Secret Pros and Cons of UK university life
From London to Liverpool, Edinburgh to Hull and all the places in between, British universities British universities are highly sought after. Many students living abroad dream of coming to the UK to study. There are obvious advantages to a British education, albeit that our system still has some kinks to iron out, it’s still considered as one of the best in the world.
The chances that holding a degree, masters or Phd from a British university will increase a foreign individual’s probability of landing a job in their native country are indisputably high. Many companies in countries such as Spain, France, Italy and even the US see the three or four years at British university as an intensive and important part of an individual’s life.
The three or four years that you spend at a British university are intense, difficult and time-consuming, you need to make sure that you know exactly what you’re getting into.
PRO - INCREDIBLE SOCIAL LIFE
The first thing that you should know about university life is that it’s extremely social. You will find something to do every night, regardless of where you are. The activities put on by the university are a great way to meet new friends and be immersed in a crowd of different people. It’s also always very safe since it’s all organised properly by the university itself.
Most university campuses come complete with their own nightclub, which you can access with your university card or fresher’s wristband (an item you wear on your wrist during the first week of university which gives you access to the various events throughout the week).
This writer, for one, has fond memories of Thursday night karaoke at the University of Hull, belting out Highway to Hell by AC/DC in falsetto classic rock screams to the jubilation of the crowd. Those are some precious memories that will stay with you forever. You’re likely to experience the worst hangovers of your life so far, but they’ll subside and your memories will still be there. Just make sure you drink in moderation and safely with others around you so that you’re never in danger.
CON - IT’S INSANELY EXPENSIVE
British education may be considered among the best in the world, but it comes with a pretty hefty price tag. Since 2012, the bar for entry has been a minimum of £9000 per year in England. Scottish students are able to attend university in their native land for a much smaller fee, often free (depending on the establishment). Welsh students are able to study in Wales for much cheaper too. Scotland has historically been more accommodating to international students, costing much less to attend and accepting far more applications than its English counterparts.
There are companies who can help you get into universities in England (and beyond should you choose) including unibrittania, a company with which we have close contact and which does incredible work.
Companies like this can really help you out since most foreign students are eligible student finance meaning that you don’t have to pay for your education in one step. Although, bear in mind that you’ll have to pay the loan back over time and there is a lot of paperwork and stress involved, but it’s not necessarily something you need to worry too much about while you’re enrolling.
PRO - INDEPENDENCE
Another great aspect of university is that you’ll be required to find your independence fairly quickly. You’ll have a low budget, little time and a lot of deadlines. It will likely be the first time that you’ve been away from home and it’s important to really hit the ground running.
You need to manage tight deadlines, preparing your own food, getting up on time, cleaning up the house, possibly doing extra activities such as sports, music or theatre and attending all your lectures. It’s hard at first, but eventually you get used to it and you find a new sense of self. Without having your parents or guardians there to rely on, you have to fend for yourself and that’s something that you’ll carry with you for your entire life.
It’s also nice to be able to have the privacy of having any friends round to your room or house at any time you feel like. Of course, you need to remain respectful and think about the people you live with, your neighbours and anyone else that your actions may affect, but that’s all part of becoming an adult, boundaries are important and it’s your duty to form and adhere to them.
CON - HOMESICKNESS
This doesn’t happen for everyone, nor does it always determine your life if it does happen. There will just be times when you long for the comfort of your own home, possibly when your dinner comes out looking like a plate of wood and tastes worse than eating metal or your white laundry comes out completely pink because of a rogue sock.
It’s normal to find it difficult to adjust to a new situation, particularly if you’ve moved to a new country. You may find it hard to understand a new language and do simple tasks such as buying food or ordering a coffee at first, but after a while, it’ll come to you and you’ll be speaking as fluently as anyone else around you.
Understand that you’re now free to make your own mistakes, you don’t have the comfort of having your family or guardians to catch you when you fall. That’s not a bad thing though, life is complicated and brutal and the more we let it beat us, the stronger we become. These little mistakes that you will inevitably begin to make are really important in the grand scheme of things. The homesickness goes away after a while and you’ll probably start to view your new location as home anyway. Just make sure that you keep in regular contact with those back home so that you don’t lose grip completely of where you’ve come from.
PRO - FINDING PART OF YOURSELF
This is such an obscure concept to put into an article on a language exchange website and it’s deeply existential, so apologies for that. The truth is finding your complete self isn’t something that comes after just three or four years of university, especially not if you’re at such a young age.
The important part is that you find something in yourself. You find a support system which will likely be there throughout your whole life or at least for a significant proportion of it. Don’t let things get in the way of your university life. You’re going to experience that deep complexities of young life, you’ll have difficult relationships, strange encounters with unusual figures and high levels of stress.
Take it all in and find your peace in the situation because you’ll be glad of it at the end of the course. These aspects will serve you so well in future, giving you a lot of understanding of how the real world works. Don’t expect to walk out of university and into a job because that’s just not how it goes in modern day society, so use the person you’ve become to combat the negative connotations of rejection.
Don’t forget that you can always ask your language exchange friends for their experiences of British university and if you have any other questions, we’d be more than happy to answer them on Facebook or through the support email!
Written by: Jordan Benyon, Staff Writer
- London life
- 10 Feb, 2020
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