When considering studying abroad, almost everybody has the United Kingdom at the top of their list. And who wouldn’t… The UK has some of the oldest institutions in the world, with Oxford University being the oldest in the English speaking world. Both Oxford and Cambridge are part of the prestigious group of universities called Medieval Universities. Medieval Universities are a group of 13 universities that have their origins in medieval times. Today the UK still upholds the values and traditions that were the building blocks of the history of education in the country.
The UK is only second to the US, with the amount of Indian students that land on its soil every year to pursue a higher education. Students who choose the UK are looking to take advantage of the country’s rich history of education, the diverse range of professional courses and the cultural hub that it is known to be.
Top of the Pile!
The UK boasts of some of the most celebrated institutions on the planet that have seen historical inventors, world leaders and noble prize winners. Let us take a look at the top three universities in the UK
1. University of Oxford:
Undoubtedly, Oxford is the first ever educational institution in England. Oxford grew rapidly in 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. Though gaining access into this acclaimed institution is extremely competitive, it has in some way or the other contributed to the wellbeing of humanity. Oxford has educated, 12 saints, about 30 other international leaders, 12 saints, 26 British Prime Ministers and 20 Archbishops of Canterbury.
2. University of Cambridge:
The University of Cambridge was established in 1209, when a dispute between locals and a few academics at Oxford caused the latter to flee to the town of Cambridge. Even today there still exists a healthy rivalry between the two mammoth institutions, which are sometimes referred to, to the outside world as, ‘Oxbridge’. Cambridge has educated 65 Noble Prize winners, 50 Olympic athletes, 15 British Prime Ministers, 23 other world leaders, and legendary scientists Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Stephen Hawking and many more.
3. London School of Economics:
Founded by George Bernard Shaw in the year 1895, it is one of the best institutions in the world that primarily focuses on Social Sciences. Star studded alumni include John F Kennedy, B R Ambedkar, K R Narayanan to name a few. The School boasts of 9000 full time students, 1300 academic staff, 23 academic departments, and 16 research centres.
For international students, the UK might seem a little intimidating; however it helps to educate oneself about the ‘dos and don’ts’ before touchdown.
- Pack for winter. English winter is the most unpredictable thing on the planet and temperatures could go down to 1 degree C.
- Opening a savings account in the UK could prove to be highly useful, when needed to pay various bills.
- Life on foreign land could tend to get a bit lonely sometimes. It helps if you join some sort of an International society to meet new people from your country. Most universities however, are equipped with such student groups, so you wouldn’t have to look too far.
- Drastic climatic changes could take its toll on the body. Meet a doctor before you leave India, so that he could educate you with a few ‘medical dos and don’ts’.
- Full-time students are allowed to work 20 hours a week. Try it. I just may help you pay your way through college.
- Even though you are a student, when outside the classroom, become a tourist. Soak in the sights and sounds of the United Kingdom. After all travelling is the most effective education.
- When invited for a meal to a traditional British home, it is acceptable to bring a gift such as a bouquet of flowers or a bottle of wine.
- When invited for a meeting, social or otherwise, be on time. The British are very time conscious and it would seem rude if you are the last to arrive. If you are going to be late, be sure to call in and inform your host of your intended time of arrival.
- When waiting in line, do not try to get ahead before your turn. If you do so, be sure to expect everyone to ‘tell you off’.
- UK’s emergency number is 999. But if you need to contact the police for issues that are not urgent in nature dial 101. The Cops are pretty effective in helping you out with your situation.
- You’d notice that the English spend a lot of their time in pubs to catch up with friends or acquaintances. It is ok to enjoy an alcoholic beverage as long as you are above the age of 18. It is illegal for minors to purchase alcohol or tobacco.
- Wearing your seat belts while travelling in a motor vehicle is mandatory and would attract strict fines if violated.
The Sights and Sounds:
The UK is a small country, but is packed with rich history that date back to several millenniums ago. Let’s take a look at some of the must-see tourist spots in the country.
Stonehenge is the mysterious arrangement of large standing stones that date back to 3000 BC. Nobody knows the exact reason this monument was erected, and has been the centre of many controversial speculations. Located in the English county of Wiltshire, it is widely believed to be the centre pagan worship.
The Tower Bridge was built in 1886 over the River Thames and is a must see as it is an iconic monument of London.
Located in the City of Westminster, Buckingham Palace is the official office of the British Monarch. Almost everyone visiting London for the first time, visits this palace that has been the centre of British History for centuries.
Madame Tussauds is a famous wax museum in London that is known to have life-like wax statues of many celebrities and public figures, and is a must visit while in the UK.
The UK is packed with fine dining restaurants, pubs, night clubs, historical monuments, museums and other places of attraction that give students the perfect blend of a social life with a life of learning. Once done with your degree, it may just have you coming back for more.
Image Source: www.telegraph.co.uk