Home Tags Before you go

Before you go

Why Live And Study At University?


Why go to University?

University will be very different from anything you’ve experienced before, so how can you know if it’s right for you? The answer is simple: do your research.

Going to university is a big decision and one that you can’t make overnight. There are lots of things to consider before you submit an application – like degree courses, student finances, university location and accommodation.

So take time to think about your future, and what you really want it to be. Don’t rush, and don’t stress. To help you decide, we’ve put together our top reasons why you should consider living and studying at university next year.

students studyingThe University Study Experience

Hello freedom 👋

Studying at university is a step up from school or college, but don’t let that put you off. At school, you’re taught everything that you need to know but at university, you’re given the basics, and the rest is up to you. It’s more independent and requires a good deal of self-discipline, and this is a good thing. It means that you get the freedom to study what interests you the most. So if you’re motivated and passionate about your subject, your hard work will definitely pay off.

Knowledge is power

At university, you’ll gain access to expert knowledge. From conducting your own research in the library to chatting with academics that are highly regarded in their field, you’ll never be short of things to learn. Your lecturers and tutors will have academic knowledge, years of experience, and industry contacts to share. So if you’re excited to take your subject further and you feel ready to take opportunities as they come, you’re ready to go to university.

The world is a classroom 🤝

At university, your classroom will be filled with students from all over the world, so you’ll meet a wide range of interesting people. It’s a rare opportunity to get involved in new discussions and understand other people’s points of view. With a mixture of face-to-face learning, independent study and practical work experience, you’ll graduate with the knowledge and skills you need to launch your career.

students walkingThe University Living Experience

Independence, at last 🙌

With so many universities to choose from, deciding where to go isn’t easy. Remember that university isn’t all about studying, so think about where you’d like to live for the next three years. In a city? In the countryside? By the sea? At home, or abroad? Moving away from home might be scary, but you’ll gain a new sense of independence that will be SO worth it. After all, exploring a new city with your new friends is what university is all about. No rules, at last (sorry mum).

A home from home 👍

Most universities offer accommodation to first-year students to make their transition to university life a little easier. This will allow you to meet new people without having to worry about your living arrangements. If you’re not into cooking some universities will have catered halls of residence, so it will feel like a new home from home. You can also (of course) opt for private accommodation or choose to live with a host family. This is very popular with international students.

Start something new 💪

At university, you’ll get the opportunity to learn something new. With a wide range of clubs, sports teams and societies to choose from, you’ll be able to enhance your non-academic skills and interests while you study. Joining a team or society is also a great way to make new friends and it can also look good on your CV. So if you’ve always wanted to go bouldering, play ultimate frisbee or try cheerleading, you’ll feel at home at university.

Remember: If you’re applying to a UK university, you need to apply through UCAS, so check out our Essential UCAS Application Guide. You must apply before the application deadline, but don’t worry if you miss it. Plenty of universities will accept late applications and have places available through Clearing.

If you’re looking to study somewhere other than the UK, you’ll need to apply directly to your chosen university. Application dates will vary depending on your chosen country, so make sure to check this early as well as any student visa requirements.


Top Motivational Movies for Students

Ready to procrastinate? Here are 6 movies to inspire students at university

Need some inspiration? Look no further. Our list of top motivational movies for students will keep you going while at university.

We all know studying is a lot of work, and it can be difficult to stay motivated. Whether you’re new to university life or smashing it in your third year the same rule applies: don’t spend all of your time studying. Taking a day for yourself is just as important for your mental health, and let’s face it, we all deserve a little ‘me time’ every once in a while – and a good film makes everything better.

We’ve ranked our top 6 inspirational movies to keep you going while at university. So put your comfy clothes on, grab your favourite snacks and enjoy! If you haven’t read part 1, you can find it here.

Eat. Pray. Love. (2010)

Feel-good. Adventure. Romance. Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts) realises that her life isn’t making her happy. With a high-powered job, she struggles to find love and feels stuck in the same routines. Fed up of feeling lost, she sets off on a personal quest to give her life more meaning and goes wherever it takes her. Italy. India. Bali. The ultimate goal is to ‘find herself’ and find happiness. This is the perfect comfort-film for any international student feeling lonely or lost. Uplifting and inspiring, we can all learn something from this film – from following your heart to trusting the kindness of strangers, learning to love yourself or finding joy in spending time alone. Watch the trailer:

The Imitation Game (2014)

History. Biography. Thriller. This is the real story of Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his team of cryptographers as they try to decipher the Enigma Machine, used by the Nazi’s to send encrypted messages during World War II. This is a remarkable and gripping story of man vs. machine in a real race against time. Working for the British Government, Turing proves that anything is possible and he is an inspiration to us all. If you’re looking to get truly lost in a film that will make you laugh (and cry) then this is it. We especially recommend this movie for maths, computing, history and politics students. Watch the trailer:

MILK (2008)

Comedy. Drama. LGBTQ+ This double Oscar-winning film tells the true story of Harvey Milk (Sean Penn), and his journey to becoming California’s first openly-gay elected official in the 1970s. Using a mixture of real archival footage and newly-filmed re-enactments, this is an important and inspiring story about the fight for equality. It will motivate you to stand up and fight for what you believe in and offers a unique insight into an under-reported part of American history. This film is a must-see. Watch the trailer:

The Greatest Showman (2017)

Feel-good. Biography. Musical. If you’re feeling down, The Greatest Showman is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. This feel-good film follows the life of Phineas Taylor Barnum (Hugh Jackman) as he tries to go from rags-to-riches and make it in the world of show business. With a wild imagination, he creates a spectacular travelling circus show that’s wonderfully unapologetic and unafraid to be different. A great story of family and friendship with singing, dancing and an incredibly-catchy soundtrack – what more could you want? Watch the trailer:

The King’s Speech (2010)

Biography. Drama. History. If you don’t already know the story of King George VI, then you’re in for a treat. This historical film is based on the true story of King George VI (Colin Firth) as he struggles to overcome his stammer with the help of a speech therapist. Set in the late 1930s and with War approaching, King George VI must find the courage to address the nation. This film is heartwarming, funny and sends a strong message about accepting who you are and facing your fears. Watch the trailer:

Hidden Figures (2016)

Biography. Drama. History. This remarkable film tells the previously untold story of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe). These three brilliant black women worked for NASA in the early years of the Space Race and became some of the most important figures in America’s fight to send people into space. This film is an inspiration and plays an important role in recognising the role of remarkable black women in history. Watch the trailer:

Enjoyed our list of top motivational movies for students? Why not check out our list of inspiring speeches that will motivate you to study.


16 Inspiring Movies that Will Give You Motivation to Study

Studying abroad could be one of the best and most challenging experiences you’ll ever have. Between settling into your new accommodation, opening a student bank account, and trying to keep on top of the workload, there is plenty to keep you busy. While exploring your new city is key to making the most of your time abroad, it’s important not to forget the reason you’re there in the first place – to learn!

To help keep your mind focused, here is NatWest Student Banking team’s list of 6 of the most inspiring movies for students to remind you of the value of learning and to encourage you to work hard at your studies. Everybody has their off days when studying and we think that these films will be just the thing to inspire you on one of those days.

Why not check out our article debunking the top 5 movie misconceptions about University?

1. Dead Poets Society (1989)

Robin Williams is on top form as the iconoclastic John Keating, the unconventional English teacher who uses his love of poetry and classic literature to break down barriers at the oppressive Welton Academy. Keating inspires his young charges to ‘seize the day’, challenge the school’s strict rules, and truly be themselves.

The film is packed with emotionally-charged, touching scenes but the one that won’t fail to make the hairs on your arm stand up is this one where Keating’s students demonstrate what he means to them – “Oh Captain, My Captain…”

2. The Pursuit Of Happiness (2006)

The Pursuit Of Happiness is the amazing real-life tale of Chris Gardner who, with the power of hard work and perseverance, takes himself from sleeping on the subway all the way to the millionaire founder of his own brokerage house.

Never missing an opportunity and studying hard, after a few years, Chris works his way up the career ladder from medical equipment salesman to financial hotshot. If there’s one story that demonstrates that you should never give up, no matter how bad things get, it’s Chris’.

3. Good Will Hunting (1997)

Matt Damon masterfully plays the eponymous role of Will Hunting, a 20-year-old mathematical prodigy with a rough past, a tendency for street fighting and run-ins with the law. The film shows how an underachiever can turn things around.

Some of the most inspiring scenes are during Hunting’s therapy sessions with psychologist Sean (Robin Williams), where as shown in this clip, we finally see his defenses come down and the genius within begins to shine.

4. School of Rock (2003)

In this movie, the irrepressible Jack Black plays a down-on-his-luck musician who makes use of a combination of creative interview techniques, Led Zeppelin riffs, crazy love for music, and a ridiculous amount of ‘winging it’ to transform a class of upper-class unhappy kids into a real group of tiny rock Gods.

While the movie was never going to challenge for the Best Picture Oscar, it’s a fantastic offbeat example of how education can inspire really positive change amongst the most unlikely looking people. Watch Jack Black teach utilising the power of song. If you were a fan of the movie when it first came out then you may be interested to see this photo – taken when the cast recently reunited for a 10 year anniversary of the movie’s release:

“The School of Rock cast reunion, 10 years on”

5. Freedom Writers (2007)

Coming in under the radar in 2007, this film tells a true and inspirational story based on the success of Erin Gruwell, a teacher who came up with a unique style of teaching that took a group of underachieving inner city kids to the heights of academic achievement.

Erin is played by Hilary Swank, who does an impressive job of portraying a woman with a single-minded drive and passion for education. It’s wonderful to see how the lives and fortunes of her class are completely turned around when they finally get into studying.

6. Stand and Deliver (1988)

Another inspirational film based on a true story, Stand and Deliver tells the story of Jamie Escalante who leaves his job to teach maths at a school with a reputation for rebellious students and a focus on discipline over education. Over the course of two school years, Escalante takes his students from struggles to successes; the high point comes when the students all pass their advanced calculus exams.

Stand and Deliver demonstrates that academic success is not out of reach just because of their background or their current struggles. The story demonstrates the possibilities open to anyone no matter what they may have been told in the past.

This list of 6 most inspirational movies that will help you with your study motivation has been provided by the NatWest Student Banking team so that next time you feel yourself becoming disillusioned with your course or you’re finding the workload too great to bear, take some time out to watch one of these movies and maybe it will remind you why you chose to study your subject in the first place and inspire you to study.

Enjoying this list? Why not click here to see our article on the top 5 movie misconceptions about University?

More movies? Yes, please!

To keep your motivational levels high up, i-STUDENTglobal provides you with an additional list of 10 must-see movies that can provide many forms of inspiration – art, literature, comedy and even studying. Here are some of our team’s favourite films that will inspire you – like they have inspired us – to get further in your education.

1. The History Boys (2009)

An unruly and charismatic class of boys work alongside their two eccentric teachers in attempts to get into Oxford or Cambridge University. The boys eventually learn that their unruly personality is what makes them unique and a perfect addition to their impending university.

2. The Social Network (2010)

Two friends from Harvard decide to put the entire university experience online in an attempt to get in with certain social groups at the university. Instead, they become targets of the people they tried to get involved with. In all, never underestimate the power of social media.

3. Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993)

A nun reprises her role in the music scene by joining a Catholic schools mission to take their choir further in the state championships. The lesson in this film is that any student can find their place with the right encouragement.

4. Educating Rita (1983)

Rita is a young wife who decides to finally complete her education. In doing so, she meets a teacher who expands her interests and her new educational background begins to cause issues at home. Rita understands that you are never too old to finish your education.

5. Starter for 10 (2006)

First-year Brian attempts to get through his time at Bristol University without any bumps or bruises. Set in 1985, this isn’t going to happen for Brian. He learns its better not to cheat at university…

6. The Breakfast Club (1985)

Five students from different social groups meet in a Saturday detention. As the day goes on learn they have more in common than they thought. Differences are often only skin-deep and stereotypes can be based on as little as fashion choices.

7. Monsters University (2013)

This prequel to the 2001 contemporary Disney classic, Monsters Inc. explores how two friends, Mike Wazowski & James P Sullivan (Sully), came to meet whilst studying at Monsters University. While we all know them as best friends, they originally started as arch-nemeses. Monsters need a bit of education too.

8. A Beautiful Mind (2001)

Tom, one of the most intellectual minds of his generation, changes his life direction after accepting a job position at the Department of Defense rather than as a professor or researcher. This change shows Tom that success comes at a great cost.

9. 21 (2008)

MIT students learn from a teacher to count cards in Las Vegas in order to pay for their university education. Things take a turn for the worse when the students get in too deep in their deceptions. Maths can have its’ uses.

10. The Theory of Everything (2014)

The personal story of Stephen Hawking as he sets his legacy while studying at university. While studying, he develops motor neuron disease, which alters the course of his life forever. A fantastic story proving the mind does conquer all.

Enjoyed this list? Why not click here to read our post about 5 common misconceptions movies have about University?

Top 10 Most Popular Countries for International Students 2020

So you want to go to university, but you’re not sure where. Don’t worry, we’ve got you. You’ll be pleased to know that living and learning in a different country can bring SO many benefits, personal and professional. According to Statista, these are the top study destinations for international students in 2020. Are any of these on your list?

1. United States – 1,075,496 International Students

From New York to LA, Florida to Seattle, America is one of the most expansive and diverse countries in the entire world. It is home to some of the very best universities. Though the cost of studying and living in America can be tear-jerkingly high, the freedom to explore and the sheer quality of the courses is surely worth it.

2. United Kingdom – 551,495 International Students

The United Kingdom is known for having some of the best universities in the world and boasts a strong employability rate. Though tuition fees are high, the courses are only three years (as opposed to four like the USA). The UK has a fantastically rich history and is one of the most diverse countries in the whole of the world. Plus, it is the home of the English language, giving you the perfect opportunity to hone your language skills.

3. Canada – 503,270 International Students

In Canada, you can polish up your English skills as well as your French, as these are the two leading languages. Canada is often voted as one of the top countries for the quality of life and happiness of its citizens and it also has a low crime rate. It proudly boasts some of the very best Universities in the world.

4. Australia – 463,643 International Students

Australia is always one of the top destinations for International Students. It has low living and tuition costs, and Australian universities often offer scholarships that help to lower prices even further. They also allow students to work up to 40 hours a week with their student visas. Australia has beautiful landscapes, great weather, lovely beaches and big party culture. It is always very popular with students.

5. France – 358,000 International Students

France is one of those countries where you can go skiing in the morning, and then have a vineyard tour at sunset. It is so vast and has so many fantastic regions, each with its own identity and culture. The education costs are very reasonable compared to other top destinations, and it is the home of some of the world’s largest corporate brands.

6. Russia – 353,331 International Students

Russia values education very highly, and around 54% of its population have or are studying degrees. The country is so large that there is so much to explore. One half of Russia is very European, whilst the other has strong Asian influences. Russia is a very modern country, however, its values are traditional and so this mix is otherworldly. It is becoming more and more popular over the years and is definitely one to consider.

7. Germany – 302,157 International Students

Germany has a wide selection of highly ranked Universities and promises strong employability. German universities offer a lot of degrees at a low, or sometimes no, cost! It has a long and rich cultural heritage, a fantastic art scene and unmatched nightlife.

8. Japan – 228,403 International Students

Japan has always been a popular destination with students. It is often seen as the epicentre of technological innovation, and so is popular with students interested in science and technology. Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and the health service is very inexpensive, and so it is pretty safe there. The food is amazing, the culture is so interesting, and the landscape is endless.

9. Spain – 125,675 International Students

Spain is becoming an increasingly popular destination for international students to choose to study in for many reasons. One is that the education system is very well-organised and straightforward. Another is that the cost of living in Spain is cheaper than most of its European counterparts. A key reason is also the beautiful year-round weather, which goes perfectly with the gorgeous Spanish beaches. Spain has a lot of rich history to explore, and a huge party culture so there is something there for everyone!

10. Netherlands – 94,236 International Students

Studying in the Netherlands is fast becoming a popular choice with students from all over the world. It boasts a very high standard of education and a lot of degrees are taught 100% in English, making it very popular with students from the UK and USA. The Netherlands is a very safe place to live and learn, with a big international student community and good employability rates.


Why study in London (by a Londoner)

Samuel Johnson famously said: “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”.

As a born and bred Londoner, I have to agree with him- there’s so much to do and discover in the city that it’s nearly impossible to get bored, and this makes it the perfect location for students! If you’re considering studying in London or just curious about what the Big Smoke has to offer you, read on for an insider’s guide to the capital.

Why study in London? Explore on foot

If you’re able to, London is best explored on foot. It gives you an opportunity to see so much more of the city, and you’ll get to see loads of tiny details which you might otherwise miss. As well as the more well-known walks around London there are plenty of other things to see off the beaten track. Swap the Southbank for a stroll down the canal where you can take in the sights of Little Venice and even spot some of the London Zoo animals, or skip busy Oxford Street in favour of Brick Lane Market (which is just around the corner from London Met’s Aldgate campus). If you’re a history buff, why not plot a route around the city to take in some of the 900 blue plaques commemorating famous residents from Vincent Van Gogh to Freddie Mercury. Walking around London is not only great exercise, it will help you get your bearings and gives you a whole new perspective on your new home.

Great places to study

While you’re studying in London, you’ll want to find some great places to actually hit the books! While a university library is undoubtedly a great place to work, sometimes you’ll want to stray a little farther away to seek inspiration for your next essay, and there are plenty of places to do this. If you like to work somewhere with a bit of a buzz, why not check out an independent coffee shop? London is full of them, and you’ll be able to support a local business while you study. Alternatively, grab a coffee to go and head to one of London’s many parks or green spaces. I like to get my reading done in East London’s Victoria Park, but there are plenty of options all over the city- from the tiny Phoenix Garden in Soho to the vast expanses of Hampstead Heath, you’ll be able to find the perfect patch of green for you. Finally, If you want somewhere really inspirational, you could always go and study in the British Library itself!


I would be failing in my duties as a Londoner if I didn’t discuss some of the culinary delights the city has to offer. Think of any type of cuisine from anywhere in the world and you can probably find it somewhere. Craving traditional Turkish food? Head down to Green Lanes in Haringey to get your fill of gözleme, köfte and pide- there are so many restaurants on the high street to choose from but my favourite is Selale. Looking for Punjabi cuisine that won’t break the bank? Tayyabs is your best bet, but make sure you book or be prepared to queue! Arepa & Co serves up authentic Venezuelan dishes with a modern twist, or head further South to La Barra in Elephant and Castle, a family-run restaurant selling a variety of Latin American favourites. If you’d prefer to cook at home, London’s got you covered for that too. There are supermarkets specialising in everything from Persian to Brazilian to Nigerian food and ingredients, or if you’re feeling really brave you could even have a go at foraging! Whether you’re looking to find your new favourite meal or simply after a comforting taste of home, there’s something for all tastebuds.

Cultural capital of the UK (if not the world!)

Did you know that London has over 200 museums? As well as the more well-known ones like the Science Museum and Natural History Museum there are plenty of weird and wonderful alternatives (British Dental Museum anyone?!). Not only are these a fascinating source of information and culture, they could also help you with your studies. Psychology students should check out the Freud Museum near Finchley Road and if you’re interested in engineering the Brunel Museum is not to be missed. A lot of these are free or only require a small donation, so you don’t have to compromise your budget to feed your curiosity. We also have a wide range of art galleries if you’re looking to get creative, and many of London’s theatres offer discounted tickets for students. There are thousands of cultural experiences to be had, meaning you’ll never have a dull moment in the city.

Avoid the bubble

The great thing about living and studying in London is that you don’t end up with a student “bubble” like you do in some campus universities. There’s no distinction between Town and Gown and the whole city is yours to explore and enjoy. This also means you’ll get to meet a whole world of different people, from born and bred Londoners to other International students, and with nearly nine million people living in the city you’re bound to meet some interesting ones! Each new person you meet will expand your horizons and enrich your experience of living here, and you never know, they could also be a useful contact for the future. I started this article with the most famous quote about London, but I’d like to finish it with what I think is a better one: “In London, everyone is different, and that means anyone can fit in” – Paddington Bear.

By Amy Collins

london met university banner
Click to find out more

5 More Must-have Apps for International Students

Gone are the days of turning up to class with a notepad and a pen. Thanks to modern technology, our studying habits are becoming far quicker and easier. Studying apps are a fantastic way to make writing, reading, referencing and notetaking that little bit easier. Here are our 5 must-have apps for international students.


Grammarly corrects your grammar in real-time and offers you better words to make your writing even stronger. You can download it onto your phone, tablet, and laptop! A must-have for all students, whether English is your first language or you’re still learning. Find out more.

Cite This For Me

Use Cite This For Me (RefMe) to get the perfect book citations every time. Either download the app on your phone to scan a book’s barcode or use their web version to search for your book in their online library. Choose between MLA, APA, Harvard, Chicago, or whatever format your school uses. Find out more.

myHomework Student Planner

myHomework is a digital student planner that lets you track your classes, homework, tests and projects so you never forget an assignment again. You can download their free version, which allows you to track your classes and assignments, receive reminders and use homework widgets. Find out more.


Otter is a fantastic app that records when someone speaking and converts it into text in real-time. It’s perfect for sitting in class or a lecture theatre if you struggle to take notes quickly. You can simply record the whole class. This is great if the tutor is not speaking in your first language, as you can go back and reread what they have said.

Office Lens

This app from Microsoft takes pictures of documents, whiteboards, blackboards, magazines, receipts, and more and converts them into editable, shareable text. It can read images from an angle and it cleans up glare and shadows too. Very useful for group projects or on-the-go editing. Find out more.

Enjoyed this article?

Reflections on Studying Abroad in a Changing World and a Warming Climate, Part One

I have spent much of the last three years talking to people who work in international education about the need to cut down how much they travel because of the damage that flying does to the environment …. I suppose the lesson here is to be careful what you wish for as the COVID-19 crisis bites and forces much of the planet into lockdown.

The coronavirus pandemic is understandably absorbing everyone’s attention right now but unfortunately, the underlying problem of climate change has not gone away. Maybe, just maybe though, this strange new world we have entered offers us a new window of hope for how we might resolve it.

But first, let me go back to the beginning to talk about how global student mobility contributes to the climate crisis and then how the international education sector might serve as a catalyst for positive action.

The Scale Of The Climate Challenge

The world has warmed by roughly 1°C since the time of the industrial revolution in the mid-19th century because of human activity. This temperature rise is already causing stronger storms, more erratic weather, dangerous heatwaves, longer droughts and extended fire seasons.  At even a 1.5°C temperature rise – the lower end of the Paris Agreement targets – this trend will intensify and be accompanied by large-scale disruption to climate systems, infrastructure and migration patterns.

If we stay on our current emissions trajectory, we will see warming of more than 4°C by the end of this century which would mean that many major cities in India and parts of the Middle East would literally become lethal on some days due to extreme temperatures and heatwaves (Mani M, et al. 2018), and whole regions of Africa, Australia and the United States, as well as parts of Asia and South America would be uninhabitable as a result of direct heat, desertification or flooding.

We still have a little time – around 10 years – to prevent such a catastrophic outcome according to the UN report (IPCC 2018). To do this, the 15 largest economies must cut their carbon-dioxide emissions in half over the next four decades. The scale of that task is immense, however.

According to Vox Magazine in 2014,

“to put that in perspective global emissions declined by just 1 percent in the year after the 2008 financial crisis, during a brutal recession when factories and buildings around the world were idling. to stay below 2°c, we may have to triple that pace of cuts, and sustain it year after year.’’


The COVID-19 situation means we have to update this current picture as normal life has closed down for a staggeringly large part of the world’s population. This has pressed pause on our greenhouse gas emissions which up until the pandemic had still been rising.

So, we have a little room to breathe, and a chance to reflect on how the world works and how we might perhaps remake it a little differently once the current threat of the virus has passed.

Ailsa Lamont, Director and Founder at Pomegranate Global and Co-Founder of CANIE: Climate Action Network for International Educators. 



Why Study At A College

The word ‘college’ means different things in parts of the world. In the USA, it’s often used as another term for university. In the UK however, it means institutions that offer further education courses, higher education courses and trade qualifications. In short, UK colleges, or ‘FE colleges’ offer lots of different courses to lots of different people. There’s something for everyone at college.

So, what makes a college a great place to study at? I currently work for the Association of Colleges (AoC), and we represent publicly-funded (i.e. government/state-funded) colleges. From my own experience both studying and working at colleges I can safely say that international students can expect to be part of a welcoming, diverse community when they come to college. Here are some of the reasons why:

The Study Experience

More often than not, you’ll join a class with local students, so you’ll get to meet students living in the local area. If you’re taking an English language course, this will include students from different countries whose first language is not English. 

Classes tend to be for 20-30 students at college, with groups of only 15 or 16 students in some workshop and kitchen-based subjects. You can expect a good level of contact with your tutors and to be in class for an average of around 15 hours per week, with additional time you’ll spend studying independently.

You’ll be usually taught by lecturers who have worked in the industry you’re learning about. They will have links to employers and will often organise industry visits for your class. Some courses may have the option for a short work placement. 

If you choose a traditional academic course at college, such as A Levels, you’ll be taking a recognised qualification for university entry. You will be supported to decide which degree programme and which university are right for you.

When you come to college, should you feel unwell or encounter any personal problems, support and advice is available from colleges staff. 

The Living Experience

Colleges are located in big cities, small towns and rural areas, all across England and the rest of the UK. There’s the right location for everyone depending on the kind of experience that you would prefer. Colleges have cafeterias and coffee bars on site, WiFi, quiet areas to study and a library. 

It’s affordable to study at college, with the annual course fees costing on average £7,000. You’ll need money for your accommodation too, and whilst some colleges do have student residences onsite, others offer the chance for their students to live with a local family whilst studying. ‘Homestay’ is a really great way to see what British life is like and to improve your English (if it isn’t your first language). 

Amazon Rainforest Fires: How YOU Can Help

The Amazon rainforest has been on fire for the past month, and Brazil has declared a state of emergency in the region. The fires are destroying the homes of indigenous tribes and threatening millions of animal species.

The fires are so big now that the smoke can be seen from space.

Since January more than 70,000 fires have been detected in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, up 84% from the number tracked in 2018, according to the country’s National Institute for Space Research. This not only threatens the region’s future, but could also speed up climate change, since the rainforest significantly helps reduce the world’s carbon dioxide levels.

The situation could get even worse, according to the World Resources Institute, since 62% of Brazil’s forest fires traditionally occur in September through the end of the year.

The record number of fires is garnering international attention, with French President Emmanuel Macron organizing a $22 million fund at the recent G-7 summit. Celebrities are also weighing in. Madonna took to Instagram to urge Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, to change his policies and actor Leonardo DiCaprio pledged $5 million to help, while rapper Lil Nas X and and supermodel Cara Delevingne have raised awareness via social media.

But what can I do to help?

Deforestation is one of the biggest drivers of these fires. We recommend you eat less meat (since the farmers have to clear some of the forest so the animals have grazing land), use less paper (recycle!), and do what you can to cut your emissions so that we can try to balance out the damage to the planet that these fires have caused.

You probably don’t have $5m to spare like Mr DiCaprio, but that doesn’t mean that your donation isn’t invaluable and necessary. There are a few organisations that you can donate to:

Rainforest Alliance

They announced earlier this month that it would be redirecting 100% of its donations to frontline organizations in Brazil working to “protect the Amazon and defend the rights of its Indigenous people”.


View this post on Instagram


🚨Amazon S.O.S.🚨THANK YOU to everyone who donated in response to our post yesterday—and to all who have helped raise awareness by sharing our post. We have committed to redirect 100% of donations made in August via link in bio to these frontline groups working to defend the Brazilian Amazon: @coiabamazonia (Brazil chapter of our partner COICA, the federation of Amazon Indigenous leaders), @imaflorabrasil (our longtime sustainable agriculture partner), and @socioambiental @ipam_amazonia @imazonoficial @saudeealegria (Brazilian orgs working to defend the Amazon & Indigenous rights). 🔥The fires in the Brazilian Amazon have called worldwide attention to the ongoing crisis of tropical deforestation. Although we are devastated by recent surge of fires in the Amazon, we are also heartened by the overwhelming global response to this crisis—signaling growing awareness that 1) tropical forests are a powerful “natural climate solution” we all depend on, and 2) deep concern for the rights of Indigenous people. 📷 This photo from the Brazil-Peru border in the Amazon was taken by @mohsinkazmitakespictures in 2015. We post this older image to remind our followers that tropical deforestation is an ongoing global emergency that began in the colonial era and rages on today throughout the Amazon, Indonesia, Central America, and other regions where the Rainforest Alliance works. [In the interest of transparency: our work in the Amazon is concentrated in Peru (in the Brazil border region) and Colombia; our work in Brazil focuses on sustainable agriculture in other landscapes.] 🌳Through decades of partnership with Indigenous, forest, and farming communities throughout the tropics, we’ve learned (and scientists have confirmed) that the best defense against deforestation and forest fires = thriving, community-centered rural economies that allow people to make a decent living through sustainable activities. This approach requires deep collaboration and sustained investment over the long term—and it reaps big rewards, as seen in our previous posts about Guatemala. Let’s keep the momentum going! ✊🏽✊🏿✊🏼✊ #prayforamazonia #savetheamazon #rainforestalliance #climatejustice #climateaction

A post shared by Rainforest Alliance (@rainforestalliance) on

Earth Alliance

On Sunday, the organization formed an Amazon Forest Fund.

The fund will be focusing resources toward local communities and groups working to protect the Amazon, as well as those affected by the fires. Earth Alliance noted five groups so far that will receive funding, including the Kayapo people, the Brazil chapter of Coordinator of the Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin and the Instituto Socioambiental.

Amazon Watch

An organisation that works with the aboriginal people is Amazon Watch. The group has supported the community’s efforts to stop the proposed dam, and this year, helped convene an assembly of Munduruku youth with Munduruku chiefs.

World Wildlife Fund for Nature

The well-known conservation organization is urging people to not only pay attention, but also shop smart and reduce your fossil fuel consumption. WWF is also encouraging people to speak up, creating an online petition you can sign to call on the governments of Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guyana, and Suriname to “protect the Amazon, combat deforestation and reduce the causes of fires.”

Support businesses that support the rainforest

In addition to donating to specific organisations, experts are urging consumers to put their money to work by supporting business and companies working toward sustainable goals.

Rainforest Alliance has a list of over 700 companies that the organisation certifies as meeting rigorous environmental and social standards.