There are only two places in the world which have earned the peak ranking as an Alpha Global City – one is New York and the other is London. England’s capital is one of the most internationally diverse and economically powerful cities in the world, a true melting pot of cultures, cuisines, and entertainment from across the globe. In the heart of the United Kingdom students can study what you want to study and return home a more well-rounded, enriched individual. And studying abroad in London will likely provide students with a good amount of fun along the way.
Education is one of the things that London does best. With 43 universities located within the city’s limits, London contains the highest concentration of higher education institutions in all of Europe. Many academic institutions, such as the London School of Economics, London Business School, University of Westminster, the Royal Academy of Music, and King’s College London offer world-class specialized educations across a variety of fields in the arts and sciences. Other schools such as University College London and Imperial College London simply offer world-class educations in the more general sense of the word.
Students of just about any discipline will find ample opportunities for study abroad in London. Whether at a local university, international school, or partner institution, you can almost assuredly find a study abroad program in London which matches your academic tastes. Some common subjects of study in London include Economics, History, Theater, Physics, and Medicine and Healthcare, but in no way will students who study in London be constrained to any these fields; in London, the course opportunities are limitless. It is also popular for study abroad programs in London to combine academic study with an internship or supplemental research, as London affords professional and field research opportunities which very few cities in the world can match.
Study abroad programs in London typically last for any length of time, from summer courses, to a semester program, or full academic year of study. Academic calendars vary from school to school within the city, but most tend to run on the trimester system with Autumn, Spring, and Summer terms lasting about ten weeks each. London tends to offer a damp temperate climate year round with temperatures never spiking much toward either extreme, so any time of year will be comfortable for international students.
London has a little bit of something for everybody. It is an incredibly diverse city with world-class theaters, restaurants, museums, shopping places, and concert venues. A thriving fashion industry and arts scene that is paralleled by few other cities on the planet, sets a hip intercultural undertone to the city’s global pulse. When not studying in London, students can take a jog through the beautiful Hyde Park, a walk along the Thames past Big Ben, or just hang out at a local pub with friends. Whatever your leisure time interests, London will exceed your expectations.
The most common form of transportation throughout London is the Tube, an efficient and affordable underground metro system which connects most corners of the city. There is also a good bus system and taxis are everywhere, but taxis can be quite expensive to utilize on a daily basis. Take advantage of the intricate system of public transportation to get out and explore as many areas of the city as you can – the permeating blend of international communities throughout the city makes for a never ending cache of distinct offbeat neighborhoods to be discovered.
Be wary - like most internationally prominent cities, London can be quite expensive to live in for study abroad students. It will be lighter on your wallet if you eat and shop locally, being mindful to avoid tourist traps. Studying in London also provides students with a large variety of free museums and events which students should take advantage of. Check out GoAbroad’s Scholarships Directory for study abroad in London to learn more about available financial aid opportunities too.
Dormitory and apartment living are both popular options for students studying abroad in London. Dormitories are a great way to meet other local and international students, providing for a fun living environment with ample social opportunities, while apartment living is good for the more independently driven students.
If you are planning to find housing independently be warned that London real estate has become increasingly expensive over recent years, as the city is facing a housing crisis due to the constant influx of migrants from around the world. Your options within the city may thus be limited, so it is a good idea to work through your study abroad program to secure sufficient housing.
If you are not from the United Kingdom or the European Union, then you will likely need to apply for a student visa to study in London. Student Visitor Visas (SVV) are valid for shorter academic stays, while Tier 4 Visas are typically required for longer study abroad programs in England. Your study abroad program provider or university should help guide you through the visa process, so don’t worry!
For centuries London has been a central city of global development, and today it continues to fulfill its role as one of the most important cultural, economic, and political forces in the world. Located on the temperate isles of the United Kingdom, London has become an archetypal global city in the truest sense of the world. People from all over the world flock here in search of opportunity, and students who study abroad in London will accordingly find themselves living in a vibrantly unique urban environment like no other place on earth. Beyond academics, the streets of London are its own best teacher.