Studying abroad in England means many things. It means being among some of the oldest and most respected universities in the world. If you come from an English-speaking background, it means jumping right into meeting people without the difficultly of a language barrier. And yes, it means hearing that fantastic English accent all day, every day.
Whether you choose to study among the shops and pubs in the quaint old towns, the relaxing green hills of English countryside, or the hustle and bustle of London itself, you are sure to experience the wit and wonder that is England.
How to Enroll
Enrolling directly to universities in England is similar in a lot of ways to enrolling directly to universities in the U.S.
You'll deal directly with the university for all processes, from application to graduation. Almost all universities in England will have an office, department, or individuals who work specifically with international students to make the journey as smooth as possible for you.
If you aren't sure how to start, this list might help:
- Find the international student page on the university's website. If you don't see the word "International" in the main header, you'll probably find the link under the "study" header.
- Explore this page as much as possible. Look for information on cost, student life, and courses offered. Take into account how easy it is to navigate the site. A user-friendly website is a good sign that the college is up-to-date in other aspects too. You're going to come across a ton of information so you might consider starting a spreadsheet to compare different schools.
- Once you've got your options narrowed down, contact the international offices. Not only can you get additional questions answered, you can also get a feel for how people interact with potential students.
Third Party Provider (Partner)
Using a third party provider (3PP) is a common way to study abroad. They are a little like a travel agency specifically for students. By going through a 3PP, you remain enrolled at your home university but usually spend a summer, semester, or year abroad.
One benefit to this type of study abroad is that all the logistics are taken care of for you. You'll pay extra for this service, but if it's your first time abroad, it's nice not to worry about planning accommodation, classes, and excursions.
Choosing a 3PP can be a bit overwhelming especially as England is one of the most popular destinations for studying abroad. Reach out to people at the international office at your school for advice. Once you have a few recommendations, you can check out the reviews for those providers right here on Go Overseas.
Direct Exchange is similar to studying abroad through a 3PP, but it's generally less expensive. Two universities in different countries will form an agreement that says a certain number of students will switch places, usually for a semester or year. This exchange allows students who are switching places to continue paying tuition directly to their home university.
Some universities may only have one exchange program set up, some may have 25 or more. This means you may be limited on where you can study. Fortunately, England is a common choice. So if your college or university has several exchange options, there's a good chance England will be one of them.
Tuition costs for England can be pretty steep, comparatively, especially for international students. If you enroll directly to the university, you can expect to spend around £13,000 (GBP) on tuition for one year of undergraduate study. Keep in mind, many bachelor's degrees can be completed in 3 years in England. This is not including costs such as insurance, technology, and application fees. Many British universities will accept U.S. loans. So, depending on where you're looking, it could be comparable to out-of-state tuition in the U.S.
Cost of Living
Cost of living can vary widely for several reasons. Just as in most other countries, living in a big city is generally more expensive than living in a smaller town. It's also difficult to predict cost of living because it depends how you want to live.
Including accommodation, food, and travel, some universities give a range of £7000 to £8000 per school year. While others estimate spending will reach £15,000 per school year for most students. Some universities break it down further, indicating you should plan to spend at least £1000 to £1300 per month.
If you plan to study at a university or college in England for one full year or longer, you will need to apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa. This visa costs £328 but it does allow you to work certain jobs while you study. There are several do's and don'ts with visas that should be taken very seriously, so don't be afraid to ask questions. The international offices at English universities will be glad to assist.
MANY scholarships exist for international students wishing to study abroad in England. Here are some places to look and options to pursue:
- On the international student page for the university you're interested in (you'll find scholarships based on merit/academic, sports, music, global leadership potential, alumni-relations, research proposals, and more)
- Go Overseas!
- Fund raise online or around where you live
Oldest University in England
You might have guessed the oldest university in England is the University of Oxford. In fact, it's the oldest in the English-speaking world. Teaching at Oxford began around 1100 and this historic academic treasure was in full swing by the beginning of the 14th century, drawing positive attention from nobility and academics across borders.
If you attend the University of Oxford, not only will you gain a top-notch education, you'll be able to name-drop like never before. Here are a few to get you started: Bill Clinton, T S Elliot, Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, Stephen Hawking, and John Donne.
With such a reputation, it's no surprise that acceptance letters are not easily received. Approximately 7 out of every 32 students are accepted at the graduate level and only 8 out of 45 are accepted at the undergraduate level. Don't let these facts deter you. If the University of Oxford is your dream, it's good to know what you're up against.
Here's another, more encouraging, statistic. One third of Oxford's students are not from England. This means you'll be in capable hands and surrounded by some of the brightest minds from over 140 countries. It might also be a comfort to know that you have a few options for attending Oxford that range in feasibility.
If you enroll directly you will earn your entire degree from Oxford, a definite plus for the inevitable future job search. But you can also look into studying at the university for a summer, semester, or year through an exchange program with your home university or a third party provider.
You could also check out Oxford's Continuing Education options for some fun short-term learning opportunities. Your diploma might not say "Oxford", but you'll still be able to say you and Bill Clinton shared a seat.
Biggest University in England
With undergraduate and graduate numbers combined, the University of London has the most students of any university in England. The thought of going to school in one of the world's largest and most diverse cities with 174,000 other students may be daunting to some and exhilarating to others.
The great news is that the University of London offers the best of both worlds. The university is split into 18 different colleges and 9 specialist research institutes. So, while you'll be a part of UK's largest university, you'll simultaneously be a part of a more intimate group with similar interests.
It's surprisingly easy to feel alone in a big city, but there are plenty of options for connecting with like-minded people at a place like the University of London. Student Unions will provide all kinds of options for joining clubs and meeting people. And once you've got a good group, you certainly won't be short on places to go and things to do- many of which are free or discounted for students!
Another great benefit of choosing the University of London is the wide range of degree options. With around 80 degrees to choose from as an international student, you're sure to find what you're looking for. If you enroll directly with the university, you will also have the option of studying abroad while studying abroad. The University of London has connections around the world so you could spend one semester as close as Paris or as far as Tokyo.
Quirkiest Degree You Can Earn in England
The University of Brighton offers a BA degree in Fashion and Dress History. Brighton is city of art, rich cultural history, and a brilliant style of its own. There are few places in England better to earn this unique degree.
The degree combines an in-depth historical and anthropological study of fashion from the late 18th century with a practical study of fashion marketing and retailing. You'll have access to rare fashion collections at the university and around town that help supplement course material and lectures. You're also only a hour from London and a few hours away from Paris!
One cool feature of getting this degree at Brighton is the opportunity for placements in museums, galleries, and archives to see what it's really like to work in that field. Many students go on to work in curating for fashion museums because of this hands-on experience. Many others end up working with designers and magazine companies.
Whether you decide to enroll directly and spend 3 years at the University of Brighton, or find that a semester or year study abroad is better suited to your needs, you'll be able to experience the liveliness and color of the city. Attend festivals, explore cute and quirky shops, and get to know the people. You won't be disappointed!