The UK is known for hosting some of the best universities and colleges in the world which is why most institutions welcome international students into their student population.
Education institutions in Britain have had a long history of welcoming international students, and each year, around 250,000 to 300,000 overseas students come to the UK to study programmes from English language courses to university degrees. The UK is the second most popular destination in the world for international students, and there are many reasons why you should study here in the UK.
Why study in the UK?
British qualifications are recognised internationally as well as valued by employers throughout the world. You can choose from a wide range of vocational (career based) courses that are designed and awarded by recognised industry bodies and world class companies.
Whilst you are studying in the UK, you have the opportunity to improve your CV and work experience by working and improving the languages you speak as well as developing skills. You can experience a new culture, meet a range of new people and hone your personal skills such as independence and adaptability.
What is in the UK?
The UK is home to 7 out of the top 10 universities in Europe, according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (2014), with Oxford, Cambridge and London Imperial College ranking in the top 10 of the world! The UK only holds 1% of the world’s population, but it has 5% of world’s scientific research producing 14% of the world’s most cited academic papers.
The Financial side
If your course is longer than 6 months, and your student visa permits, you can work in the UK to support your studies. You will have free health care on the NHS (National Health Service) and could save money but studying in an institution outside of London.
If you are not a citizen of the EU (European Union), and you want to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a UK Student Visa. There are many different types of visa, with their own conditions and restrictions. The type of visa you will need will depend on your age, type of course you want to study, the length of your course and the type of college or university you will attend.
There is the Student Visitor Visa and a Tier 4 Student Visa. A Student Visitor Visa (SVV) is perfect for short academic courses and for most English courses, for longer academic courses you will need a Tier 4 Visa. The Tier 4 Visa is divided into two categories; Tier 4 (General) and Tier 4 (child), and they are issued under the provisions of the UK Points Based System (PBS).
For more information visit the UK Border Agency website.
The average cost for international students to study in the UK, according to a research conducted by HSBC, not including costs of living (which are about additional £9,000 annually), is £11,933 each and every year. Exchanging local currency to Pounds, and transferring the funds to the UK might cost thousands more in commissions, if you use high-street banks. FX companies work on much smaller margins and help many students worldwide save money. The Best Currency Transfer Companies list is accessible via this link, and can help you make an educated choice on this matter.
If you have completed at least 12 years of study, at a high school or secondary school in your own country, your school leaver’s certificate may be sufficient for entry to some courses. If you are unsure, contact the institution or university direct to double-check. If your qualifications are not enough for a direct entry to university, you can take A Levels or a University Foundation Course/University Foundation Programmes or International Foundation Years. These take less than a year to complete and enable students to progress onto a university degree course if they are successful, some programmes even provide a guaranteed entry on successful completion.
What are A Levels?
A Levels are qualifications and UK public examinations taken usually by students aged 16-18, they can be taken through Open University or institutions who take mature students after this stage. They are recognised by all UK academic institutions. The standard A Level course usually takes two years, but can be done in a longer or shorter time depending on where you take them.
Which is best for me, a University Foundation Course or A Levels?
A University Foundation course will provide a fast-track route to UK universities and are usually cheaper than alternatives. Make sure that the university you want to study at recognises the foundation course before planning this route. A Levels are more academically demanding than the University Foundation Course, take longer to complete and are more expensive, especially because some universities or courses need 2 or more to be considered.
You can always contact the universities and speak to the admissions office or they may have members of staff for international students to answer any queries you my have. Studying in the UK will open up so many possibilities and opportunities, and when it comes to education and career prospects, it will be worth it.