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5 big advantages for international students studying in the UK

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

The United Kingdom remains one of the top destinations for international students, being only second to the United States. In 2020/21 alone, there were about 600,000 international students enrolled in UK universities. More than that, according to one study conducted in 2015, overall international student satisfaction with the university experience stands at about 90 %. So what makes UK higher education so attractive to thousands of aspiring and talented people from all over the world? Let's dive in.

The UK delivers high-quality education

The UK is home to some of the best universities in the world, famous for their rich academic traditions, rigorous and innovative teaching by experts and industry leaders, and challenging and intellectually stimulating learning environment. Moreover, these higher education institutions have to meet strict standards set by the government: for example, The Office for Students, a non-departmental public body of the Department for Education, acts as the independent regulator, closely monitoring the quality of university courses.

It's no wonder that the country produces a whopping 14 per cent of the world’s most highly cited and impactful scientific research.

According to the reputed Times Higher Education World University Rankings, in 2023 7 UK universities are ranked among the top 50 institutions globally. They are:

University of Oxford

University of Cambridge

Imperial College London

UCL London

University of Edinburgh

King’s College London

London School of Economics and Political Science

International students get a lot of support

All universities in the UK have an office with a dedicated team that gives international students helpful advice on immigration, employment, tuition, and academic and personal matters.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA), an advisory body for international students, works in collaboration with students themselves to create training days for universities so that they can continue improving their support services. UKCISA also has a hotline students can call if they have questions, for example, about legal matters such as changes in visa requirements, or questions related to working on a student visa.

Another helpful organisation is the Student Union which represents the interests of different groups of students on a local and national level, including international students.

There are a lot of scholarship opportunities

University education in the UK is not cheap. On average, UK students at UK universities are paying around four times more than their European counterparts. However, when it comes to international students, there is plenty of funding options, including financial assistance which covers programme fees, living expenses, and even return flights to the UK.

Depending on the country they are from, international students can be eligible for a number of scholarships and grants from institutions and universities as well as the financial support provided by the UK government.

Universities offer scholarships to students with a strong academic background, exceptional talent, or special needs (for example, long-term mental health condition), studying a particular course or subject, refugees and asylum seekers.

You can look up all available scholarship options on the Study UK website by The British Council.

International students can work during their studies

Many international students who want to earn additional money or get professional experience are allowed to do that while studying in the UK. They just need to follow certain rules and requirements. For example, student visa holders who study full-time can work up to 20 hours per week during term time and full-time (although they cannot be employed on a permanent contract) during vacation or if they take up internships and work placements as part of their studies.

Job prospects

While UK degree in and of itself opens up plenty of opportunities for graduates, they can also benefit from the so-called Graduate routea Graduate visa that gives one permission to stay in the UK for at least 2 years after successfully completing a course in the country. Moreover, the British government every year provides a detailed list of roles that are in short supply in different areas of the country. These roles have more relaxed eligibility criteria for sponsored work visa applications.

Want to know more about what it's like to study as an international student in the UK and how to become one? LEO International Online School offers a diverse and intensive two–year A-Level programme designed to prepare students for entry to universities in the United Kingdom. Learn more about this programme and our other courses here, and don't hesitate to contact us at

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