, UCL and Edinburgh are known internationally.
At least partly for that reason Britain is one of the most popular destinations in the world for overseas students. 15% of the total students in the UK are foreign, making up a total of over 330,000. Though this may not immediately seem like a benefit, it really is. With so many students arriving from all over the world, universities are fully prepared to give you all the help and support you need. Plus, if you ever start to feel homesick, you can guarantee there will be plenty of other students from your home country to make friends with.
London is by far the most popular city in the UK for international students and with good reason. With dozens of quality universities, there are plenty of spaces to fill, and the city is tailor made for students. There are endless bars, clubs and theatres for nights out, as well as museums, galleries and attractions to fill your spare days. Plus with the myriad of different people that make up the city, you can explore lots of different cultures all in one place.
The problems you may face
There's no point pretending that you're not going to find some things hard when you first start your studies abroad. You should prepare yourself as best as you can for the compete change in culture and lifestyle. However, even then there are some hurdles that are unavoidable.
Britain is a pretty expensive place to live, especially in the cities. If you're studying in London then chances are you'll be living on a tight budget during your stay. However, fortunately there are also thousands of part time jobs for students in the cities, giving you the opportunity to earn that extra bit of cash.
Similarly, the language will always be a problem when moving to a new country. If English isn't your first language, then the UK can be particularly hard place in this respect as relatively few people speak other languages. However, conversely, there is no better way to learn a new language than by living in the country.
Overall, starting a new university is a hugely exciting but difficult time for anyone. Going through that process in a different country makes these feelings that much more extreme. However, ultimately studying in the UK is like nothing else and the rewards will far outweigh any problems you face.
Andy Burrows is the Online Editor at ForeignStudents.com- the leading site for international students studying in the UK.