Studying abroad in England can be a great experience, but it is not without its challenges. One of the biggest difficulties students face is adjusting to the different educational systems. In addition, the cost of living and tuition in England can be significantly higher than in the United States.
And while the English language is spoken throughout the country, there are still some regional dialects that can be difficult to understand. Despite these challenges, however, studying abroad in England can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
It is not hard to study in England depending on the school or course of study. Some courses are straightforward while others can be pretty testings. Studying in England can be done without unbearable challenges. This means that with the right resource and information, you can make your study in England easy
A woman who has two children studying in two different schools mentioned that the academic side of studying in England varies by the course and the university. She found her son’s study which was in Business and Politics at Oxford Brookes University to be pretty straightforward while she found her daughter’s education in Physics at the University of Edinburgh to be tasking.
Studying in England also depends on the level of degree you want and how well you can balance your academic workload and social life. Some students find it hard to find this balance and so one aspect affects the other. You should be able to find this balance while studying at any level of education.
Let’s take a look at some information about studying in England such as the educational standard, cultural differences, and how you can overcome these challenges regardless of where you are coming from. Let’s get right into it.
Since England is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom, it follows the British educational system. As you already, know the British educational system is different from that of other countries, while other countries have adopted the British educational system.
The education system in England is divided into 4 key stages which are compulsory education for all children between ages 5-16. Here, children are taught core subjects such as English and Mathematics and also foundational subjects such as citizenship and education to gain basic knowledge about the country and society.
It is usually state-funded so children between 3-18 years can get primary and secondary education at no cost since it is funded by the government.
After this, students can now progress to higher education which usually begins with a three-year bachelor’s degree in England, unlike other countries where a bachelor’s degree is four years.
After the three-year bachelor’s degree, you can then proceed to postgraduate degrees which usually include Master’s degrees which are either taught or research programs, doctorate-level research degrees, postgraduate diplomas, and professional degrees.
When you arrive in England for your studies as an international student, you will meet and experience a different culture from what you are used to in your home country especially if you are coming from a country outside Europe.
This new and different culture and way of life is usually the western culture so you may need to keep an open mind when leaving your home country.
One of the first things that you will notice is their way of greeting and socializing. You will find that society is rarely a close-knit one where strangers exchange pleasantries or relate freely.
Depending on your home country, you may be shocked that people rarely have time to exchange pleasantries especially when it is not needed. It is a busy environment where each person is on their own and minding their business.
Another thing that you may find different is that there is strict adherence to laid down systems. Things are done according to the country’s system which is one of the things that helps in making things smooth and running. You will also have to learn the basic rules and systems so you don’t go against laid down rules and regulations.
Even though England is an English-speaking country, you may hear a different accent different from yours even when you speak the same English that they speak. You may not be used to the different accents when you start living there but with time, you will get a hang of it if you relate well with the citizens. You may even start speaking like them over time.
Another important thing you should know is that England can be cold and may have a longer winter season compared to other countries. It will feel colder for you if you are coming from a warmer region where winter is only for a short period.
People dress differently in England due to culture and most especially as a result of the weather. You find one person wearing more than three thick clothes because of this. There are also different fashions and styles in the way people dress that may be different from yours.
You may also find a different school system that is different from the school system you had in your home country. As explained in the previous section of this article, England has a 3-year bachelor’s degree system which is different from some other countries of the world.
Cost of living/Financial barrier
Now let’s take a look at the cost of living in England and some of the financial barriers that you may face while living in England as an international student.
Apart from your tuition, you will need some funds to live in England so you have to open a UK bank account and make some calculations to know the difference between your currency and England’s Pound Sterling.
You can budget £1000-£1200 per month for your living costs in England. For a decent meal in a good restaurant, you should spend about £15 and less than £2 for a bottle of water or beer.
Average living costs for inexpensive cities range from about £800-£1000 for food, transportation, and accommodation. Food is one of the cheapest things to get in England. If you prefer to cook your meal, you can get groceries at cheaper rates.
Also, your cost of living depends on the city you live in. If you live in London, you will have to spend more on basic needs such as food, accommodation, transportation, clothing, and others. Your living costs in London can go above £1200 depending on how you spend.
Transportation should cost about £90 per month. However, you may save money on transportation by getting student discounts. You can also get a student bus pass that helps you save more than 30% on transportation as a student. Cycling is also a popular means of commuting for students so you can get a second-hand bicycle there and use it to commute to school and other places.
For your accommodation, you can get a decent student apartment in your school area so you can cut down on transportation fees as low as £400-£600 per month. Remember that this price range varies with the city where you live or where your school is located.
You can also consider staying in a shared apartment where you split fees with other students like you as it can help cut rent costs.
Living expenses should not be a reason for being unable to study in England. With proper planning and preparation, you can draw up a budget for your expenses and stick with it, prioritizing the necessary expenses over unnecessary ones. You can also get by working part-time in school or outside school.
Most schools require that students work only 20 hours per week so you should stick to that to avoid going against the school rules.
Best Practices While Studying in England.
Now that you have enough information about studying in England, let’s take a look at some of the best practices that can help you get the best from living in England.
- You should keep an open mind while studying and living in England. Some practices may seem strange to you since you are coming from a different culture entirely. To make the best out of your stay in England, stay open-minded and expect things to be done differently than you were used to. When you keep your mind open, you will not experience too much culture shock and you will be able to easily embrace the new English culture.
- Another way to make things easy for you while living and studying in England is to make British friends or friends from your country who are now used to the British culture. This will help you make sense of everything and they can also give you hints on certain ways to behave. You can also watch them and from continuous interaction with them, you will be able to catch up fast.
- You can also try to live in your school’s hall of residence as there will be many students like yourself in there and you’ll be able to relate freely.
- Seeking counseling from the school is also a good way to get by. The school understands that you are new and are always welcoming to new or international students who need help.
- Watching more British shows before coming to English can help. You get to see how things are done and people behave and react to certain things.
Many international students studying in Europe have been able to blend in the society and culture so you can do this too by following these guidelines and keeping an open mind.