Studying in the UK, PART I: Why UK Schools might be for you

Studying in the UK may be something you’ve never once considered in your life. Perhaps you’ve never visited the country or it’s a foreign thought in your head; however, let me try to convince you on the reasons why you might want to study here.

Length of UK degree vs US degree

“A UK degree at the undergraduate is typically of three years, postgraduate level is one year and PhD is three years,” quotes Studying-in-UK Organization, an organisation that works with students seeking to start their studies in UK. “As opposed to this, US degrees are typically longer with an undergraduate degree of four years, postgraduate degree in two years and PhD of five years” quotes Educations.com, a US college consulting website. The reason behind the three year degree, as mentioned by Studying-in-UK Organization, comparable to a four year degree in the US in terms of depth of study is because three years degrees specialise in the subject of the degree from day one. Comparatively, for UK schools, as mentioned by Educations.com, US schools are generally four years long because the first year is spent studying general studies and it’s only the second year when people start to take classes focused on their major. Spending less time as a university student means that you can complete your college education faster and also start working before your peers attending US schools do.

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Post-study work visa

From 2020, the UK government has announced they plan to open a new immigration route which will allow international students to work for two years after completing their programme of studies. The 2-year post-study work visa will be open to the nationals of all countries, who have successfully completed a course of study at undergraduate level or above at an approved UK Higher Education Provider.


According to the Secretary of Home Office Priti Patel the new graduate route shows UK’s global outlook and ensures that the UK will continue to attract the best and brightest.

The new Graduate Route will mean talented international students, whether in science and maths or technology and engineering, can study in the UK and then gain valuable work experience as they go on to build successful careers,” she said.


Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK believes that the new policy will help the UK become a first choice study destination for international students, asserting that a wide range of employers will have access to talented graduates at the same time

This is very positive news. Evidence shows that international students bring significant positive social outcomes to the UK as well as £26 billion in economic contributions, but for too long the lack of post-study work opportunities in the UK has put us at a competitive disadvantage in attracting those students,” he says.

This gives you a higher chance of recovering some of the education costs incurred and finding permanent employment in the UK.

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Fees and living expenses

“The cost of education in both countries is far from cheap, but the cost of an education in the United States is generally higher” quotes internationalstudent.com. As degrees in the UK are shorter than US degrees, the overall costs and living expenses generally calculated come to be much lesser.

Studyacrossthepond.com, states, “Studying in the UK is generally cheaper than studying at equally ranked universities in the United States.  Given that degree programs are also often shorter than those at home, students are poised to get the best bang for their buck by pursuing a British education.” By studying in the United Kingdom, you get the best for less.  Not only could you earn a world-class education, international exposure and experience, and the chance to travel, but also the opportunity to make friends from around the world, all in less time and for less money than at an American university.  That is value for money you just can’t beat.  

Living fees in London may be slightly more expensive as compared to other regions in the UK; however, when comparing with the US, costs will roughly amount to be the same, if not lower. Furthermore, when considering flights and travelling costs to and from your home country to London, if you happen to live in Singapore, flight time and flight costs will be a lot less when comparing with the US. If your family living in Singapore would like to frequent London to visit you, UK may be a better option. Unlike Boston which can take 20+ hours and require multiple stopovers, going from Singapore to London is direct flight and takes 13 hours only.

Student Life

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The UK offers a culturally diverse environment with more international students coming in than the US, thus providing more international exposure. “Unlike an average of 5.5% of students studying in the US are from abroad, the UK accommodates roughly 19% of international students in their student demographic,” quotes Studyin-UK. The UK dorm life, sports and clubs, pub crawls and theatres and music festivals keep students entertained. Furthermore, the legal age for the UK is eighteen as compared to twenty-one in the US. Additionally, if you are looking for a part time job while studying in university, UK may be a better option. “International students in university are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during term and full time during holidays,” states Complete University Guide UK. However, “US schools have stricter regulations for F1 Visa holders” and are most likely going to have stricter laws with Trump in office. If you are looking to earn extra cash during your uni career, possibly UK may be a better option?

The British life and culture is truly unlike any other, with the rich history and architecture, the famous countryside, raging pub culture, traditional English breakfast and the famous fish and chips. There’s the added advantage of easily exploring Europe during your stay.

Cultural Experience

The British life and culture is truly unlike any other, with the rich history and architecture, the famous countryside, raging pub culture, traditional English breakfast and the famous fish and chips. There’s the added advantage of easily exploring Europe during your stay.

UK with the new post-study work visa you can stay on for two years.

Studyin-uk.in
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Teaching Style

In the US, you may mostly take classes in lecture halls with follow-up seminars during your first year. The purpose of this is to introduce all of the freshers to the main topics of the programme, but as the years go by, your classes should decrease in size.

“In the UK, there is a mix of larger lecture classes and smaller seminars, or focus groups, of up to 20 students that allow for more direct interaction between you and your teacher,” states Complete University Guide UK. This means that you’ll have a lot more individual help and tutoring, with personalised feedback throughout your lessons.

You won’t receive much homework throughout the year in the UK other than reading assignments – “your coursework and exams will be at the end of the year and will determine your overall grade” states Kings College London. This teaches you key organisational skills and how to be self-motivated. If you slack off, this can take a downturn on you.

The US, however, “gives far more assignments such as tests, quizzes, projects, research papers and presentations throughout the term”, states topuniversities.com. So, if you prefer a more structured approach to homework with regular grades, then the US could be the place for you to study.

Accomodation

Accommodation in the UK is perfect for carrying out independent study as students typically have a bedroom to themselves with a study desk. This is usually in “an apartment with a shared living space and kitchen, so you can still socialise with your friends”, states Complete University Guide UK. If you would rather have a more sociable shared living space, then the US style of accommodation could be a better fit for you. Students living on campus in the US “can usually expect to share a room with other students” quotes topuniversities.com, so you won’t worry about being lonely.

UK offers a culturally diverse environment with more international students coming in than the US

Perhaps this article convinced you to consider applying to UK schools. Perhaps it convinced you to realise that UK schools aren’t for you. Whatever it may be, I hope my article gave some insight into UK’s educational system and lifestyle. Wish you best of luck!

Author: Angela Hwang

Angela Hwang is a junior at Singapore American School and this is her second year working for The Eye. She is thrilled to return back to journalism and wants to produce more exciting content for the upcoming year. Angela embraces her Korean background, but considers Singapore her home. Her hobbies include taking aesthetic photographs, collecting CDs from her favorite artists, and travelling to some of the most majestic places on earth. She can be contacted at hwang41112@sas.edu.sg.

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