How to Choose a Location for Your Degree Abroad in the UK

by Jennifer Dobler

When trying to find the perfect university, students often run through a checklist to determine which university they should attend. Can I get in and do they have a program I like? Does it have a good reputation? Should I continue the family tradition of attending this university? Did I like the feel of the university when I visited?

All in all, this is a logical list of questions to ask yourself when considering which university to attend. But, what if you’ve decided to take a leap, think outside the box, and attend a different university, in another country? What if you decided to embark on a full degree program abroad instead of short summer program or semester of study abroad? How will you choose a university and a place to live without seeing it in person the way most students do when they scout universities in their home country on road trips?

Sandringham Estate, England

Sandringham Estate, England

Some people will know automatically which part of the UK appeals to them most; however, the majority of students will want to compare and contrast numerous cities and regions to try to discover which location will suit them best. To expedite the process, we’ve put together of list of things to consider when trying to decide where to earn your degree in the UK. So if you are ready to begin the search for your ideal location, start by asking yourself the following questions:

Which Programs are Right for You?

Generally, the most pivotal part about deciding where you are going to live and earn a degree in the UK is deciding which degree programs you find the most interesting and which ones offer you the most potential.

The specificity of university degrees in the UK allows you to delve farther into your subject of interest, which means you’ll be able to open many new doors in terms of research, internships, and even travel. For example, rather than generally studying English literature in the UK, you could potentially study Renaissance literature specifically. With this in mind, students often choose a university solely based on the specificity of the degree programs it offers.

Deciding which locations and universities offer the degree programs you are interested in will greatly narrow down your search for the perfect university and location for your degree abroad in the UK.

Edinburgh, Scotland

City of Edinburgh, Scotland

What is the Cost of Living?

One of the more pivotal things to consider when choosing a place to live and study in the UK is the cost of living, particularly the difference between the daily cost of living in a big city compared to a smaller one. A city like London tends to add several thousand dollars per year to your overall price tag of earning a degree in the UK. Although many students find the excitement of living in London to be worth the investment, if you think the extra cost of living in a big city might be overwhelming or simply too expensive, there are many universities and locations in England, Wales, and Scotland that have a lower cost of living than London that still offer a great deal of degree program options.

Do You Want to Study in the Country or in a City?

While this might seem obvious, it is important to figure out whether you are a city or a country person. Do you revel in the hubbub of a pulsing city? Are you fascinated by the organized chaos of a large metropolis with seemingly endless attractions, large numbers of people, and new things to discover every time you turn a corner? Or would you rather have the quiet beauty of the country? Does a slightly slower pace, a little more room to breathe, and a quieter community appeal to you?

A city like London has its fair share of universities to choose from with both closed and open campus plans if you want the experience of living in one of the largest cities in Europe, but there are also a multitude of universities scattered throughout the UK if you find that you prefer something smaller and more intimate.

British Parliament in London, England

British Parliament, London, England

What is the Location’s Historical Significance?

Another aspect that should be considered when narrowing down a location for degrees abroad in the UK is the historical significance behind the place where you would like to live. Do you wish to do a more in-depth study of the conservation of Britain’s historic sites? Are you fascinated by the legacy of the Battle of Culloden in Scotland?

If there is something unique that has attracted you to the idea of earning a degree in the UK, don’t shy away from it, immerse yourself in it! Chances are you will find your academic experience much more fulfilling if you are able to make a connection with a place or a history that you have always been passionate about.

How Much Do You Want to Travel?

While traveling within the UK is extraordinarily convenient and can be quite inexpensive as an international student, you should consider how often you would like to travel outside of the UK too. If you plan on making frequent trips across the continent or to other countries that are close to the UK, you will probably want to put yourself in range of a major international airport to save both time and money.

Since the UK is an easy jumping off point for travel to continental Europe, taking the opportunity to visit other countries and immerse yourself in new cultures might be one of the most interesting and rewarding experiences of your time living and studying in the UK. Considering how much you want to travel and how convenient you want your travel options to be can help you further narrow down where you want to earn your degree abroad in the UK.

Sunset over the Lake District, Keswick, England

Lake District at Sunset, Keswick, England

Asking yourself the latter questions will help ensure that you are matched with the correct university, degree program, and location for you.

While making a decision about where to live and study in the UK can be overwhelming, you must remember that in the end, the UK is a wonderful place to live and earn a degree abroad; realistically, every region and city has its own appeal, beauty, and history, and each university can be a great place to earn a degree abroad.

No matter which route you chose to take, making the overall decision to live and study in the UK, immerse yourself in a new place and culture, and broaden and challenge your mind, will most definitely fulfill your thirst for adventure and curiosity to discover a new part of the world.

Earning a degree abroad in the UK is an experience of a lifetime, and one which should not be missed by anyone!