Student LifestyleUnited Kingdom - Essential Guide for International Students

United Kingdom – Essential Guide for International Students

The UK has always been one of the most popular destinations for international students to study in, and it is easy to see why. From the beautiful beaches, to the iconic landmarks, and the vast countryside the UK has something for everyone.

Red buses, medieval castles, chalk cliffs, afternoon tea- there is so much of the UK to discover.

Click here to read our article on studying Politics in the UK.

General Information

Currency: Great British Pound (GBP), also known as Pound Sterling. (0.79 GBP to every 1 USD)

Language: English

Weather: raining, all the damn time.

Population:66.04 million

Geography: North of continental Europe. Made up of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

Travel: most modes of transport in the UK take contactless payment so you will not need a travel card. You can buy an Oyster travel card for London by clicking here.

Annual Costs (approx.):

University costs (USD): 21,365

Living costs (USD): 13,680

Total costs (USD): 35,045

Top Universities:

Click on the names of the Universities to be taken to their site.

Click here to read our article about why you should study Politics in the UK.


If you are from a country outside of the European Union (EU) you do not currently need a Visa to study in the UK. To see whether this changes after the UK leaves the EU, click here for updates.

If you are from outside of the EU you will need a Visa to study in the UK. You can apply for a Visa by clicking here.

With the UK Student Visa, you have the right to work up to 20 hours per week.

Things you HAVE to do:

  • Loch Ness – we have all heard the legend of the Loch Ness monster. It is a very fun day out walking around the Loch looking out for Nessie. You can even get a boat onto the Loch if you are brave enough!
  • Buckingham Palace – such an iconic building with a massively rich history. If you go to the Palace between July and September then you may be lucky enough to get a ticket to have a tour inside. With that ticket, you get to have a walk through the Queen’s Gardens, where her Majesty walks her corgis!
  • Cardiff Castle – this is the most popular castle in Wales, and it is easy to see why. You get amazing views all across the beautiful city of Cardiff. Cardiff castle sometimes offer night tours, which can be a little creepy when you hear that they are supposedly haunted!
  • Titanic Belfast – one of the most famous parts of history for Ireland is the Titanic, which originally was made and started her journey in Belfast. The Belfast Titanic is an exact replica of the original Titanic, and is used as a museum.
  • Brighton – Brighton is one of the most iconic areas in the UK, and is only a short train ride away from London Victoria. It has quirky shops in the lanes, a pebble beach with the best fish and chips, and a traditional English pier with rides and arcades on it. Brighton is absolutely worth a visit!

Food, Glorious Food

For years, Britain was the laughing stock of the culinary world. However, I am here to prove that this is an outdated perspective.

  • Cream Tea – this is two scones, strawberry jam, clotted cream, and a pot of tea. That’s it. But it is absolutely gorgeous! I suggest going to a traditional English Tea Room for the best Cream Tea, usually found in small villages.
  • Roast Dinner – this is the most popular and iconic meal in the UK. Slow-cooked meat, Yorkshire puddings, vegetables, super crispy roast potatoes, spiced stuffing- all smothered in thick meaty gravy. Bon appetite. You can find a decent roast in most pubs (sometimes it is called a Sunday Roast, as it is traditionally eaten on a Sunday).
  • Full English Breakfast – the perfect meal after a night out, or just when you are really tired. Traditionally it comes with eggs, sausages, bacon, baked beans, tomatoes, hash browns, and toast. However, you will find slight variations on this wherever you go. You can usually find a Full English in any ‘greasy spoon’ (or sometimes it is called a Cafe, but pronounced like ‘Caff’).
  • Trifle – usually eaten after a Roast Dinner, a trifle is a dessert made up of a layer of cake or biscuits, a layer of jelly, and then a layer of custard and cream. Rachel attempted to make one for Ross’s English girlfriend Emily on ‘Friends’, but the pages got stuck together with another recipe and she put meat and peas in it. Don’t worry! Ours do not come with meat.
  • Mince Pie – eaten at Christmas time, these little pastries are a national treasure. They are filled with a mixture of dried fruits and spices (called ‘mincemeat’) and can be eaten alone or served with brandy butter.

Click here to read our article about studying Politics in the UK.

I will include some links below to useful resources when thinking about studying in the UK.

Check if you need a Student Visa for the UK

Most popular attractions in the UK

Affect of Brexit on International Students