There are many reasons why you might consider coming to the UK as an international student: the multi-national community, the cultural opportunities, and the relatively low tuition fees compared to some universities in the US, for example. The quality of UK Higher Education is known throughout the world, and many British universities are in the top 200 globally.
Also, many UK degrees are shorter than those found in other countries – an undergraduate degree in the US is usually four years, whilst in the UK it is three. Master's degrees in the US might be two years; in the UK they are more likely to be just one. The relative value of a UK university education makes it a good prospect for thousands of international students every year.
For international students, tuition fees vary widely across all universities and degree schemes. For international postgraduate students, arts and social science degrees can cost between £12,000 and £40,000 annually. Clearly, these costs are huge – you will have to be sure that the financial commitment will be worth it.
It is extremely difficult to predict the living costs of British students – some will live at home, have all their meals cooked for them and all their bills paid and spend little on travel costs, whilst others (the majority) will have to budget for rent and food and train fares on a regular basis. How can it be predicted what an individual student will spend on alcohol, or books, or clothes? In reality, it can’t.
However, the law of averages says that students living in London and the South East need to find around £12,000 per year for their day-to-day life, whilst elsewhere in the UK the sum may be around £9,000.
There are various things that can help you with living costs. A lot of restaurants and clubs will run deals or specific student nights, and joining the National Union of Students (NUS) will provide you with a student card that will get you discounts in a wide variety of high street shops (although unfortunately not in supermarkets).
Most international students cover the costs of their study in the UK through a variety of means:
- Family support
- Scholarships from home governments
- Scholarships from charitable trusts
- Scholarships, bursaries and grants from universities of choice
- The United Nations/ European Commission
Students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) can work up to 20 hours during term time and full time during the holidays, so there is this possibility of doing this in order to support yourself and get some extra cash. EEA students can work without restrictions.