The United Kingdom is a country that includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The United Kingdom is an extremely popular study abroad destination, and for good reason. The exceptional global reputation of U.K. universities combined with the exciting and diverse culture of modern Great Britain make the U.K. an extremely attractive prospect for international studies.
Even if your chosen field of study isn’t necessarily tied to Great Britain, there are still a broad range of reasons you should consider traveling to the U.K.
Why you should study abroad in the U.K.
It’s an English-speaking country. If you aren’t comfortable navigating a region where you don’t speak the language, the U.K. could be the destination for you. You have the benefit of understanding the locals (and being understood), but you’re still engaging with people of a different culture. It’s a great way to build your confidence, so that one day you can visit a region whose customs, traditions and language are unfamiliar to you.
The universities are world-class. Many universities in the U.K. are ranked as being among the best in the world. Moreover, employers regard students who’ve studied in Great Britain quite highly, as qualifications from many U.K. universities are very well-respected. No matter what you decide to study – whether it’s nanotechnology or theater arts – you’ll find a renowned academic program.
You’ll benefit from a different academic philosophy. American schools tend to schedule quizzes and exams on a weekly basis, while U.K. universities only have a few major exams throughout the year, with the majority of the terms being dedicated to lectures. Because universities in the U.K. aren’t as heavily exam-oriented as schools in the U.S., you’ll learn to be a bit more disciplined and self-reliant in terms of the structure of your education.
Diverse student population. The international student population in the U.K. is very large, and increases yearly. You’ll be exchanging ideas with students from different backgrounds, and who have different philosophies and worldviews. This is an excellent training ground for a holding a leadership position, since you’ll learn how to interact with disparate personalities successfully.
You get access to four unique countries. It is very easy to plan brief getaways to different regions. The U.K. consists of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales – each with its own history and culture. While English is spoken nearly universally in all four countries, significant portions of the population speak Cornish, Gaelic, Scots and Welsh. Even though you can comfortably speak English anywhere, it is still a good opportunity to pick up a few phrases of the old Celtic languages.
The incredible food. Although British food has gotten an historically bad rap, over the past few decades the fare has become more dynamic and multi-cultural. Although nearly everyone loves the fish-and-chips, you have a huge bounty of culinary choices, from Indian food to upscale gastropub fare. Even traditional dishes have improved mightily, thanks to celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver and Heston Blumenthal.
Public transportation is excellent. If you don’t anticipate having access to a car, fear not – most major cities were planned to accommodate foot traffic, and the transit lines are very efficient and quite inexpensive. A single transit card is good for every type of public transportation.
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