Study Abroad in United Kingdom

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A Guide to Study Abroad in the United Kingdom

From legends of mystics dragons on the Isle of Arran, to a jaunt down the main street of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwll-llantysiliogogogoch (no, that’s not a typo), to the royal palaces of London, and the great wall of Londonderry, the United Kingdom has something for all types of students. This powerful nation allows for endless study abroad possibilities. So stuff those textbooks and bagpipes into your suitcase, and get ready to have a “wale” of a time.

Why Study Abroad in the UK

With diversity in the classroom and a backyard full of natural wonders, there is no shortage of advantages to studying abroad in the UK. The extensive amount of study abroad program opportunities in the UK, the ease of travel, the high standard of living, and the access to cultural, historical, and scientific treasures is hard to beat. Then there’s the fact that, as the world’s first industrial power, the UK is still at the forefront of many economic races. In other words, start with study abroad in the UK to become part of the global workforce in almost any field.


The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland consists of Wales, Scotland, England, and Northern Ireland. Each country offers both undiluted nature and colorful cosmopolitan areas, and has more than enough to keep you busy outside of class. With so many options for study abroad in the UK, it is going to be tough to choose just one (but don’t worry, the UK’s excellent transportation network will let you explore all of the nooks and crannies on your free time)

Four of the six top-ranked universities of the world are located in England. So, for those that want truly world-recognized education, study abroad programs in England aren’t too shabby of a choice. If you are interested in attending classical studies at Hogwarts, seek out study abroad programs at the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. In your free time, skip across Abbey road, attend rugby games, or take a hike through the Lake District.

Scotland, with the unicorn as its national animal, provides many magical opportunities for international students to dip their toes into. University of Glasgow, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of St. Andrews have all been around for almost five centuries; like a fine glass of Scotch, they only get better with age. In-between classes, international students can attend the hundreds of music festivals, theatre shows, and sporting championships located in nearly any Scottish city (and the drastic countryside between them). No kilts required.

Fewer (but just as mighty) study abroad programs in the UK are found outside of the latter two countries, but that is not to say the following two aren’t worth considering. In Wales, Swansea University and Cardiff University both have excellent international universities and offer state-of-the-art facilities in natural settings that provide for endless hours of hikes between one paper’s deadline and the next. And if you’d like to leave the main island, opt for Northern Ireland, where you can bring your focus to the political realm while befriending leprechauns at the annual bog snorkeling competition.

Subjects & Courses

You can find anything subject and course you want in the UK, but knowing where to look can be difficult due to the sheer volume of study abroad opportunities. There are many specialized study abroad programs in the UK and obscure study topics in all of the cities mentioned above, but here is a very general look at the UK’s course options:

If you’re interested in English or history, Northern Ireland is seeping with opportunities to walk in the steps of C. S Lewis or to explore how the past continues into the present with political studies. A land of nature and art, Wales offers many art programs, but all of its main universities offer a very well-rounded curriculum. In Scotland, theatre programs are hailed worldwide, while business and medical degrees are the most popular among international students. England’s historical universities are well-associated with English literature (Shakespeare or Jane Austen, anyone?) as well as arts and design, while sociology and law consistently rank at the top of the charts.

 While there are three other languages spoken in the UK (Welsh, Gaelic, and Scots), all courses in the UK are taught in British English (not American, so be prepared for extra u’s and some words that have an old-fashioned ring to them). The focus on classical studies also tend to follow more classical methods of education: an increased emphasis on discussions and essays, instead of weekly tests and multiple-choice questions.

Scholarships & Costs

The impressive castles and gold-leafed palaces of the UK don’t exactly paint a picture of “cheap." It’s true: the cost of living and the costs of study abroad programs in the UK tend to be on the more expensive side. However, this shouldn’t intimidate you and steer you away from study abroad in the UK; academic help centers are very efficient and the value for all educational services is very high. In addition, the UK is very student-friendly; there are significant discounts for events, admissions, transportation, and dining options with the flash of a valid student ID.

 One good trick for getting a significant discount on tuition is to apply for a shorter term program. However, whether it is a summer program or a semester abroad, there are usually different prices offered for EU and for non-EU applicants. Double-check that you are reading the correct information, and be sure to ask what exactly is offered by every study abroad program in the UK.

 There are a variety of options for international students in need of scholarships to study abroad in the UK, both from British institutions and American-based companies. Check out GoAbroad's Scholarship Directory to find financial aid options that you can apply to your study abroad program in the UK.

Accommodation & Visas

Accommodation options in the UK are as varied as the countries themselves. From the gothic dormitories of famous universities to staying with families in the countryside, there is something for every price range and personal preference.

Within universities there are halls of residence, self-catered halls (for those that wish access to a kitchen), and university flats, all of which are the most common options. Some programs do offer homestays with local families, which tends to greatly reduce your cost of living. When applying for study abroad programs in the UK, you can usually opt to have your university or program provider secure accommodation on your behalf. However, if you opt out of the provided lodgings, be sure to start house-hunting as soon as possible; as throughout much of the UK’s history, housing demand usually exceeds supply.

Unless you come from the European Union, you will need some sort of visa to legally reside and study in the UK. For programs shorter than 11 months, you will need to apply for a student visitor visa (which is valid for six months, but can be extended for up to eleven months for English language courses). If you’re not sure yet where you would like to study in the UK, you can enter the UK with a prospective student visa, which is also valid for six months and can be gained with proof of correspondence between you and any UK university.

Both of these visas need, to some extent, involvement of UK universities, and the process tends to take two to three months, so be sure to start planning in advance. For help, talk with your program provider or check out the international section of the school you’re interested in to learn more.

GoAbroad Insider Tips

Regardless of where you decide to study abroad in the UK, you will always be blessed with transportation options. Buses, trains, ferries, and highways connect the UK with rapid efficiency, allowing for easy weekend trips. Furthermore, there is a higher concentration of airline companies (especially low-cost airlines!) in the UK than any other European country. So, in the case that you do get tired of the British Isles (which you won’t), it’s a mere hop to almost anywhere from Amsterdam to Zagreb.

Keep in mind that the UK is one of the most diverse countries, with thousands of immigrants from all nooks of the world moving there each year. While this presents you with a vibrant diversity and all sorts of culinary opportunities, don’t forget the national cultures of each UK country as well, and do prepare to be surprised. Many students decide to study abroad in the UK because of the lack of a language barrier, however, sometimes this comes with false expectations and assumptions. The UK has its own set of customs, traditions, and jargon, and some of it might be just as strange to you as those of non-English speaking, developing countries!

It is not difficult to understand why the United Kingdom is the most-popular study abroad destination in the world. With the number of study abroad program options available, all of them coupled with a certificate of quality, there is a place for anyone, anything, almost anytime and anywhere in the UK. Just don’t forget to pack your Princess Diana beanie baby bear for the trip!

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Banner Report 2018

A Guide To
Study Abroad in the United Kingdom


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IES Abroad (Institute for the Int'l Education of Students)

Spend a summer studying abroad in the United Kingdom. You will take two classes for six credits, and get the opportunity to live abroad for a summer and receive university credit. You will be able to personalise your experience to meet your own educational goals through the wide range of programs offered by IES in many different disciplines.


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UCFB’s Short Study Programmes are a chance to learn skills vital to attaining a job in the football, sport and events industries, and provides the opportunity to study in and around Wembley Stadium, London, in one of the world’s great sporting nations – the UK. Studying in England gives students quick access to the likes of Ireland and Scotland, with both just a short train or plane ride away.


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Bangor University

Take part in a two-week summer school offered in the United Kingdom. The program examines materials from Celtic and Prehistoric, Medieval and Modern Wales, emphasising fields like the contemporary Welsh literature in Welsh and English, Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Language Movement, Owain Glyndwr, Women and Gender in Medieval Wales, the Mabinogion, and Welsh King Arthur. The program also includes ...


Discover England with CIEE Study Abroad

Don’t rely on “Downton Abbey” for your British fix! Experience it firsthand this winter break at the Council on International Educational Exchange’s British culture program in London. Immerse yourself in the U.K.s diverse culture, while gaining insight into the country’s social policies, value system, and influence on Europe and the world. Three weeks, three credits, a million memories.

CIEE study abroad in in the United Kingdom
John Cabot University

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CISabroad - giving you the best value in study abroad

The Summer in the British Isles program will take you to the United Kingdom, and introduce you to three of Western Europe's most beautiful and historic destinations - Ireland, Scotland, and England! During this six-week study abroad program, students earn nine credits from an array of course options, including Literature, International Studies, and Film. Participate in several program excursion...


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American Institute For Foreign Study

Spend the summer studying abroad in the UK. Have an exciting time travelling to Wales and England, as you follow the footsteps of revered British fantasy fiction writers and their celebrated characters. Students earn three credits as they complete the “British Fantasy Literature: Magic Memory” program hosted by Richmond, the American International University in London. The program combines trad...


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University of Cambridge International Summer Programmes

Study at a world-leading university and join a vibrant community of international students. Taught at undergraduate level, programmes include: Business & Entrepreneurship, Science, Literature, Creative Writing, History, Art & Visual Culture, Ancient & Classical Worlds, Medieval Studies, Shakespeare, and Interdisciplinary studies. Stay in a historic College and enjoy a range of social activities.


Enterprise and the Environment Summer School

The Enterprise and the Environment Summer School is designed, delivered, and managed by the University of Oxford. It is a programme intended for undergraduates, as well as recent graduates and young professionals passionate leading environmental change in business, NGOs, or the government sector. It will take place from 1-13 July 2018 in Oxford. The Summer School combines world-class f...


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Study & Intern in London

Once the seat of an empire, today’s London has reinvented itself as an artistic, financial, and intellectual power. An extraordinarily multicultural city, London is home to royalty and immigrants, the working class and the avant-garde. It is Medieval, Victorian, and modern, interspersed with expansive parks and charming gardens. London is Europe’s largest city—in area and population—yet easily ...


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Learn English in Sprachschule Brighton

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Interested in Nursing? A summer in the UK for you.

We don't just see students interested in nursing - we see future leaders in the US healthcare system. We want to help each generation of health students to be the most qualified, the most prepared, the most empathetic, and the most compassionate cohort of medical leaders the world has ever seen. And we're committed to partnering with you on your journey, which is why we carefully design and ...


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Summer School in London at the University of Roehampton

The University of Roehampton International Summer School welcomes students from around the world to study on our small and friendly campus in leafy South-west London. You will study for three or six weeks, whilst exploring the sights and sounds of central London - just a stone’s throw away from our parkland campus. Study modules relating to your university degree or general education, design...


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BUNAC - Intern in Britain

Intern in Britain: Learn. Explore. Grow. BUNAC's exciting Intern in Britain program gives you the chance to get closer to your career dreams, interning in the UK and gaining stellar professional experience for up to 6 months. Seize the opportunity to experience British life and culture from the inside. From world-class arts and culture to business and financial capitals and all of Europe ...


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Graduate Internships in London with Mountbatten Institute

Live, work and study in London: Apply now! International experience is highly regarded by today’s employers. The Mountbatten program provides a world-class internship with leading companies in London, along with an accredited business qualification up to MBA level – all in just over a year. Develop your skills and experience, expand your professional network and travel. The program includes: ...


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Reach Cambridge International Summer School

Reach Cambridge offers United Kingdom and international high school students the opportunity to gain an invaluable academic experience through a summer course in one of the top educational facilities in the world. Participants stay in the world-renowned University of Cambridge, located just 50 miles north of London. Reach Cambridge provides unique and academically rigorous one, two and three-w...