Boasting over 150 higher education institutions – including some of the world’s most prestigious and top-ranked universities – the United Kingdom (UK) attracts a diverse array of international students from all over the world every semester
Centrally located between Europe and North America, the UK is one of the world’s most popular study abroad destinations. With a study culture steeped in heritage as well as strong research credentials, it offers international students an enticing range of higher education institutions and programs.
Together England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales form the UK. The UK’s parliament (located in London) hosts representatives from each nation, and helps forge a common British identity. However, the English, Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish cultures are and remain distinguishable from one another.
English is of course the UK’s primary language, as well as the native tongue of 360 million people worldwide. It is spoken as a second language by half a billion people, and – thanks to the relative ease with which it can be picked up – has become the language of international business, travel and entertainment.
UK Education System
The UK education system is worldwide reputed for its high quality and standards. In general, the British higher education system has five stages of education: early years, primary years, secondary education, Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE).
Studying in the UK as an International Student
If you’re an international student, you must point out that not all higher education providers in the UK are referred to as a university. This issue is regulated by law. As this official regulation states, a higher education institution can be labelled as a university under these circumstances:
- If it gets an approval by the Privy Council under Further and Higher Education Act 1992
- If it gets an approval under the provisions of the Companies Act 2006.
As an international student coming from countries other than the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you must know that you’ll need a student visa to study in the UK. If you’re aged 16 and you’re a resident of one of these countries you can apply for a Tier 4 visa (General student), the official student visa in the UK.
For those wanting to study in the USA its possible to choose between three types of higher education institutions – State Universities, Private Universities and Community Colleges, each with their own prerequisites, tuition fees and types of qualifications. State universities are often affordable than private universities and the most popular option for international students coming to study in the USA. A community college will award graduates with an associate degree which acts as a stepping stone to an undergraduate degree at a state or private-run university.
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