Education blog by Pearson India

  • Life on campus: what should students in the UK expect this winter?

    COVID-19 has changed the way that schools and universities operate around the world. So as international students plan to begin their studies, it leaves many wondering: with all these new changes, what will university life look like in winter 2022?

    In this guide we cover what you should expect on campus. You’ll learn about new accommodation rules, university events, and online lectures. We’ll also highlight what one institution - the University of Glasgow - has planned to welcome students back safely.

    Student accommodation

    While COVID-19 rules have generally been lifted for people in the UK, governments are still recommending that people work to keep themselves and others safe. For example, the UK still recommends people get tested when they feel unwell and wear face masks on public transit.

    The government also recommends meeting with others outdoors or in well-ventilated spaces, and reducing the number of people you see. What’s more, it recommends that universities and colleges take steps to keep everyone in student-housing safe. This includes:

    • Regularly cleaning kitchens and bathrooms
    • Cleaning shared surfaces
    • Providing clear instructions for students on how to reduce the risk of transmission

    If you’re a student planning to live in student accommodation, it’s also a great idea to check out this checklist created by the College and University Business Officers and the Universities Safeties and Health Association in the UK. It goes through practical tips for students to reduce coronavirus risks in shared housing. Things like:

    • Keeping visits with friends short
    • Opening windows for a long time during (and after) visits
    • Keeping windows open in shared bathrooms
    • Cleaning your bathroom regularly - especially after a visitor has used it
    • Wearing a face mask if you need to be in the same room as a housemate who has tested positive for COVID-19

    Universities should provide support for students who need to self isolate, too. This might vary by institution, so it’s a smart idea to understand exactly how your university will do so before moving in.

    Read more: Seeking help from international student communities

    Tuition fees

    Tuition costs have been a concern for students around the world during the pandemic. In fact, last May in the UK, student unions from 17 universities signed a letter calling for a 30% reduction in tuition fees to make up for the disruption in education.

    It’s up to each institution whether or not they change their fees. However some universities have already offered students reduced rates. For example, the University of Bradford is offering a 20% reduction in fees for people who lost their jobs during the pandemic and want to apply for a Master’s.

    Universities in the UK also regularly provide international students with financial support - including scholarships, bursaries and student loans,


    According to the UK government, social distancing doesn’t need to be in place for in-person classes. However, many universities across the UK will run hybrid courses. This means students will study both online and in-person.

    For example, some universities have decided to host small lectures, lab work and seminars in-person, while large group lessons will continue online. But of course, every university has different plans. This makes it important to check with your own institutions about how courses will be run.

    On-campus events

    Every university hosts an orientation week for international students. It’s a great time to meet new people, learn about the institution, and explore different clubs or societies you might be interested in joining this semester.

    During orientation week, universities usually host concerts, games, nights outs, and welcome fairs. You’ll have the chance to learn more about extracurricular activities on campus. Some universities this year will also host online events. To find out more about what’s happening at your university, check out your student union website.

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  • Jakarta to London: Santi’s Chevening scholarship adventure

    The Chevening programme offers scholarships to international students to study a one year Master’s degree in the UK. Chevening scholars are bright, ambitious and make up a diverse international community. It’s no wonder that the scholarships are held in such high regard.  Since 1983, over 50,000 professionals have studied in the UK through the programme.

    Santi Dharmawan is a young student from Jakarta. When she applied for the Chevening scholarship, she saw the opportunity to achieve her academic and professional goals. But more than that, she would realise her dream of living in the UK.

    So, how did Santi’s Chevening scholarship journey begin?

    Moving to London through the Chevening scholarship

    Santi first heard about the scholarship from her older sister. “It has a great focus on international development,” Santi says, “which is the area I’ve always wanted to work in.”

    She had been working with charities and NGOs, and some of her senior colleagues suggested applying for the Chevening scholarship too.

    “My professors at the University of Indonesia also all said that it was a great option for studying international relations, human rights or political economy,” she adds.  

    Previously, Santi had been to the UK for a visit long before she thought of applying for the scholarship, and she’d spent a couple of days in London. Like so many people, she found the city really exciting and inspiring. “I remember thinking to myself, I have to study here. I want to work and live in London one day.”

    Santi’s dream of living in London came true. She was awarded a scholarship to her first choice of university, King’s College London. She was going to study for a Master's in the Political Economy of Emerging Markets.

    Getting off the plane and arriving in the hustling, busy capital city was a shock to the system. The streets were busy and everyone was in a hurry, just like home. There were new sights, sounds, and ways of doing things. And Santi had to get things done quickly.

    “It was very overwhelming! I arrived with another friend from Indonesia, and the first week it was Freshers Week at the university, but we were also flat hunting - it was really intense.”

    The practicalities of moving to the UK were challenging, especially organising accommodation from abroad.

    “Now, looking back, I think how brave, to come to London without having any accommodation beyond the first week,” says Santi.

    “But before we came we didn’t know how much we could trust the online sites, and we wanted to view flats physically,” she explains. “Anyway, it all worked out!”

    Here are some tips from King’s College London on finding accommodation in the capital.

    Experiencing a new academic culture

    London was a huge contrast to Jakarta in many ways. But the biggest difference for Santi was the academic culture.

    “In Indonesia, the educational setting and the relationship between students and lecturers are really different. It’s more of a transfer of knowledge from the professor to the students. There may be Q&As but there’s no debate,” Santi explains.

    At the end of term in Indonesia, students often write an essay based on what they’ve covered.

    “But in the UK, you’re expected to read a lot, and be an active contributor to class discussion.”

    Santi didn't expect that, so when she received the reading materials for her first class she didn’t know she was supposed to read them.

    “I thought they would go through them in a lecture during the class,” Santi says. “When we actually were in the class, I was asked for my opinion, and I was just completely clueless - I didn’t know what they were talking about!”

    But once Santi had got to grips with this new way of learning, she much preferred it. “It really teaches you to think critically and to express your opinion.”

    Becoming part of a diverse student community

    “It is a melting pot and that’s one of the things I love about it.”

    Santi’s favourite thing about her experience as a Chevening scholar was the community that she became part of while studying at King’s College London. “I thought the majority of students were going to be English, but they weren’t - it was really balanced,” she says. “I made friends from England, but I also made friends from other countries too, which was fantastic. I was part of a network of a lot of international students.”

    Santi met people from all over the world at the Chevening scholarship events, and of course London is a very multicultural city as well. “It’s one of the benefits and privileges of living in London,”  she says. “It is a melting pot and that’s one of the things I love about it. Me and my friends used to have dinner parties where we’d all bring a dish from our country and that was really special. I loved those dinners.”

    Gaining new career opportunities

    Santi found that the Chevening scholarship opened up lots of career opportunities for her. “It’s very well regarded,” she explains. “If you’re one of the young Indonesian students who got selected for Chevening, then employers know that you are very capable and you’ve got good academic English.”

    For the moment, Santi is working in London in the field of public relations and corporate communications and building her career - something that wouldn’t have been possible without the scholarship.

    For anyone who is planning to study abroad, Santi has some words of advice:

    “One of the things I learned from my experience is that people are very friendly and they want to help you. So, don’t be afraid of asking for support.”

    How to apply for the Chevening Scholarship

    If you’d like to apply for the Chevening scholarship, you can learn more on their website. Chevening removed their English language requirement in 2020, meaning that you’ll no longer have to show your English level as part of the scholarship application.

    However, you’ll need to prove your level of English to apply for a Masters at a UK university. PTE Academic is accepted by the UK government and 99% of British universities.

    Find out how PTE Academic can help you achieve your dream of living and studying in the UK.

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  • Five common mistakes UK international students make

    Studying in the UK as an international student gives you the chance to immerse yourself in another culture. You will improve your English, make international friends, and see another part of the world. Yet, like any new challenge, it can be difficult and you might make some mistakes when you first arrive.

    The good news is that millions of people have studied in the UK before you. They’ve faced all the same highs and lows – and you can learn a lot from their mistakes.

    So, if you are planning on studying abroad in the UK, here are five common mistakes international students make (and what you can do to avoid them).

    1. Not planning the timings of your application

    University applications in the UK can take a long time. It’s important to start the process early to avoid disappointment.

    Keep in mind that the deadlines for applications run from October to January, and you’ll have to apply through UCAS - that’s the Universities and College Admission Services in the UK.

    Within your application, you’ll also need to prove you have the right English language skills to live and study in the UK. For this you will need to take an approved Secure English Language Test (SELT) like PTE Academic, and show evidence of your result in your application.

    Luckily, PTE is also accepted by the United Kingdom Home Office for all visa and immigration applications. It can help you gain access to 99% of UK universities. And you get your score in 48 hours. So that’s one less thing to worry about!

    Find out more about using PTE to apply for your student visa.

    2. Getting the wrong student visa

    All international students who want to study abroad in the UK must apply for a visa. What many people don’t know is that there are two types of UK visa for students:

    • Short-term study visa
      This is available for 6 or 11 months, and is ideal for students who want to take part in a short language course or research project as part of their degree.
    • Student route visa
      Formerly known as the Tier 4 General student visa, you need this if you want to study for an undergraduate or higher-level degree at university.

    When you can start the application process will depend on whether you are inside or outside the UK. It usually takes between three and eight weeks to get your application approved.

    Learn more about the different types of student visa.

    3. Underestimating the weather

    Many students struggle to know what clothes to pack when they are moving to the UK. It’s not surprising, after all, British weather is very changeable. It can vary a lot depending on your location and the season. It’s therefore a good idea to research the area you are studying in and select a range of clothes for different times of year.

    Generally, the further north you go, the colder and windier it is likely to be. The west of the UK also tends to be a lot wetter than the east.

    But don’t just pack rain jackets and sweaters. Believe it or not, the UK can reach temperatures of 30 degrees celsius in the summer. So bring your sunglasses too!

    4. Not preparing for class tutorials

    Most universities teach through a combination of lectures, seminars and tutorials. Lectures happen in a large lecture hall and are delivered by a professor. Seminars and tutorials are much smaller (fewer than 10 people). Tutorials and seminars are often led by a postgraduate student or lecturer.

    While you can often sit and passively listen and take notes in a lecture, don’t be surprised if you’re asked to speak in a tutorial. You’ll be expected to complete a set amount of reading, and be given different essays and assignments each week.

    Make sure that you have done the required reading in advance of your tutorial - otherwise you might get asked to contribute your opinion and have nothing to say.

    We recommend creating a study timetable to make sure you stay on top of the work. It will help you prepare better for your classes. More importantly, you won’t get caught out by a question you can’t answer.

    5.  Facetiming home too much

    It’s good to stay connected with friends and family, and there are lots of tools to help you do so. But lots of video calls home all the time can actually make you miss people more, and stop you from going out in the real world and experiencing a new culture.

    Of course, we know being far away from home is hard. But often the remedy to homesickness is staying busy. Step out of your comfort zone, and try new things. Join a society, head along to a student meet up and make some friends.

    And, if you are really suffering, don’t be afraid to reach out to your student counselling service. They can put you in contact with the right people, and give you some strategies without judgement.

    Studying abroad in the UK is the adventure of a lifetime, and it’s only natural to make a few missteps along the way. So even if something does go wrong, don’t worry - everybody makes mistakes sometimes!

    How PTE Academic can help you study in the UK

    PTE Academic is accepted by 99% of UK universities. So, you’ll be able to use your PTE Academic score to prove you have the level of English you’ll need to study in the UK. Each university has different English language requirements.

    This article shares the English language requirements of some popular UK universities.

    PTE Academic is also accepted by the UK Home Office in support of your student visa application. So, find out more about booking your test today and planning for your study abroad experience in the UK.

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  • How to make friends at university in the UK

    Studying abroad at a UK university is a unique time in your life. You’ll have the chance to meet people from all around the world, make lasting friends that will enrich your life, and network with other people who will be working in your field in the future.

    At first, some international students struggle to meet people and make friends at university. It can be intimidating to put yourself out there when you’re adjusting to a new environment. But, it’s important to make the most of social opportunities that come your way.

    So, let’s take a look at some tips and tricks that will teach you how to make friends at university in the UK:

    1. Attend freshers week events


    Freshers week is often where students make their university friends. So, what is freshers week? Well, universities often organise events in the first week of term, specifically for first year students. These events are referred to as freshers week, because they’re aimed at “freshers” - students who are starting their first year of university.

    Some examples of freshers week activities include:

    • Student club and society fairs
    • Concerts and live music
    • Sports games
    • Club nights and parties
    • Campus tours
    • Team building activities
    • Barbecues, lunches, and dinners

    These kinds of events and parties are great places to get to know other students. Most first year students don’t know many people, and everyone is keen to make friends! So, even if freshers events might take you out of your comfort zone, make an effort to attend a few and put yourself out there.

    2. Join university clubs and student societies

    Despite how you might feel, you’re not the only one wondering how to make friends at university. There are lots of other students looking to meet like-minded people, and one of the best ways to find them is by joining university clubs and student societies.

    University clubs and societies are fantastic ways to make friends because they’re free, lots of fun, and bring people with common interests together. Most universities have a wide variety of clubs, so there’s something for everyone. Some examples include:

    • Sports and recreational clubs
    • Political clubs
    • Cultural clubs
    • Performing and visual arts societies
    • Religious and spiritual groups
    • Academic clubs
    • Volunteering and community service initiatives
    • Social justice and activism societies

    3. Say yes to invitations

    When you get started at a new university, you’ll probably receive invitations to campus events, student parties, academic meetings, and even personal gatherings.

    Even though it might seem intimidating to attend events like these alone or without knowing anyone, we’d encourage you to say yes to any invitation you receive. You’ve got nothing to lose - and you never know where you’ll meet a new friend or have an interesting new experience.

    4. Spend time in communal areas

    Sometimes meeting new people is a simple matter of spending time in communal areas, and university campuses are full of them.

    If you live on campus, your student residence will likely have a common living room. If you spend some of your free time there, you’ll be more likely to cross paths with new people and have the opportunity to strike up a conversation.

    If you don’t live on campus, there are still plenty of common areas to explore. For instance, try hanging out in dining areas, student union buildings, and libraries.

    5. Learn how to make small talk

    Small talk refers to polite conversation with people you don’t really know. So, being able to make small talk is an important step in meeting people and making friends. But if English isn’t your mother tongue, it might be difficult to feel confident when meeting new people in the UK.

    A great way to surpass this obstacle is by practising how to make small talk in English. That way, you’ll feel better prepared when you find yourself in a social situation with lots of people you don’t know.

    The unwritten rules around small talk can vary in each culture. In Britain, it’s considered polite to ask people questions about themselves, as long as they’re not too personal. Good questions to ask people are:

    • Where are you from?
    • What are you studying?
    • Do you live in halls?
    • Have you joined the student union?
    • Are you in any student clubs?

    It can feel very difficult to start a conversation with someone you don’t know. But small talk is like any skill - the more you do it, the easier it becomes!

    6. Pair up with a classmate for social events

    If you feel nervous or shy attending social events by yourself, why not pair up with a classmate or friend and go together? You’ll feel a lot more confident entering a new social situation if you’ve got someone familiar by your side.

    Once you start meeting a couple of new people, you’ll quickly learn which students are in a similar situation to you. They might be other international students, or maybe they’ve travelled from another city to attend university. In any case, they will want to make friends too, and they’ll probably appreciate an invitation!

    7. Host a potluck dinner with other international students

    It’s usually easy to connect with other international students. After all, you’re all far away from home and getting used to a new environment in a foreign country.

    A fun way to get to know other international students is by organizing a potluck dinner. In case you don’t know, a potluck dinner is a meal where each guest brings a dish of their choice to share. This is a great activity because it gives everyone the chance to try new foods from different countries. And there’s lots to talk about as you discuss the dishes and swap recipes!

    Live and study in the UK with PTE Academic

    All in all, studying in the UK can be a fantastic opportunity for international students to expand their academic horizons and make meaningful friendships along the way.

    If you’ve ever dreamed of living and studying in the United Kingdom, PTE Academic can help you achieve your goals. PTE Academic is recognised by the UK Home Office, can be used for your student visa, and is accepted by 99% of UK universities.

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  • How to create a budget for studying in the UK

    Attending university in the UK is a fantastic opportunity, but it requires resources. If you’re considering studying abroad, it’s important to research the UK cost of living carefully, and then plan your budget accordingly.

    We’ve created a simple guide to help you get an idea what to think about when it comes to researching the living expenses in the UK for international students. You’ll be able to get organised before you head off on your international adventure!

    Take all costs into consideration

    Even before you leave your country, you’ll have to pay for many things in preparation for your year abroad. Luckily these are one-time expenses, such as UK student visa fees, university fees for international students, or course materials. Even so, they are usually significant costs and you should include them while budgeting.

    Recurring expenses

    Once you arrive at your destination, you’ll have recurring expenses. Every month you’ll have to spend money on rent, transport, household bills, or phone bills. These expenses are relatively easy to plan for, as they are usually stable over the year.

    Unexpected expenses

    But then there are other living expenses in the UK for international students. These can change a lot depending on your personal situation.

    For example, I¡if you want to travel at weekends, or plan to go out a lot with your friends, then you should estimate those figures generously.

    Also think about how much you are going to spend on socialising, clothes shopping, or your hobbies. You will need to keep an eye on these things carefully if your budget is tight.

    Research the cost of living in your destination city

    The average cost of living in the UK can vary considerably depending on where you are studying. Are you going to study in a big city? Or is your destination university in a small town? Accommodation costs will vary significantly, and averages for a one-bedroom rental can range from £1100 in a smaller city like Oxford to £1,695 in metropolitan London.

    Getting around may also need to be in your budget, if you can’t get everywhere on foot. For example, a monthly pass for public transportation in Glasgow will cost you £63 per month, but if you are going to be living in Manchester, you’ll need to put aside £74 for a pass.

    Unless you are a runner who can just lace up their shoes and train outdoors, you may also need to account for workout costs. Even with student discounts, joining the university gym in Cambridge will cost students about £35 per month, compared to £22 at the on-campus facilities in Leeds.

    Where to find local information

    With such a variation in the cost of living between different cities and regions, it’s a good idea to do some detailed research before you decide on where you’d like to study, to make sure it’s within your budget.

    Maybe you know another international student who has studied in your destination university? Or perhaps there is a student organisation that you can contact? Try and reach out to current students for a clearer idea of what they are spending in their day-to-day life. They may even be able to give you tips on good deals or where to avoid!

    Student accommodation prices will depend on the type of lodging you are looking for. Do you want to live on campus? Or maybe you want to rent your own place, or share with other students off campus? Many institutions usually have detailed information about the options available in student residences and can put you in touch with possible roommates, landlords or homestay families.

    Top tip:
    Use a student budget calculator for the UK, such as this one from the Universities and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS). For ease, you can select from a list of schools for accurate local costs.

    Part-time jobs in the UK for international students

    With all these expenses facing you, a bit of extra income would be welcome for any student. Tutoring could be a possible way to supplement your income during your time of studies. You may want to look for work tutoring children, or even your peers at the university. You’re permitted to work up to 20 hours a week on an international student visa during the school year.

    The career centre at your university can help you look for part-time work opportunities. Maybe you want to get some experience in your field of study. Or perhaps you just want to work in a pub or restaurant in order to practise your English and immerse yourself in the local culture.

    Find out a few options for part-time jobs for international students in the UK.

    There are also scholarships available for undergraduate and postgraduate studies. These can come directly from the universities, or through government-run initiatives. For example, there are specific scholarship programs for non-EU nationals looking to do postgraduate studies.

    Find out more about scholarships for international students in the UK

    An example student budget

    It may all seem like a lot to think about, but estimating your cost of living involves just a few calculations. You need to add up all the fixed and variable expenses, just like you would do while living in your own country.

    Here is an example of a monthly budget for a student in Nottingham. This is based on average spending, estimated using a UK student budget calculator:

    Item Cost
    Rental apartment £385
    Transportation (monthly pass with student discount) £49
    Utility bills (electricity, gas, water, etc) £46
    Gym membership (university gym) £23
    Phone and internet £27
    Grocery shopping £73
    Bank fees £30
    Clothes and personal items £50
    Takeaway and eating out £70
    Total £753

    Often you will find student discounts, such as food deals on campus, special phone plans or reduced rates at shops and restaurants, so take advantage and always ask.

    Don’t forget that this budget does not include shopping and hobbies, so factor those in depending on your own personal situation. If you are able to work during your time abroad, that can help alleviate some of the financial burden.

    Learn more

    You’ll find more advice on studying abroad in the UK on the Pearson PTE website. Did you know that PTE Academic is accepted by 99% of UK universities? What’s more, the test can also be used for your student visa application, as it is accepted by the Home Office. Learn how PTE Academic can help you achieve your goals of living and studying in the UK.

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  • 5 ways a UK university degree will boost your career

    Thinking about taking an undergraduate or master’s degree in the UK? You wouldn’t be alone! Hundreds of thousands of international students benefit from the UK higher education system.

    With exciting UK internships, career opportunities, and a robust academic programme, there are lots of reasons to choose Britain as a study destination.

    Your investment of time and money will be sure to pay off. But if you’re still not sure why you should study in the UK, here are five ways a British university degree can boost your career opportunities.  

    1. Earn a highly recognised degree

    The UK education system is highly regarded around the world. Ninety of the country’s universities appear in the QS World University Rankings 2021. More excitingly, there are four British higher education institutions which feature in the top ten best in the world:

    • University of Oxford (5)
    • University of Cambridge (7)
    • Imperial College London (8)
    • UCL (10)

    UK universities are famous for challenging you to develop critical, communicative, and creative thinking skills. With different styles of teaching, from lectures in theatres, to seminars and tutorials with lots of discussions, you’ll be an active participant in your course, whatever you are studying.

    A degree from a UK university also shows employers that you are a proactive, engaged thinker. You’ll develop the skills to research, form your own ideas, and present them clearly. These will help you progress in your career in the years ahead.

    2. Grow a global network

    With so many top universities and such a great academic experience, it’s no wonder that more than five hundred thousand international students choose the UK as a study destination, according to the ICEF monitor.

    With approximately 55,000 students from India, 216,000 students from China, and many thousands from Latin America and Europe, you will engage with people with different backgrounds. At the same time, you’ll hear and learn about contrasting world views and experiences.

    As an international student yourself, you’ll also bring a valuable new perspective and contribute to the conversation. This will help you step out of your comfort zone. You’ll develop the intercultural communication skills that are so valued in the modern workplace.

    Furthermore, as an alumnus of a British university, you’ll be part of a network of thousands of local and international students. Who knows how you’ll reconnect in the future and what professional and personal opportunities you’ll be able to support each other with?

    Life at a British university really is the start of a glittering career.

    3. Develop Academic English skills

    Whether you’re in Scotland, England, Wales or Northern Ireland, if you’re studying in the British Isles, you’ll be completely immersed in English.

    You’ll learn to speak with locals and international students alike. Your day-to-day language skills will soon be better than ever. But more importantly, you’ll also develop professional and academic English skills too.

    These English skills are necessary for communicating, negotiating and conducting business all over the world. And in our increasingly globalised world, employers in many fields are prioritising candidates with a strong command of professional English. After all, it’s the lingua franca – or the language - of international business.

    4. Gain experience with your right to work in the UK

    Many international students choose the UK as a study destination because they have the right to work in the UK during their studies. Whether you’re looking for a UK company internship opportunity or simply want to support your studies financially, you’ll most likely be able to do so.

    Those studying at degree level or higher usually have the right to work for 20 hours per week during term time and 40 hours per week in the holidays. This is perfect if you want to capitalize on the chance to do a summer internship and get some work experience related to your area of interest.

    International students studying pre-sessional courses and foundational courses below degree level have different visa conditions. They are usually only allowed to work 10 hours per week during term time and full time during the holidays. Part time students are not allowed to work.

    Be sure to check your visa conditions before you start working. See the British Government website for the most up-to-date information.

    5. Have the right to work post-study

    Unlike many other international study destinations, the UK extends your right to work in the country after you have finished your degree.

    A new government initiative called the Graduate Route launched in July 2021. Those with a UK student visa, studying at an undergraduate or postgraduate level, will be able to stay in employment in the UK for two additional years after their studies. If you complete a doctorate, you will be able to stay for up to three years.

    Career opportunities in the UK

    With the right to work, a great network, internship opportunities, and strong professional and academic English skills, you will be able to step into your career with confidence. Of course, there are many more reasons why you should study in the UK. So, if you’re still not convinced, you might also like to read about these 7 other benefits of studying in the UK.

    PTE Academic can help you boost your career opportunities too!

    PTE Academic can help you achieve your goals of living and studying in the UK. The secure English language proficiency test can be used for UK visas and to meet the entry requirements of 99% of UK universities.

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  • Employment opportunities for postgraduate students in the UK

    Studying in the United Kingdom opens doors for international students. With the right to work during your studies, you’ll have the chance to gain valuable work experience before graduation.

    But what if you decide you want to stay and work in the UK after your studies? Now, it’s easier than ever to find graduate jobs in the UK, thanks to recent visa changes.

    Let’s explore what this new UK government initiative means for finding a job after graduating.

    How to work in the UK after graduating

    You can start your career off with the Graduate Route. Since July 2021, International students have been allowed to spend an additional two years in the UK after successfully completing their degrees. It’s an unsponsored route: this means you don’t need a job offer or funding to apply.

    You’ll be able to search for a job and get professional experience of the UK job market before returning to your own country.

    If you decide to remain in the UK and pursue your career after your visa expires, you’ll be able to switch from the Graduate route to the Skilled Worker route.

    As long as you meet the relevant requirements, the Skilled Worker route allows you to work in the UK for a further five years. It allows you to stay in the UK to do an eligible job with an approved employer. This visa also contributes to settlement rights – meaning you may be able to apply to live permanently in the UK.

    Read more about the different types of Visas available in the UK.

    Employment opportunities in the UK

    Now that working in the UK after your degree is easier than ever before, what kind of graduate jobs are available?

    The jobs market in the UK is full of opportunities for international students. After all, the UK economy is the fifth biggest in the world. And, there are certain fields which are crying out for workers.

    It’s certainly helpful to know what’s available for you when it comes to your graduate job search in the UK. Science technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers in the UK are in especially high demand.

    Let’s take a look at some of the STEM jobs on the UK Shortage Occupation list:

    Graduate jobs in the sciences

    If you have recently graduated with a degree in the sciences, then you’re in luck. There are lots of science jobs in the UK for graduates. The nuclear industry, the oil and gas industry and the engineering industry need people in the following roles:

    • Chemical scientists
    • Biological scientists and biochemists
    • Geologists and geophysicists
    • Hydrogeeologists
    • Geoscientists and geochemists

    It’s good news for students planning to study biology, physics, chemistry, or geology. Your knowledge and skills will be in demand after you graduate!

    Find out more about studying the sciences in the UK.

    Graduate jobs in engineering

    Engineers of all kinds are always in high demand in a wide variety of industries, from manufacturing to construction to retail. Most undergraduate engineering degrees require you to specialise in mechanical engineering, for example, or electronic engineering. But there are some general engineering degrees where you can specialise later in your studies, once you’ve decided where your interests lie.

    Once you graduate, there’s a shortage in the UK of the following:

    • Civil engineers
    • Mechanical engineers
    • Electrical engineers
    • Electronics engineers
    • Design and development engineers
    • Production and process engineers

    Find out more about studying engineering in the UK.

    Graduate jobs in the tech world

    Studying computer science or software engineering is a good choice if you want to future proof your career. Nowadays, technology is all around us, underpinning our everyday life.

    With a computer science degree, you can work in virtually any sector. The following jobs are in high demand:

    • IT business analysts, architects and systems designers
    • Programmers and software development professionals
    • Web design and development professionals

    Learn more about studying computer science in the UK.

    Graduate jobs in the arts

    It’s not just science and technology jobs that are in demand in the UK. The creative industries are also looking for skilled practitioners to work within the UK in the following roles:

    • Artists
    • Classical ballet dancers
    • Contemporary dancers
    • Orchestral musicians
    • Arts officers, producers and directors
    • Graphic designers
    • Architects

    If you’re studying in a creative field, you’ll have lots of opportunities to work in the UK after graduating. Learn more about studying the creative artsdesignmusic or architecture in the UK.

    Discover 5 more graduate jobs in demand in the UK.

    How PTE Academic can help you study in the UK

    If you want to study at a university in the UK, you’ll need to attend lectures, participate in seminars and tutorials, write essays and complete assignments — all in English. So, you’ll need to show that you have good language skills.

    PTE Academic is a robust, reliable test of English that’s accepted by 99% of universities in the UK, as well as the UK Home Office. So, you can also use your PTE Academic score to apply for a UK student visa.

    Learn more about studying in the UK with PTE Academic.

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  • A practical guide to moving to the UK as a student

    Studying abroad is the experience of a lifetime. You’ll have an untold number of opportunities, make friends, grow your network and broaden your horizons. But there are nerves too – and lots of questions before you start packing your bags.

    So, if you’re considering moving to the UK to study for a pre-sessional English language course, a degree, or even a PhD, we have some top tips.

    Read on to explore our short guide to studying in the UK for international students.

    1. Setting up a bank account

    Unless you plan to stuff your money in your mattress (not recommended), you’ll probably need to open a bank account in the UK. The process is usually completed in one or two days and is much simpler if you do it once you’re living in the country.

    If you’re a student and come from abroad, you’ll need to show the bank a number of things before you can open your account, including:

    • A valid passport and visa;
    • Proof you are studying in the UK (your student ID or a letter from your university);
    • Recent proof of address in the form of a utility bill that’s less than three months old (e.g. electricity bill);
    • A bank or credit card statement that’s less than three months old.

    Note that the requirements may differ from bank to bank and you may also need to show proof of employment. Some banks, like HSBC, also allow you to set up your account in your own country before leaving for the UK.

    2. Student accommodation in the UK

    You have two main options when it comes to student accommodation in the UK:

    On-campus accommodation

    In the UK, on-campus student accommodation is often referred to as living in halls. When you apply to live in halls, you are given a room in shared accommodation. Your room is usually private, however you will often share bathrooms, kitchen and other communal areas with other students.

    Living in halls is recommended if you’re coming from abroad. Not only does the university manage the housing, but it will be easier for you to find a place with other students.

    Shared student accommodation

    You can also opt to go through the university and find a place in privately rented accommodation. Second and third year students usually choose this option and move in with friends. Generally, this type of housing has been approved by the university, but you will be responsible for paying rent to a private landlord.

    Ask your university admissions department or student services about the right option for you.

    Alternatively, you may wish to rent privately, through a real estate agent. However, this is likely to be a far more expensive option and you won’t necessarily have university support.

    Average student rental prices

    The cost of living in the UK varies from region to region. According to a Save the Student survey in 2021, average rent for students in the UK is £146 per week.

    Here’s the breakdown of costs:

    • Scotland: £127 per week
    • Northern England: £122
    • Wales and the Midlands: £119 to £129 per week
    • East Anglia: £132 per week
    • Southwest: £147 per week
    • Southeast:  £146 per week
    • London:  £152 per week

    Living cost in the UK for international students

    On top of rent, you also have to consider how much food, leisure, transport and other expenses will be. Our handy guide to living expenses in the UK for international students, outlines the following, and also compares costs in different cities:

    • Groceries – £100 per month
    • Going out – £46 per month
    • Transportation– £46 per month
    • Household bills (like electricity and water) – £37 per month
    • University tuition fees for international students – £10,000–£38,000 per year (Reddin survey of university tuition fees)

    3. Health care systems in the UK


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  • 10 British cultural events for international students

    UK culture and traditions are rich and diverse – and it’s not all about drinking tea at 5 o’clock, we promise. There are lots of British festivals and events, and you’ll never find yourself stuck for things to see and do. If you’re studying at a British university, you’ll definitely want to make your time as memorable as possible.

    That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best cultural events and festivals in the UK. You can take a break from your studies and go exploring at weekends throughout the academic year.

    With everything from flower shows to fashion shows - you’re sure to find a UK festival that suits you.

    Read on to discover the best 10 British cultural events for international students.

    1. London Fashion Week


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  • What you need to know about studying in the UK after Brexit

    Before Brexit, EU students enjoyed the freedom of movement to study, work and live across the European Union. The United Kingdom was a popular study destination for thousands of EU students, who were able to study at UK universities under the same conditions as British students.

    But after Brexit, the rules have changed. Students now need visas, university fees have changed. There are also additional considerations for EU students to think about, like healthcare, and employment while studying. Let’s take a look at what it’s like for EU students to study in the UK after Brexit.

    How to apply for a UK student visa

    The good news is that it is still very possible for EU students to study in the UK. However, there is more paperwork involved than there was previously. In order to take up your place at a UK university, you’ll need to apply for a student visa.

    It will cost you £348 to apply for a student visa if you’re outside the UK. That rises to £475 to apply if you’re in the UK already.

    In order to apply, you’ll need to show that you have been offered a place at a UK university. You can show this with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) document from your institution.

    You’ll also need to show on your visa application that you speak English at the level you’ll need in order to live and study in the UK. To do so, you’ll need a score of at least 59 in PTE Academic.

    Find out about using PTE Academic for your UK student visa

    The other consideration when applying for a UK student visa? You’ll need to show that you have sufficient funds to pay your course fees for at least the first year of your studies.

    Many international students also need to show that they have enough money to cover their living expenses while studying, but EU students are exempt from this requirement.

    Learn how to budget for student life in the UK

    You will also need to pay the immigration health surcharge which is £470 per year, for every year of your degree. This charge allows you to use the National Health Service (NHS) during your time in the country.

    The Graduate Route

    If you complete your degree in the UK and you’d like to stay longer, you’ll be eligible for the Graduate route. It allows international students to stay in the UK for an additional two years after being awarded their degrees, to start their careers in the UK. If you are a doctorate level graduate, you may apply to stay in the country for up to three years.

    You’ll be able to look for employment, change workplace, do internships and gain valuable experience in the UK job market after graduation.

    Student fees for EU nationals

    Previously, EU students paid the same course fees as UK students. Post-Brexit, that is no longer the case. Now, all international students pay the same fees.

    The amount you’ll pay for university in the UK will vary from course to course, and institution to institution. Studying English at the University of Oxford costs £32,480 per year, on average But, if you choose to study English at Durham University (also a highly ranked institution) the fees are significantly lower, at £22,900 per year on average.  

    That being said, some universities are offering EU Student Scholarships:

    • Royal Holloway University of London is offering a fee reduction scholarship, which could reduce the cost of a year’s fees from £18,100 to £12,790.
    • The University of South Wales is also offering scholarships for EU students which reduce the cost of the fee so that EU students pay the same as British students for their courses.

    In Scotland, there is a scholarship program specifically for EU students at Master’s level. The Saltire Scholarship will support EU students to study at Scottish universities. There are 272 scholarships available which cover a proportion of your student fees.

    The fee for a Master’s in Gender Studies at the University of Glasgow is £20,400, for example. But, if you are awarded a Saltire Scholarship, your bursary of £8000 would reduce that fee to £4,400. You can learn more about the Saltire Scholarship here.

    Many universities throughout the UK are offering similar bursaries, grants and other forms of support for EU students. Once you’ve created a shortlist of UK universities you’d like to study at, make sure to ask what support is available for EU students.

    Working in the UK as an EU student

    You might wish to support yourself by working while you’re studying at a UK university, as many students do. With a student visa, you’ll be able to work up to 20 hours a week during term time, and full time (up to 40 hours a week) during the university holidays. Note that students who study full-time below a degree level can only work 10 hours a week. This information will be clearly stated on your visa once it’s approved.

    Typical student jobs are jobs that fit around classes. This includes jobs in hospitality, courier or tutoring jobs, among others. You could even work online, doing proofreading or translation.

    There is a website called Student Jobs where you can have a look at the kind of jobs that students in the UK do – and see what’s available in your destination city.

    Learn more

    PTE Academic is accepted by the UK government for visa purposes, as well as by 99% of UK universities as proof of your English language abilities. Find out more about how PTE Academic can help you to study in the UK as a EU student post-Brexit.

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