The largest nation in the UK is England. It’s a vibrant and fascinating place, where ancient traditions sit comfortably alongside an exciting and modern way of life. It’s also very safe and inclusive, and it welcomes people from all cultures and religions. International students love it here too, with over 377,000 choosing to study in England every year.
It’s easy to see why, as England is home to some of the greatest and most celebrated universities on the planet. The Universities of Cambridge and Oxford regularly top world rankings, and have been educating the great and good since the 13th Century – and there are 104 further universities in England that offer a world-class level of education as well as many prestigious art schools, business schools and other specialist institutions. Across the whole nation you can choose from campus-based universities to those in big cities and those in coastal towns, which means you’re certain to find a place that suits you perfectly.
And when it comes to lifestyle, England continues its wonderful fusion of the traditional and modern, with fantastic restaurants, nightlife, countryside and culture.
To begin with, the English countryside is a paradise. You’ll have the time of your life exploring the lush rolling landscape of the Yorkshire Dales, the rugged coastlines and sandy beaches of Cornwall and Devon, and natural woodlands like the incredible Kielder Forest in Northumberland. You can also visit awesome landmarks such as the white cliffs of Dover, or the mythical runes of Stonehenge – a World Heritage Site which has been standing since around 2,500 BC.
To see all of this is easy, as England has great transport links and an excellent rail and road network. As a 16-25-year-old student, you’ll be eligible for discounted train travel if you buy a Young Person’s Railcard. This costs £30 and gives you a 30 per cent discount on trains across the entire UK network (so not just in England). You can find many more discounts in England with a National Union of Student (or NUS) card, which is free once you start your studies.
Once you’re finished exploring for the day, you can put your feet up in a friendly pub for a drink and a chat. Such a welcoming, community culture can be found in pubs and inns over England, and you’ll regularly hear live music and much laughter inside them. You can expect to pay around £3.50 for a pint of beer and pubs often serve a great range of inexpensive meals (sometimes known as ‘pub grub’). But don’t worry if you don’t drink alcohol, as every bar will have a range of good quality non-alcoholic drinks on offer, too.
The locals may still love their fish and chips (and drink more cups of tea than most other nations put together), but you’ll also find the very best in world food in England. In fact, some of the best-known Michelin-starred restaurants in the country are ones that serve South West Indian, Chinese and West African cuisines. You’ll also find plenty of Halal and Kosher options wherever you go, as well as a huge range of options for those on vegan, vegetarian and specialist diets.
Eating out is very affordable in England and for a three course meal in a mid-range restaurant, you can expect to pay around £25-30 per person. A takeaway meal (such as fish and chips!) will cost a fraction of that price. The average weekly shopping bill for food costs around £30 per person (although you will always find a selection of supermarkets with plenty of choice for students on different budgets).
Outside of your studies, you’ll get to take in the best of England’s major modern towns and cities. You may already know of London, with its famous red buses, museums and galleries. It is one of the most popular cities in the world with an incredible amount of things to do and see, But all over England, there is an amazing cultural scene to experience. You’ll discover the northern charms of Newcastle, for example, which is full of incredible live music venues and brilliant pubs. Or the large, bustling cities of Manchester and Birmingham, home to some of England’s leading galleries and theatres and each with their own unique identity and charm.
For over fifty years, English recording artists have been a major influence on the world of popular music and it is home to world famous musical events, such as the Glastonbury Festival. The biggest international artists always tour in England and wherever you are in the country, you’ll hear the very best in all genres – from rock to dance music to the finest classical orchestras. A typical concert ticket will cost you around £20, with big festivals costing more and smaller, events costing far less.
And if you’re a lover of sport, there’s no better place on earth. Football is England’s national sport and wherever you live you’ll have the chance to watch your local team (including those in the world-famous Premier League). There is also much to enjoy at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships every summer, as well as Formula 1 Racing, the Cricket World Cup, Rugby at Twickenham and more.
As the UK has so much to offer to international students, you’re sure to find a way to feed your imagination and think big. Could England be the perfect place for you?
(Source: British Council)