Curious about life as an international student in the UK? Whether you are just starting to plan your study abroad trip to the UK or you have received an offer letter from your dream programme, this article will help you adapt to your new life in the UK. In this article, we’ve gathered information about living costs and student life, as well as tips on making the most of your overseas experience, for you.
Student Life in the UK
Exercise and Workout
You don’t need to worry about having no place to work out after you arrive in the UK. With its mild weather, the UK is great for outdoor activities. Many people go for a morning run. Most universities in the UK have gyms or swimming pools which you enjoy at a student price. If you are not an early bird, you can also work out at the school gym after your classes.
Most international students in the UK cook their own meals to save money. Before you leave for the UK to study, learn to cook a few dishes. You can also look up recipes on BBC Food. Learn how to cook or even better, learn how to cook by using local ingredients in the UK!
Many international students experience cultural shock in how certain food is called differently in the UK from home. For example, eggplants are aubergines in the UK. Zucchinis are courgettes in the UK. Chips are not potato chips but French fries. If you want to buy potato chips, they are called crisps there.
You can plan your meals for the next week during weekends and do your grocery shopping for the week. Prepare your meals on Sunday evening. During the weekdays, you are likely to be caught up with thesis and group discussions and you can simply heat the meals you have prepared and work on your studies. You can even ask students who are already in the university if there are microwave ovens in the school and if so, find out where you can use one. Guess what, you can chat with students who are studying there now and see what they know!
Other than supermarkets near the university, you can also explore local markets and Asian supermarkets. If you are too busy to cook and don’t want to have a cold sandwich for your meal, then student cafeteria is another option to enjoy warm food.
Study Hard, Play Hard
Courses at universities in the UK are conducted differently. Instructors provide guidance, whereas students are responsible for studying the materials, including previewing and reviewing them before and after the class and completing assignments.
In addition, courses for a master’s degree are to be completed in a year in the UK education system. As a result, international students that study in the UK will have to spend a large portion of their time abroad on their studies.
But, of course, there’s still time to unwind, say Fridays or holidays, when your study workload is less taxing. You can arrange a short trip to neighbouring areas or hang out with friends and classmates, experiencing local social life. Your classmates are most likely from various countries and it’d be a great chance for you to interact with people of different backgrounds and increase your cultural diversity.
Furthermore, International students are allowed to work part-time in the UK. If time permits, you can seek a part-time job or internship opportunity. But, do keep in mind that you are a student and your academic performance should be a priority.
How to Fit In with the Locals
Pub Culture is also integral to every international student’s life in the UK. Pubs are where British people like to hang out with friends. You can also meet and socialise there. You don’t have to drink in pubs. You can order soft drinks like soda or juice at the pub and still have fun. Going to the pub with your classmates is a great way to fit in and immerse yourself in English.
On top of that, you can also sign up for activities organised by the school or join student societies. Interact with people from different countries and become a part of the student community without worrying about your English. No one is going to criticise your accent or grammar!
Studying in the UK: Tuition Fees and Other Expenses
UK University Tuition Fees
UK university tuition fees vary depending on location and subjects. Generally speaking, universities in London charge more. Course fees for medical students and STEM students tend to be higher than those for humanities students.
Typical costs of tuition of UK universities:
- Undergraduate degrees: £10,000-38,000 per year
- Master’s degrees: £11,000-32,000 per year
- MBA: £6,441-68,150 per year
House Rent in the UK
Some international students choose to rent flats outside the campus instead of living in student dorms. We’ve calculated the amount you need to spend on accommodation for your reference.
- Student dormitory (utility bills included): £400-600 per month
- Single room (with shared bathroom and a shared kitchen): £360-600 per month
- En-suite single room (with your own bathroom and a shared kitchen): £560-1000 per month
- Studio: £680-1600 per week
- Utility bills: £40-60 per month
Do keep in mind that house rents can be drastically different, subject to price changes, location and types of accommodation. Most international students prefer en-suite single rooms with a shared kitchen, where they can socialise with flat mates. But due to the pandemic, studios are increasingly popular. With a kitchen and shower for yourself, you are less likely to have close contact with others.
To learn more about choosing the best accommodation for you, reach out to our advisors for free one-on-one sessions.
Studying in the UK: Living Costs
If you cook your own meals, you can spend significantly less on food, roughly £200-300 per month. But, of course, everyone has their own dieting habits and food expenditure is, thus, different for everyone.
To know more about living costs in the UK for international students, visit Numbeo website and check out other living expenses.
Studying in the UK: Other Expenses
- Entertainment: £150-250 per month
- Transportation fees: £1.5-2.5 per ride (bus)
- Student visa fees: £348 (one-off payment)
- Student healthcare insurance: £150 per year
- NHS for international students: £470 per year
Make the most of your time in the UK—study hard and explore neighbouring countries. There are many budget airlines where you can get cheap flights if you book in advance. You can also travel by railway. With a student railcard, you can get tickets at 30% off. Another way to save money is to book off-peak tickets or travel on overnight coaches.
Can’t wait to start your student life in the UK? Read on to learn 6 reasons to study in the UK and feel confident about your decision to pursue higher education in the UK.
6 Reasons to Study in the UK
1. High-quality education at a reasonable price
Higher education in the UK is universally acknowledged to be among the best in the world. Under close scrutiny, UK universities are always bettering themselves, providing innovative curricula and learning experiences as well as the most up-to-date knowledge. In the 2022 World University Ranking published by the Times, 8 UK universities are in the top 50, while 28 rank in the top 200 worldwide.
Both taught and research Master’s programmes are designed to be completed in one academic year, so the tuition fees and living costs are not as high.
2. Relatively short but diverse courses
Undergraduate programmes for international students last four years: a one-year foundation and a three-year programme in your field of interest. International students, after finishing the 12th year, can take foundation first and start their undergraduate studies afterwards.
Postgraduates, on the other hand, are mostly one-year programmes. You can earn your degree in a shorter period of time compared to studying in other countries.
Universities in the UK offer a wide variety of courses and modules for you to choose from, some of which you may not even have heard of. For students who lean towards further academic studies, UK universities offer excellent research programmes. There are also industry-leading courses. Many universities include internship or work placement opportunities, allowing students to gain practical experience.
Don’t hesitate to contact us and learn more about UK university programmes. Our advisors are familiar with the UK education system and can help plan your study abroad journey based on your needs and background.
3. Easier application process
Unlike applying for universities in the US, you don’t need to prepare a bunch of documents and go through many different exams when you apply to study in the UK.
Furthermore, UK universities encourage students to try out different disciplines and offer postgraduate programmes for students who have bachelor’s degrees in unrelated fields. Universities in the UK are more likely to accept students from different disciplines. If you wish to pursue a different academic path, the UK is definitely your best choice.
4. Great transportation networks
Getting around in cities in the UK is easy. You don’t need to get a car. The railway takes you to all the other cities.
Not to mention that located in Europe, the UK is close to other major European cities. Paris is only a two-hour train ride away from London and, from there, Europe is open for exploration. Many international students take advantage of that and plan trips to continental Europe during breaks.
5. Rich culture
Of course, the UK is a country with a rich history and culture. Many public museums offer free and pay-what-you-wish admission models. Private museums, however, require entrance fees. They can no doubt enrich your life as an international student in the UK.
6. Career prospects after graduation
Since the introduction of new immigration policies in 2021, international students who completed an undergraduate degree or above are eligible to apply for a Graduate visa, also known as post-study work visa. It allows you to work in the UK for two years upon graduation.
In the past, students were only given four months. Now they have two years to settle and look for a suitable job, starting their international careers.
Plan your studies with Intake and realise your dream in the UK
Studying abroad is a great investment in yourself or your children. Not only will you grow academically and excel in a foreign language during your time in the UK, but you will also learn to live on your own and develop important life skills, such as problem solving. Studying abroad is an experience of a lifetime, opening your eyes to different cultures and helping shape you as a person.
If you wish to learn more about studying in the UK, please don’t hesitate to contact us and book a free one-on-one appointment with our advisors. Based on your needs and background, our advisor can help you plan your studies in the UK.
We also often hold seminars on various topics concerning studying abroad, which you can sign up for free and begin your study abroad journey with us.