With your head buried deep inside a textbook, you can be anywhere in the world. So why should it matter where your physical self is? Academically, the UK would look good on any young professional’s CV. There’s no older or more glorious academic nation than the UK.
No doubt you have heard of Oxford and its famous Oxonians from Stephen Hawking and Bill Clinton to Hugh Grant and “Mr Bean”. Or, what of its timeless adversary: Cambridge? You could be atop a list that includes Charles Darwin and “Borat”. But, outside of these two famous universities, where else can you study?
1. Well outside of London, you have the old Roman town of Chester which sits neatly between the University of Liverpool (with over 20,000 students) and the University of Manchester (ranked 5th in Europe). Chester’s centre is ringed by its original Roman wall and attracts thousands of tourists a year. In the north of England sits Durham University ranked 5th best in the UK and just a short drive to Newcastle whose nightlife is nothing short of legendary and perfect for students, mixing both plenty of activities after classes and low cost in comparison to the other cities in the UK, according to the Student Living Index .
2. Across the border is the University of Edinburgh in Scotland’s capital. It’s the third most popular university in the UK by application and that’s partly because of the vibrancy of the city. New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh is called Hogmanay and is the largest New Year’s Eve street party in the world! It’s a good looking city too with both halves – Old Town and New Town – being given UNESCO World Heritage status.
At the other end of the UK, we have Cardiff University which is the heartbeat of Wales’s capital city. Despite its 18 million visitors a year, Cardiff wouldn’t be the same without its 28,000 students who line the boulevards of St. Mary’s Street every weekend. It’s a hotbed for sport too with two Premier League teams (from summer 2013) and the 72,500 capacity Millenium Stadium hosting football and rugby throughout the academic year.
But we’re avoiding the big one, aren’t we? Because by far the most popular UK destination for studying, taking photos, discovering history, dining, going to theatres and indeed partying is London. For even the well-travelled, there is no finer city in the world. Indeed, the poet and inventor of the dictionary Samuel Johnson once said "Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford". He was right too! Even today’s poets promote London’s eternal spirit.
In London, there is a university to suit every student. At the elite end, there’s the London School of Economics which has 13 applications for every undergraduate place on offer. LSE is located in Aldwych, just north of the River Thames. Apart from its world famous Politics and Economics courses, it also has a wealth of sports facilities for active students including squash, badminton, tennis, football, rugby and cricket.
Another popular option is Imperial College London located next to the beautiful Royal Albert Hall where you would find the best classical music concerts and events. It’s also a stone’s throw from Kensington Gardens which is the perfect location for a picnic between seminars. Academically, Imperial are best known for their courses in Life Sciences and Chemistry and are often in the media as a result of their pioneering research.
The largest elite university in London is UCL (University College London) which has 25,0000 students and a beautiful campus in Bloomsbury and Euston, central London. Their range of courses is expansive to say the least with degrees in Theoretical Physics, Icelandic, Bioprocessing, Egyptology or Viking Studies if you like!
At the more modest end of the scale, we’ll mention three. Queen Mary is located in East London between the Olympic stadium and the very trendy Brick Lane. Here you’ll find a great mix of students with 17% from the local area and 30% from 100 countries around the world. Because of their relationship with Beijing University, Queen Mary has 2,000 of their students based in China via joint programmes! The students have access to a dedicated night club and bar thanks to their union’s multi-million pound refurbishment of the social facilities to strengthen the university’s reputation of being the party uni of London.
Next, there’s London Met who are, academically and financially, one of the more accessible universities in London and given that they are located in Moorgate and Aldgate, offer fantastic value for money! Their range of facilities is quite fantastic with a dedicated Science Centre, recording studios, endless libraries and a mock courtroom for law students. Their student union is on the doorstep of Brick Lane and a short walk to the Tower of London and Minories which is one of the best evening drinking streets in London.
Finally, we have Greenwich University located in the south east of London. Greenwich is famous for the Cutty Sark ship, the indoor market, the international time line (origin of Greenwich Mean Time), the National Maritime Museum and “The Common” – the sloped park from which you can see most of East London. It’s a beautiful part of London and a must-see for any visitors before they leave. For those fortunate enough to study at Greenwich Uni, they can enjoy a grass-flanked location between The Thames and The Common which is glorious in the summer sunshine.
So maybe the question for you isn’t IF you will study in the UK but where and when? When is easy – the next intakes for undergraduate and postgraduate programs are in September 2013! And… Where? Take advantage of a tool your parents never had – the internet – and decide which you would enjoy the most. Jump into UK study and enjoy the most exciting adventure!