Studying in the UK: An International Dream

Published by: tgiuk

Published on: 14 May, 2024

By: Khushi Handa

The story of why people choose to become international students in the UK, the support offered and what happens post-graduation.

The United Kingdom has always been akin to a guiding light for higher studies– undergraduate and postgraduate university education, especially for international students. Thanks to the abundance of exceptional university level education and the promise of a better future, students flock to the UK trying to find their place and fit in. With over 600,000 aspiring youngsters in 2021-22, a number which can only increase as the years pass, this article will discuss the whys and hows of overseas education, from the decision to study in the UK to what happens after an international student graduates. This article gives my own commentary and some insights obtained from peers, reflecting on my ongoing experience as I figure out my international dream. 

  • Why the UK?

The international dream for prospective students starts with a simple thought of changing the status quo, either through the attainment of quality education within your chosen discipline, to help kickstart your career and future, to improve your current financial status, or just to explore life in a new place and for personal development. Well, there are several secondary goals that fuel this big decision—building new friendships, expanding your social circle (which people nowadays call networking), exploring the intricacies of different cultures around the world, traveling to nearby places and whatnot. I happen to have friends who, apart from the primary goal of education, came to the UK to learn the English language, because what could be a better way to improve language skills than to live in a country using it as their first language? With the existence of universities providing world-class education and top-tier infrastructure, the UK is among the top countries that students choose for their higher education. 

Quality Education with Top Ranking Universities-

The United Kingdom is home to the famous Russell Group of universities, renowned and known amongst students popularly, for various reasons. Firstly, the Russell Group is comprised of 24 universities in different parts of the UK providing education that is recognised as top-level research-oriented teaching and learning in any and every course option available under the sun. Secondly, this Ivy League of the UK (The Ivy League is a group of top universities in the United States), does not only provide world-class education, there is also some level of hopefulness that one gets when studying in a university that the entire world admires.

The end goal of any kind of education is to provide essential raw materials such as knowledge, personal development and rational thinking for students when they go out into the world and join the workforce in their area of interest, start a business, or build a career of their choice, and the United Kingdom does this admirably. 

Improving Financial Status- 

The entire process of studying in a university or country that gets recognition from various industries and employers helps make the decision. Who doesn’t love the idea of a financially secure and stable future? One can definitely expect to get a fierce kickstart on their dream career or simply a good job, that enables you to live securely. There are also plenty of resources like job sites that are easily accessible to research when figuring out your financial path ahead. Many students dream of and study for a stable financial future to change their current state of living, to be independent and to take control of their life. 

The Exploration of New Experiences

I believe that the idea of adding new experiences to your life and challenging your personal development through new experiences is both the primary and secondary goal of moving to the UK for higher education. Life as a migrant student is a myriad of daily adventures. In my experiences as an international student, the most interesting experiences of my life in the UK are all in ordinary places and mundane activities; going to the grocery shop for the first time was an altogether new world for me as much as my first journeys on the bus and tube in London were. It is the activity of observing how people from around the world showcase their cultures in such different yet beautiful ways that leaves everlasting impressions in our minds and adds depth to our personalities in ways that fellow migrant students can relate to. It also helps when students connect with people in their universities, accommodation, or just in the cafe next door, sharing the experiences of an unfamiliar land together. 

  • How do universities help migrant students? 

With plenty of resources and help provided to students, one can be certain to make the most of their journey in the UK. With the decision made and after a student arrives, it might get a bit lonely with all the new information you are given, along with coursework and getting along with new people. In order to make the process of being an international student easier, universities generally have an information team dedicated to helping students solve queries and issues within and outside of the university. Services like mental health aid and counselling, well-being resources such as university starter kits consisting of vouchers, coupons, discounted services like gym memberships, food offers and information leaflets are some of the things provided. 

All universities have a student union consisting of clubs and societies you can join. This not only brings students together giving them a chance to bond, but it also promotes cultural diversity with dedicated celebrations for different festivals around the world and days of importance to specific cultures. Universities also provide volunteering and part-time work opportunities for students who wish to self-sustain while studying. They also give students the chance to become a part of the leadership team within their institution (every university has webpages dedicated to information about leadership races and student unions). Most universities have career guidance centres and events, along with a team that is committed to helping students get job support, CV building and revision appointments, and even career seminars and fairs conducted regularly within the institution.

The resources and help provided to students help you make the most of your journey in the UK.

  •  Making our way post- graduation: What next? 

The International Dream does not end at being equipped with quality higher education and the accumulation of new experiences; the next step is using all this information to make our way post studies. With limited knowledge about moving ahead in an unfamiliar country that you did not grow up in, the challenges of carving your path as a migrant student involve everything from figuring out the various sectors and employers around you, understanding employment laws or business laws if you plan on starting your own venture, finding temporary work while you look for something relevant in the long run, and the right visa or work routes to enable all this in the first place. 

From here, the possibilities are endless. Students can opt for staying and finding a job in the UK (your new graduate visa lasts for 2 years post -graduation), move on to applying for permanent residency, and even become a citizen of the UK after a few years. On the other side of it is returning to your home country, and applying the knowledge, resources and experiences you have gathered from your experience to carve a path and find your future. There is also the struggle of finding your footing when jobs are hard to come by and competition is fierce as never before, but that is when your new-formed connections and experiences push you to persevere.  

The journey from the homeland to an unexplored and unknown land has its ups and downs, but that is the beauty of it, and that is what makes the migrant student experience special. 

For more information, check out UK LIFE | TogetherInTheUK

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