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Studying in the UK: The Complete Guide

Brexit may have cooled the spirits of many, but it hasn’t. International students, particularly young French, continue to pursue higher education in the United Kingdom, undeterred.

Higher education in the United Kingdom continues to inspire the world year after year, and young French students are no exception to the rule. For the 2020-2021 school year (latest data available), the total number of French students in the UK was 14,090, up from 2018-2019, which was 13,675 in the absence of Brexit or Covid. Despite procedural changes, it is still possible to study in Her Majesty’s country, particularly for citizens of EU member states.

Higher education in England

with More than 600,000 international students For the 2021 academic year, the United Kingdom has cemented its position as the world’s second largest country, behind the US by more than a million, but ahead of Canada and its more than 500,000 international students. It is the closest and most convenient option for French students to perfect their English in an English-speaking country, especially those from Paris or already studying in the French capital.

It is certainly not unknown that British universities, particularly English ones, attract large numbers of French and international students to the UK each year. Four of them are among the top 10 best universities in the world QS Ranking 2023. Cambridge (2nd), Oxford (4th), Imperial College London (6th) and University College London (UCL, 8th) make up the elite quartet of British higher education with more than 150 institutions.

Overall, as in France, higher education in the United Kingdom is divided into three main categories, equivalent to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees: bachelor’s (achievable in three or four years), master’s (usually one year but sometimes two years) and doctorate (three to four years). (full-time, six to seven years part-time). Each of these cycles has a different name depending on the specialization chosen: literary courses, for example, fall under the category of Bachelor (BA) or Master of Arts (MA), while scientific courses fall under the category of Bachelor of Science (BSc. ) and Master of Science (MSc). Also note the distinction between undergraduate students (those studying at undergraduate level) and postgraduate students (those with two bachelor’s degrees and therefore studying for a master’s or doctoral degree).

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London, UK International Students

How do I go about studying in England?

Since Brexit applied on January 1, 2021, studying in the UK is not as easy as it used to be. However, some facilities are available for students who are EU nationals. Courses longer than 6 months now require a Brexit application and visa since the UK officially leaves the EU. Citizens of EU Member States are exempt from any visa application for courses of less than 6 months.

Steps to take to study in UK

Despite the application of Brexit, it is still possible to study in the United Kingdom as long as you have the necessary diplomas to pursue higher studies in your home country. The only notable difference is the disappearance of European exchange programs. The process itself has changed little in substance. So everything, in principle, depends on the general condition of the student, his level of English and the funds at his disposal.

Registration for undergraduates is easy and done through the site UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service), postgraduates, even if they can go through UCAS, should usually check the relevant university’s website on a case-by-case basis to find out how to apply for the course of their choice. And what are the prerequisites.

Once you receive the acceptance letter issued by the university (Acceptance Study Certificate), you can start looking into the question of student visa. If you are outside the United Kingdom (three months if you are already on another visa, reply within eight weeks) this parameter should be taken care of six months before the start of the course, after which you will usually receive a reply within three weeks, depending Government website.

The duration of the visa depends on the course and diplomas already verified in the United Kingdom. Generally, a student majoring in higher education can stay in British territory for up to five years thanks to a student visa. Extensions are possible if studies continue beyond that. Changing from such an extension or classic visa to a student visa on British soil costs £490, while applying from France or another country costs £363. In addition, you will also have to pay an additional fee for care, the amount of which varies according to the duration of the visa.

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Sterling tickets to study in the UK, where costs are high

Cost of studying in UK

This is definitely the most annoying and most discouraging part of control. Although it varies according to the university and the course pursued, the university fees are quite high. Apart from the cost of the visa, which averages £20,000 per year for a university course, prices vary from £10,000 to £40,000 depending on the course.

Apply for scholarships for postgraduate studies in UK

How to get scholarship in UK?

Some universities continue to offer scholarships to European students to cover the exorbitant cost of certain courses. Therefore, it is necessary to go directly to the sites of institutions such as Liverpool Hope University, Canterbury Christchurch University, Sheffield Walla University, Portsmouth University or Royal Holloway, University of London. The list is long, you shouldn’t rule out any option (don’t just focus on the UK) and don’t hesitate to return to the British Council site Scholarship Search Tool.

If nothing fits, why not turn to France for a little help? The British Council’s Parisian affiliate has scholarships for French students looking to adventure across the Channel: The Accord Cordial Scholarship.

How much English to study in the UK?

To enter a British university and get your visa, you must demonstrate that you can read, write, speak and understand English at a certain level on the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) level. The minimum level required is B2, which you can prove by passing the SELT (Secure English Language Test), for example. If you are already in higher education, your institution may be able to certify your status through a different test (or not). This applies to obtaining a visa. Some universities require you to be above B2 and take tests like IELTS, TOEFL or Cambridge.

Student life in England

As with any foreigner, an entire country is available to you, starting with the city or cities where you decide to settle for your higher education. Student life in the United Kingdom, at least its good sides, should please the most curious, especially in cities such as London, Manchester, Cardiff or Edinburgh, as it is very eager for new discoveries. Universities regularly offer extracurricular activities or events.

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The downsides of student life come when looking for an apartment and dealing with the cost of living. Difficulties increase if one confines oneself to the capital city of London, but it is more certain in other major British cities.

Where to study in UK?

With the four countries that make it up, the United Kingdom has a lot of diversity to offer in terms of choice of city, not all international students automatically head to London.

London, where 120,000 international students come every year
City of London

Study in London

Impossible to miss, London is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, with the second highest number of international students. The British capital accumulates 20% of international students in the United Kingdom, thanks not only to the quality of its universities, but above all to its rich cultural wealth and all the opportunities it offers. Everyone can find their account.

Edinburgh is one of the most popular cities for international students
City of Edinburgh

Study in Edinburgh

Over 70,000 international students choose Edinburgh every year, making it the second most popular city to study in the UK. Apart from the beauty of the Scottish landscapes, Edinburgh is famous for its architecture, its charm and its small size. A large proportion of its international students go to Edinburgh University and Napier University.

Manchester is the most popular city for international students in the UK
City of Manchester

Study in Manchester

With almost twenty universities (including its flagship university which is ranked 27th in the world and 6th in the UK), Manchester is a great cheap alternative to London (if we’re only in the UK). Home to two legendary football clubs, the city is the third most popular student city in the UK. With less agitation than the capital, it can grow well and peacefully.

Glasgow is a very popular city for international students in the UK
City of Glasgow

Study in Glasgow

One of the most popular cities in the UK, Glasgow is the fourth most popular city. More than 29,000 international students choose the University of Glasgow, which is one of the six oldest British universities. Some people think that the capital Edinburgh has nothing to envy for its nightlife and cultural life.