On education in Europe and the USA

Clever Magazine
United Kingdom Universities Student life Daria Bella Matuznaia

Being an International Student in England

The United Kingdom is a gem for tempted travellers like myself. It is an epicentre of cultural development, a country of gothic architecture, national parks, festivals, museums and most importantly, great education. Therefore, the flow of students seeking to study there never declines. Whether these are boarding schools or universities, people around the world are attracted to British education as if it was a magnet. However, my opinion remains unchangeable-before moving; international students should be prepared for certain unique traits inherent to this country and for the difficulties of studying abroad, which usually go hand in hand.

Here I want to talk about four aspects that international students should take into account; academics, financial and emotional components, as well as to touch on climatic peculiarities.

Academic aspect

UK education system has a strong reputation. Yet, it can highly differ from what international students are used to in their home country. For example, unlike other countries where modules are graded by written and/or oral examination, some university's grading systems, like mine, are primarily based on coursework. Therefore, writing and doing research can be the bigger part of the course. Furthermore, seminars are discussion-based, so reading specialised literature becomes a routine for those studying in the United Kingdom.

Another critical comment I want to make when it comes to education in the UK is the institutions' particularly negative attitude towards plagiarism. As cultural differences in plagiarism vary, students from China, South Korea, Japan and Post-Soviet countries may not perceive it as serious academic misconduct. However, the consequences of violation of academic integrity in UK institutions are severe: failing grades, exclusion from research projects or even expulsion.

Financial aspect

The issue of money is probably the greatest concern when it comes to studying in the United Kingdom. Not only is university tuition highly expensive, but also living there causes plenty of spending. As an international student coming to the UK, you can expect to pay around £1300-£1400 per month in London or £900-£1300 in the rest of the UK to cover your accommodation, bills, groceries, and a range of other living expenses during your studies.

However, if I'll be personal, studying in London is especially tempting. Hundreds of colourful stores, neon billboards and diverse food are appealing and can also cause some extra money. A factor that needs to be considered is when income is sourced in a currency other than pounds and prices in your home country are different, it can be more difficult to keep track of spending.

Moreover, setting up a UK bank account is extremely important to lead a happy student life; it is necessary to buy a sim card, pay taxes, and even buy a gym membership. In order to open a student bank account, it is mandatory to provide a permanent address in the UK and a statement from the university. It can be done online or through an appointment in a bank. It will take a couple of days for the account to be made and some time for the card to arrive at the provided address.

Emotional component

Many people consider mental health a less important factor when it comes to being an international student, yet, I think it is the dominant one. Fortunately or unfortunately, productivity is highly affected by the conditions we live in and how we feel. For some, being far away from home is unbearable; others regard it as a necessary sacrifice. When choosing a boarding school or a dormitory in your university, pay attention to the location and select the one you feel comfortable at.

For instance, if you cannot tolerate large cities, don't choose an institution located in one. Sounds obvious, but it's better not to test yourself. Under stress conditions, "We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training" (Archilocus). Bring as much home comfort to your dormitory as you can. If you like tea as much as I do, bring your favourite cup, bring a blanket that you are used to, it is always better to pay for an extra bag than lower your productivity.

Climatic peculiarities

The United Kingdom is world-famous for its rainy and foggy weather. However, the climate in some cities is more pleasant for studying than others. Having lived in Oxford and London, I observed how varying weather conditions affected me and my education. Even though it often rains in both cities, Oxford displays less sharp weather changes and mists instead of rains. The quality of water and air is better. In comparison, London shows a greater tendency to dull and rainy weather. The water has a higher concentration of limestone, having a negative effect on skin and hair conditions.

These factors should be considered when choosing your institution's location, as they can impact mental and physical health.