From choosing the right field of study to location and affordability, there are a number of key factors to think about before you make that big decision
Studying abroad is a life-changing experience, it’s no wonder so many people dream of doing it. Being in a different country helps you to learn new languages, get to know other cultures, make new friends, overcome the challenges of living in foreign city, and become a more global citizen. All these experiences will stand you in good stead when it comes to finding the kind of work that you want and developing a rewarding career.
Deciding what to study, and where can feel quite challenging though. Here are some key pointers to get your started:
How do I choose what to study?
It can be daunting trying to decide what you want to study when there are so many options available. Start by looking at where your interests lie and identify what you are good at. It’s all about playing to your strengths. You will also need to be realistic and think about future job opportunities. A more general degree will allow you to keep your options open.
Specialised degrees offer the best opportunity when it comes to future career options. There is always a high demand for people in the healthcare sector, and the career options are vast. Other high-demand, high-paying jobs include lawyers, architects, accountants, engineers, and cybersecurity specialists.
How do I choose where to study?
Once you have a good idea of what you’d like to study, choosing where to study abroad is your next big decision. Studying in the UK is a great choice for international students; from the fantastic student lifestyle to the country’s reputation around the world as a centre of academic excellence, this multicultural country has more than 150 universities, each offering a wide range of degrees in diverse subjects. Popular options for students who want to study medicine are the University of Cambridge, the University of Aberdeen, the University of Edinburgh, and Imperial College London.
But that’s not all the country has to offer. From its beautiful countryside to bustling cities the UK is brimming with an enriching culture. As a curious student you will find hundreds of places and events that will capture your attention.
Which university is right for me?
Start with identifying those that offer the courses and subject areas you are interested in. University websites offer an enormous amount of information, and you can request prospectuses that will go into greater detail on the course offerings. Use subject specific as well as national university rankings to help you identify which universities specialise in your chosen field of interest.
How do I get a UK student visa?
You can apply for a student visa to study in the UK if you're 16 or over. You must also have been offered a place on a course by a licensed student sponsor, have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course, and speak, read, write and understand English. If you’re thinking of studying in the UK, you should take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic test.
Can I afford the tuition fees?
International undergraduate tuition fees vary considerably, starting at around £10,000 and going up to £38,000 or more for medical degrees.
However, a big benefit of studying in the UK is that the country offers a range of scholarships to all kinds of students. Some universities have their own student loan schemes for talented students from international backgrounds. Contact the university you're interested in attending to ask if they run a student loan scheme, and what the eligibility requirements are.
What about the cost of living?
Studying abroad gives you the chance to meet people from all over the world. Moving to a new destination is all about new experiences. Living with flatmates is a great way of making friends and saving money.
Sharing accommodation also means you get to make student life more enjoyable. If you and your flatmates enjoy similar tastes in food, you could even agree to split the cost on a weekly shop. Most cities in the UK also offer significant student discounts that make money management a little simpler.
Some important money-related questions to ask yourself are how much your accommodation will cost each term, how much you will need for travel on trains and buses, and what course extras you will be expected to pay for.
Flexible part-time job opportunities are easily available for international students studying in the UK. Off-campus part-time work is relatively easier to find than on-campus work. Jobs in events and hospitality, and working in bars, pubs and clubs bar work are among the best part-time jobs for students. Temp work in admin, sales, and customer service is another option, but you will have to be flexible when it comes to working hours.
As an international student, you will have access to free medical treatment through the National Health Service (NHS). All you have to do for this is pay a small amount when applying for your UK student visa.
Can I work in the UK after my studies?
Before you graduate you will need to think about whether you want to look for a graduate job in the UK, or whether you would like to find work in your home country. After you have completed your degree, you are likely to have four months left on your visa before it expires. You can use this time to work and to look for a full-time job.
Once you have successfully completed your course, you can apply to stay in the UK to work, or look for work, at any skill level for a maximum of two years (undergraduate or master’s degree) or three years (PhD).
The Skilled Worker visa is a points-based visa, sponsored by an employer, and is appropriate for many graduate level jobs and graduate schemes. The job you are applying for must be on the list of eligible occupations
Choosing to study in English
If you are looking to study or work in an English-speaking country, you must be able to demonstrate a high level of English language ability.
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is designed to help you study or work in the UK. Knowing English increases your chances of getting a good job in a multinational company within your home country or finding work abroad once you’ve graduated.
Ready to start your journey?
If you’re thinking of studying in the UK, you should take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic test.
IELTS is the world’s most trusted English test and is designed to help you study in the UK. Over three million people take our test every year. IELTS is accepted by more than 11,000 employers, universities, schools and immigration bodies around the world.
Visit https://takeielts.britishcouncil.org/ to learn more, or to book a test and start your journey now.