Whether it's your first time overseas or your fifth, you really can't go wrong choosing to study abroad anywhere in the United Kingdom. You'll have your pick of just about any imaginable major, language won't be an issue (although the different accents can make for a fun challenge), and the universities are top-notch.
You can choose to study in the countryside or the city. Public transportation makes it easy to spend your free time visiting other areas of the UK, and cheap flights are always available to take you to mainland Europe.
Study abroad in the UK for a summer, semester, or year. Go to Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, or England. There are so many programs to choose from. This might seem daunting at first, but remember you can always go back!
Where to Go
There's a good reason why London is one of the top study abroad choices for U.S. students. Students have their pick of any major at some of the top schools in the world. Outside of the classroom, students can find unlimited entertainment.
If you're looking for a slower pace of life, quality education is available in other areas of England too - and for a fraction of the cost in some cases. Learn more from Go Overseas about Studying Abroad in England.
Wales might not be the first place you consider, but Cardiff has one of the UK's top universities, and the beach in Swansea is well-known for its beauty. Find out more about these cities in this guide on Studying Abroad in Wales.
Though England and Wales have many similarities, you'll find some interesting differences in Welsh culture. Did you know Welsh, the ancient Celtic language, is still spoken in Wales? You could even take a class for fun while you're studying there!
Make Scotland your home for a summer, semester, or year and you won't be disappointed. Study hard at one of Scotland's many impressive universities. Then spend your evenings and weekends getting to know the people and sites in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and more. You can read more about these cities in the Go Overseas guide to Studying Abroad in Scotland.
Political science majors can stroll the streets of Derry or Belfast and hear locals giving their opinions on current policies. Students of history, literature, and earth sciences will enjoy the Northern Irish landscape. Take a bus into the country and you'll be transported to indescribable sites that inspired folktales of giants and witches.
Small, but mighty, Northern Ireland has a great deal to offer international students. Learn all about this location in this guide to Studying Abroad in Northern Ireland.
Planning Your Trip
How to Choose a Study Abroad Program in the UK
If you're on a super tight budget, look for programs in smaller cities. Short term programs will cost less, but you're more likely to find funding for longer study abroad options.
Bigger cities will have a greater number of majors available. But even at the lesser-known universities in the UK, you'll find a good variety of programs.
If you can talk to people who've been to the UK, ask them to tell you about their experience. There are so many great options in the UK. When in doubt, go with your gut!
Most universities in the UK will have student housing available for study abroad programs lasting at least one semester. This will almost certainly be the easiest option. There might be a meal plan available, but if you're trying to save money you can opt-out. You'll likely have a shared kitchen area where you can make meals inexpensively.
You'll just need your passport to study in the UK unless you'll be overseas for more than six months. If you're going for a full academic year, you'll need to get accepted to the study abroad program before you can apply for the visa. Make sure you start this process as soon as you can. Getting a visa is not a process you want to do at the last minute.
Social Life & Student Culture
Many universities in the UK will have a student union. Sometimes these organizations are well-run and popular with students, sometimes not so much. You'll also probably have an opportunity to join a variety of student clubs. These function just like campus clubs in the United States and can be a great way to meet people and make lasting friends.
Health & Safety
Homesickness and culture shock is a real thing. Get involved on campus and be aware of the counseling services available to international students.
When you're out and about, use solid judgment. The two best rules to keep in mind are:
- Don't go anywhere alone if you can help it, especially at night.
- Don't drink too much.
Although the UK is not a high-risk place to study abroad, there are areas where talking about politics can bring about heated debates. It's best to avoid this topic unless you are with people who bring it up.
Costs & Funding
Typical Program Cost
While program costs can vary, study abroad programs in London will usually cost the most, especially when you factor in the cost of living. Some of England's most prestigious schools will also require hefty program fees. If you study at lesser-known universities in smaller cities, the program cost can go down significantly.
Expect to pay within the following ranges for your study abroad program in the UK:
- $2700 to $8000 for short-term programs
- $13,000 to $22,000 for fall or spring semester
- $23,000 to $50,000 for one academic year
For short term programs that last one month or less, you might consider personal or small-group fundraising efforts. Pick up extra shifts, find babysitting gigs, have a yard sale or a car wash. As soon as you make the decision to study abroad, you can set up a fundraising profile. Ask family and friends to donate for your birthday and Christmas. It might not cover the full cost, but it's a start!
If you are studying abroad in the UK for a semester or year, you can look into using student loans, especially if you are going with a third-party provider. However, if your university has an exchange system in place, you'll continue paying the same amount of tuition.
There are tons of scholarships out there for students going overseas for a semester or year. You can find great information on need-based scholarship options right here on Go Overseas.
Some organizations even offer scholarships for summer international programs. But it's harder to find funding for trips under two weeks. Check with your home college to see if they offer any internal scholarships for week-long programs.