Studying in a new country can be a bit of a daunting prospect at first, but if you immerse yourself in a whole new culture then you’ll get an experience like no other.
The UK is one of the best places to further your education, and can be a rewarding opportunity for both your studies and your social life. If you’re planning on taking your education to the UK, here are some useful tips for international students about British culture and living in the United Kingdom.
The UK is home to some of Europe’s most breathtaking scenery – it is not just a flat nation of red telephone boxes and green meadows. There are hills, mountains, rivers and lakes to explore all around the British Isles. Whether you want to visit the Scottish Highlands, the White Cliffs of Dover or the Lake District, all you need to do is hop on a train. With railways all over the UK, there’s plenty of opportunity to see every part of the UK whilst studying.
Speaking of exploring, getting by in the UK is pretty easy and there’s plenty of options when it comes to transport. Hop on a coach, train or bus, and see what you can find! Those in London may find that using the city’s underground system is convenient for getting from A to Z, so invest in an Oyster card which can be used across the bus, Tube and tram systems. Anyone in full time education and living at a London address can take advantage of the 18+ Student Oyster photocard which will help save on fares.
There are around 50,000 pubs in Great Britain (according to the Campaign for Real Ale), which works out as almost five per square mile. Even in this modern age, the old-fashioned pub is still a big part of British life – as you will quickly see for yourself. It is a place to meet friends, watch sports, enjoy a hearty meal, or relax with a few drinks (often all four of those things!). In London, you will have plenty of choice when it comes to pubs. As England’s capital, it has some of the oldest in all of Britain – like Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, which was built in 1538 and then rebuilt in 1667 after the Great Fire of London.
Arts and music
The UK has a great arts and music scene, and is critically acclaimed across the world - so be sure to take in the sights and sounds of what the country has to offer. Enjoy one of the country’s famous live festivals, such as Glastonbury or Reading/Leeds Festival, for your chance to soak up the sun and party whilst seeing your favourite musicians.
If festivals aren’t your thing, there are plenty of theatres and live performances for you to enjoy. Studying in London, students should take in a show at the Royal Albert Hall or the Hammersmith Apollo in London and with the whole West End on your doorstep - you won’t run short of performances to see. Venture outside of London and take a trip to Edinburgh for your chance to visit the Lyceum Theatre and experience comedy and performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, held in August every year.
The UK is a nation full of food lovers so be sure to try out the local culinary treats on offer for your chance to find your new favourite dish. Fill up your boots with a traditional Sunday roast, stock up on a full English breakfast and feast on a classic fish and chip dinner. Make sure you take up the opportunity to showcase your own home cuisines to your new coursemates and introduce them to some of your favourites.
London is home to plenty of Michelin star restaurants, so take advantage and make your friends at home jealous. Amaya on Motcomb Street provides some of the best pan-Indian tapas on offer whilst Gordon Ramsay's flagship restaurant in Chelsea will show you why the chef is so well known around the world.
Countless places to visit
Wherever you choose to study, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to take in the local culture and learn about the vast history of where you’re staying. Take in the sights of some of the most famous attractions that London has to offer including Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London and Big Ben. Throughout the year, Hyde Park will play host to a number of different events and will also be the perfect location for an afternoon picnic in the sun. Meanwhile, it’s worth taking the time out to visit some of the finest attractions around the country, including Edinburgh Castle, Brighton Pier and Stonehenge.