What to Expect While Studying in the UK

What’s studying in the UK really like?

So, you’ve arrived in the UK and you’re ready for university, excited for a semester of studies. You’ve probably heard lots of rumours about what student life in Britain is like and want to know how much is true.

A lot depends on your course and where you’re living, but there are some things common all over the country. Luckily, Citylife is here to tell you everything you know about studying in the UK.

It can be tough!

Britain is home to some of the world’s best universities, so don’t expect an easy ride. But with world experts in every field, you know you’ll be getting a quality education. Every university is home to a Students Union, who can help you with anything you’re struggling with in your academic or personal life.

Photo Credit: ‘Approaching Radcliffe Camera, Oxford University’ by Andy Montgomery on Flickr (view licence)

There’s much more to do than just study

Most British universities are campus-based, giving them a big sense of community.

Lots of students’ lives centre around their university, and this is because UK unis generally offer sports societies and all sorts of clubs clubs to get involved in.

If you’ve always wondered about the British obsession with football (or should that be “soccer”?) and wanted to give it a try, the UK’s the perfect place – and if you get good enough you can even compete in Varsity and BUCS inter-university competitions! But if sports aren’t your thing, there’s no need to feel left out.
Many UK unis offer clubs for just about anything, from chess to orchestras to real-life Quidditch, straight from the pages of Harry Potter (yes, really). Just check out your campus’ Students Union page to see how you can get involved.

Photo credit: ‘Fountains at Coventry University Students’ Union’, by Ben Sutherland on Flickr (view licence

You’ll get a chance to make friends in halls

Lots of university towns offer cheap student houses for those who want to live independently, but for a real social experience, you’ll want to check out your university’s halls. 
British halls are very friendly, many offering either a shared kitchen area that doubles as a social space – the perfect chance to meet your neighbours! Some universities even cater for you, which (as well as meaning you don’t have to do the washing up) gives you the chance to meet hundreds of people in shared Harry Potter-style dining rooms.

Photo credit: ‘New College in Oxford – Dining room’ by Edvard Moen on Flickr. (view licence

You’ll have plenty of chances to experience British culture

You’ve come to Britain to study, but there’s lots of culture to check out while you’re here. Most people think about the Queen and tea when they think about British culture, but there’s much more to us than just palaces and castles.

Most cities are home to buzzing live music events, student-friendly nightclubs and lots and lots of pubs.
And there’s another, more controversial, aspect of British culture – food. British food is famously bland, but it’s not all beans and toast. Citylife’s blog regularly posts lists of the best restaurants and cafés across Britain, so make sure you check us it out to find the best place to eat in your city!

Photo credit: ‘Beans on Toast’ by Beck on Flickr (view licence

Yes, there is a drinking culture

Brits are notoriously big drinkers, and while there’s plenty of other things to get up to if you’re not into alcohol, it’s worth visiting at least one traditional British pub.

There are lots of different types of pubs to suit everyone’s taste, from more traditional pubs, sometimes set in a cottage or historical building, to cheaper options friendlier to student budgets (the Wetherspoons chain is a national favourite).

Photo credit: ‘The Red Lion, Northmoor’ by Dave_S. on Flickr (view licence

You won’t feel alone

There’s no need to worry about feeling lonely or homesick, as lots of universities offer societies based around nationalities and languages to help you feel at home.
And if you’re looking to meet people from all over the world, CityLife hosts a range of fun events throughout the year, perfect to get to know your city’s international community, as well as some friendly locals.

It’s not all rain

You’ve probably heard all that in Britain it rains all the time, and while we’re not going to pretend the UK is hot all year round, January is the coldest it gets. When the weather warms up, Britain transforms to an outdoor playground – summertime music festivals are inseparable from British culture. 
And on nice days, you might fancy visiting other places across the country. As well as organising events, Citylife is the #1 tour operator for students in the UK – simply check out our Trips page to see if anything appeals to you!

You’ll be able to travel around Europe. Easily.

The best thing about Britain is how close it is to the rest of Europe, and while a Eurostar from London to Paris will rarely cost more than £50, you’ll be able to find much cheaper flights all over the continent. If you don’t fancy travelling alone, Citylife offers international trips as well as mini-breaks across the UK – remember, studying in Britain means studying in Europe.

This post has been written by Matteo Everett

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