Applying to Study Abroad From the UK

Depending on the course you take many universities run exchange programmes and offer their students the chance to study abroad for a year.

However, if you don’t think a year is long enough, and you’d like to really immerse yourself in another culture during your time at university, it might be worth considering studying abroad.

Here’s more about international study and applying to study abroad from the UK:

Why study abroad?

Since the tuition fee changes have come into place, and universities can now charge up to £9000 per year, more and more UK students are looking at studying abroad where you can often get more bang for your buck.

International study and spending a longer period of time abroad is a valuable CV booster and could put you head and shoulders above other graduates when the time comes to finding a job.

The number of degree courses taught in English across Europe, America, and further afield is constantly growing meaning that you have more choice than ever before about where to study.

Previously, the fees associated with being a UK student studying abroad were prohibitive, but with the rise in UK tuition fees studying at home is no longer significantly less expensive.

For example, a recent survey conducted by HSBC found that studying in Canada would only cost a UK student £100 more per year than studying at home.

The same survey also discovered that Germany is the cheapest study destination for UK students, with France coming in close behind.

If you have a strong sense of adventure, or you’re considering an international career after graduation, studying abroad might be the right choice for you.

Can I still get a student loan abroad?

Unfortunately many universities abroad don’t run the same kind of student loan system as in the UK, meaning that you’ll often need to fund your own studies.

If finances are restricted then you may be better looking at the exchange option we mentioned earlier. Many UK universities are part of the Erasmus Programme, an EU initiative that allows students to exchange with students from other countries to study abroad for a year of their degree.

For students that want to study for their entire degree overseas then choosing your country wisely could help with costs.

For example, in The Netherlands you can get a student loan for your tuition fees and non-repayable grants for your living costs if you’re in part-time employment.

Italy also offers loans to EU students – however, these are merit and means tested so you’ll need to meet certain criteria to be eligible.

Scandinavian countries offer the best deal in terms of tuition fees, because there aren’t any, but living costs are notoriously high so you may not have much of a social life.

Countries with lower tuition fees, such as France, offer a good deal but you’ll need to work part-time to finance yourself and you could find this hard if your language skills aren’t good.

If you want to study outside of the EU, for example in Australia or America, then be prepared to get no financial support and to pay higher fees than domestic students.

With almost all universities abroad there is the chance to get a scholarship to fund your studies. However, competition is fierce and the scholarship may not cover your total outgoings.

How do I choose which university to go to?

First things first, narrow it down to a country. Decide what your financial situation will allow you to do and whether your language skills mean you could study in a non-English speaking country.

After that, looking at the international university league tables should give you an idea of which universities are worth researching further.

The top three international league tables are:

  • Academic Ranking of World Universities
  • Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings
  • QS World University Rankings

Top Five Most Popular Study Destinations for UK Students

According to a recent study conducted by UNESCO the top five most popular study destinations for UK students are:

  • Germany
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • France
  • USA

How do I apply for international universities?

In the majority of cases you need to apply directly to the university you wish to study at.

Be aware that there may be different application deadlines and schedules you’ll need to conform to.

You also need to remember that the entry requirements may be different and in addition to your A Levels you might also need to take an admissions test and, in some cases, a language test.

You may also be required to have an interview. Sometimes the larger universities will hold interview days at locations in the UK, but in an increasingly digital age, many universities conduct interviews via Skype or other video call system.

If you’re considering studying abroad then it’s best to start researching as early as possible so you’re prepared and have the time to make all the arrangements needed to be successful.