Studying abroad in London will be a life changing experience. The capital is a truly unique place to live and welcomes people from all over the world choosing to live, study or work here. There are many reasons to study abroad in London and it will open incredible opportunities for you. You will not only develop your intellectual skills and improve your career options by studying in the capital, but you will come away a more confident, globally minded individual with lifelong friends.
If you are still deciding whether the city is right for you, this article will give you a fantastic insight into why London is one of the most exciting cities in the world for students to study.
1. The City is Full of Culture and Diversity
Named one of the world’s most multicultural cities and home to more than 100,000 international students, London brings together a diverse variety of cultures from around the world.
London has long been an attractive and hugely popular destination for international students. It is an exciting, diverse city, you’ll be surrounded by people from many different ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, political views, economic classes, and nationalities. With such a diverse student population and over 300 languages spoken in London, you’ll always have someone to talk to!
The benefits of London’s diversity allows you to constantly explore new experiences. Gone are the days of bland tasteless dishes, there has been an explosion of new flavours and depths that have now ranked London as one of the best foodie cities around. Not only are the traditional meals still better than ever, but now it is easier than ever to try foods from around the globe at a restaurant, from your local grocery store or street food markets.
There are many other reasons that make London so beautifully diverse. For example, as you walk the city streets, you can always enjoy street fashion inspired by different cultures. Thousands gather throughout the city for cultural celebrations like Chinese New Year, Notting Hill Carnival and Diwali. Attend art exhibitions or live music events featuring international artists. University is a perfect time to make friends from all different backgrounds!
Studying abroad in London is a life-changing experience. It will give you the opportunity to discover yourself and people from all different backgrounds. A lot of international students will come away from the London experience more culturally aware and will have a broader understanding of the world around them.
2. Central Travel Hub
London is extremely well-connected when it comes to public transport. With public buses, bikes, trains and the tube, you are spoilt for choice with how to travel around the city! There are even night buses and night tubes, making it easy to get home at any time of the day and night. Downloading travel apps such as Citymapper will help you get to grips with transport options, and it also displays live timings between any two locations.
Good news, students are even able to get a 30% discount on travel round the city, with an Oyster card and a 16-25 Railcard.
Whilst you’re in London, if you can afford it, it’s a great excuse to visit other parts of the UK. London has excellent transport links to explore the rest of the UK and Europe – including Paris, Brussels and Lille using the Eurostar. It’s also very easy to travel to the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland. London also has five major airports, all of which offer flights to other cities in the UK, mainland Europe and long-haul international flights. You can travel almost anywhere from London!
When it comes to the United Kingdom, there are trains to take you everywhere and anywhere. In just a few short hours, you can be at the beach in Brighton or hiking in the Lake District!
Here are some must-sees in the UK:
- Arthurs Seat, Edinburgh – an ancient volcano which is the main peak in Edinburgh (351m above sea level). At the top, you can admire beautiful views of Edinburgh castle, the Scott Monument and beyond. It is close to the Royal Mile, home to the world’s largest arts festival, The Edinburgh Fringe, which takes place every August.
- Stonehenge, Wiltshire – one of the most iconic monuments in the world. It remains a mystery as to why or how the ring of standing stones was built. It is believed to have been formed between 3000 BC to 2000 BC.
- Brighton Beach – is one of the closest beaches to London. Southern rail operates a train from London Victoria to Brighton every 30 minutes. Tickets cost anywhere between £15 – £45 and the journey takes 58 min. Brighton and Hove is a brilliant city for students and has plenty to do, including excellent nightlife.
- Wells Cathedral, Somerset – one of Britain’s most famous and beautiful cathedrals. It has unique features such as its iconic West Front and the stunning ‘scissor arches’ supporting the central tower. It has one of the largest collections of historic stained glass in the country.
Popular cities to visit in the UK include:
- Newcastle Upon Tyne
Quick tip – if you buy your train ticket far in advance and travel off-peak (the least popular time), it will save you a lot of money. The Trainline app is a great one for looking at different options for buying tickets and planning routes. So get exploring!
3. Healthcare and Safety
Studying in London means feeling safe and secure. This is due to having access to the UK’s NHS (National Health Service), one of the best healthcare systems in the world, offering safe and modern treatment. The NHS provides a wide range of services including doctor appointments, hospital treatment, reduced price dental care and emergency care.
International students with a visa will need to pay a fee per year to gain access to the NHS. However once it’s paid, you are able to go to the doctor whenever you need to and hopefully get the advice, care or medication you need without worrying about paying for each appointment. Private healthcare is still available in the UK but it is generally not necessary.
London universities take student welfare and mental health seriously. If you feel unhappy, stressed or have any problems, there will always be someone to talk to, either your university welfare staff or someone you know in a position of trust. All London universities will have a tutor, a student welfare officer (sometimes an international student officer) and someone at your university’s student union. So there is always some to talk to!
Student safety is a priority in London. The UK is one of the safest countries in the world, due to low crime rates and a trustworthy police force. Many universities in London have their own security services who patrol the campus. Therefore, there will always be someone to help you if you ever feel unsafe whilst studying in London.
4. Rich History
If it’s history that fascinates you, you’ll be endlessly entertained in London. The city dates back to the Romans, filled with many historical sites, from museums, monuments and royal palaces. There is plenty to discover and explore whilst you’re studying in London. From learning about London’s King and Queens to exploring the city and visiting the historical landmarks.
Some of the must-see historic locations include:
- Westminster Abbey – the traditional place for royal coronations and burial site for British monarchs.
- Tower of London – historic castle founded in 1066 as part of the Norman conquest. It has since served as a royal palace and an infamous prison.
- St Paul’s Cathedral – for more than 1,400 years a Cathedral dedicated to St Paul has stood at the highest point in the City.
- Churchill War Rooms at the Imperial War Museum – it served as a command centre for the British government during the Second World War. The museum lets you discover the rooms that were used during the War and you are able to learn about the life of Churchill.
- Hampton Court Royal Palace – You can tour the rooms, the 60 acres of gardens and discover more about the Tudors and Henry VIII, his wives and children.
For history involving the arts, ‘The Wallace Collection’ is filled with beautiful 17th and 18th century art, including paintings, sculpture, furniture and armour. Theatre and Literature enthusiasts should grab tickets for world-renowned and cultural landmark ‘Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre’, located on the bank of the River Thames. For anyone interested in interior design, ‘The Geffrye Museum’ is the one for you. It specialises in the history of English domestic interiors.
Everywhere you look in London, there are reminders of rich history and that’s what makes the city so unique.
5. Outstanding Educational Opportunities
London is one of the world’s most leading and financial cities in the world. Because of this, there are huge opportunities for professional growth and therefore it is the perfect place to start a career after university.
London is known as a global centre for academic excellence and is home to world-leading research in science, medicine and more. Some of the most groundbreaking discoveries in science and medicine have been made at London universities, such as DNA, penicillin and fingerprints. The capital is also a global hub for industries including finance, fashion, publishing and media.
Home to four of the world’s top 40 universities, the education in London is globally recognised. Here you will meet plenty of professionals in your lectures and seminars who are there to give you advice and guide you on to the next stage in your career. London is an excellent city to network and make connections with professionals around you. During your studies at university, there may be opportunities to work or intern for companies in your desired career. This is a great way to build upon your skills and develop your CV.
With over 30,000 courses on offer in the capital, the range of degrees available to study varies hugely. Whether you want to study Fine Art or Actuarial Science, you are sure to find your perfect course here. There are graduate opportunities for a broad range of careers, with plenty of part time jobs, internships, placements and graduate schemes available. London graduates enjoy some of the highest starting salaries in the UK, so as long as you are prepared to work hard, you are going to thrive here!
Not only will London universities provide you with an excellent education but the big city will teach you how to navigate public transport, budgeting and balancing that work hard play hard lifestyle.
Being the capital city, London is famed for its non-stop nightlife and the best place for a buzzing student social life. Any night of the week, you will find a range of events and there is definitely something for everyone! From evenings of comedy, theatre, music or a night out on the town, there are plenty of fun things to do in London at night.
If you’re looking for glamour, Mayfair clubs or South Kensington bars are where it’s at. Popular places include Dirty Bones Kensington, The Builders Arms or Balans Cafe Bar. Or for the more relaxed and quirky type, Camden Town or Shoreditch are exactly what you are looking for. There are plenty of rooftop bars for the warm summer nights, such as Bar Elba in Waterloo. If you love a pub crawl, Soho has the perfect atmosphere with diverse colourful bars and pubs.
London is also home to over 5,000 restaurants and you’ll find authentic cuisine from across the globe in this beautifully diverse city. There are endless choices from ultra-trendy dishes in Shoreditch, or a trusty gastro pub meal in the West End, you will always find what you’re looking for.
Pubs and bars aren’t for everyone. In the summer, the London Eye is open slightly later (usually til around 8.30pm) and gives you a beautiful night view of London. Alternatively, you could watch a comedy show (hosted by the Angel Comedy Club or at the popular Top Secret Comedy Club), go to the cinema, or book a boat trip along the river Thames.
London is truly the city that never sleeps!
7. Theatre and Music
For theatre and music lovers, London is the place for unforgettable live performances. From theatre, music, comedy, poetry, talks and more, there is plenty to keep you entertained whilst studying in London.
For theatre, the most renowned location is the West End, which offers a great variety of plays and musicals. In fact, there are more than 200 shows every day in the West End alone. There are also smaller theatres scattered around the city which suit any budget or interest at every time of the year. Make sure you plan well and book in advance. Quick tip: Sign up for National Theatre’s Entry Pass to have the chance to book £5 to each of their shows.
There is no question that London has an influential music scene. If you prefer the big gigs – the O2, Wembley Arena or the Royal Albert Hall are all spectacular venues. But if indie bands are more your thing, Camden is the perfect place to be, with venues like The Dublin Castle, Barfly or Proud. Music is everywhere in London. There are always buskers on South Bank or Covent Garden… quick tip – when you’re running for the next tube, be sure to listen out on the underground! If you are a musician yourself, there are plenty of open mic nights to play your own music.
London is at the very centre of the UK’s comedy scene. The capital includes some of the most highly-rated venues in the world, with thousands of top acts stepping onto the stage every year. From simple stand up through to comedic theatre and improvisation, London is well equipped to keep you laughing all night. If comedy isn’t for you, the city has an acclaimed poetry and spoken word scene, with talks daily across the capital on just about any subject you can think of. London is the perfect place to keep you entertained.
8. Tons of Free Things to do
London can be expensive but you can save a lot of money by embracing the free activities. The city is home to over 200 museums and countless galleries, most of which have free entry to the public or it is possible they will offer concession rates for students. Here are some must see Museums and Galleries:
- Natural History Museum
- Science Museum
- Victoria & Albert
- The Halcyon Gallery
- Tate Modern
- Horniman Museum and Gardens
- Brick Lane Gallery
- The Photographers’ Gallery
- Tate Britain
- National Gallery
- National Portrait Gallery
Some of the world’s most recognisable paintings can be found in London too – such as Monet’s ‘The Water Lily Pond’ and Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’.
Markets are also free to explore in London and each one is unique in its own way. Camden Market is a great one to visit, it has a quirky and lively atmosphere, with over 1000 shops and stalls selling fashion, art, music and food. Borough Market (known for its fresh and delicious food) and Portobello Market (known for its fashion) are also extremely popular in London. Other notable markets include Brixton Market, Greenwich Market and Brick Lane Market.
If you’re a bookworm, there are over 120 libraries across London, including The British Library which houses more than twenty million texts right in the heart of London. There are also plenty of smaller libraries, as well as University libraries which offer unique specialisms.
Although London is known for its busy city life, you’re never far from a green relaxing space. InWalk among the deer in Richmond Park or watch the pelicans and water birds in St James’ Park. A few other popular parks include Wimbledon Common, Hyde Park and Park Vista. There are other beautiful open spaces in London including Highgate Wood or Epping Forest, which are perfect spots to escape the hustle-and-bustle of London.
9. Famous Sights to See
London is one of the world’s top tourist destinations, attracting around 20 million visitors each year from around the world. Home to some of the best global contemporary architecture, you could spend endless days exploring London’s best sightseeing locations and never get bored!
Some great tourist attractions include:
- Big Ben – The Houses of Parliament and Elizabeth Tower, commonly called Big Ben is among London’s most iconic landmarks. Big Ben is the name given to the bell inside the clock tower, which weighs more than 13 tons.
- The Shard – at more than 1,000ft tall, you can experience beautiful 360- degree views over London from The Shard.
- Tower Bridge – built between 1886 and 1894, the Bridge that crosses the River Thames, has spent more than a century as London’s defining landmark.
- The London Eye – a rotating observation wheel, over 400 feet high. A perfect place to enjoy amazing 360-degree views over London.
- Trafalgar Square – Designed in 1830 to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar, this is one of the most bustling squares in London.
- Buckingham Palace – The Queen’s official London residence and a working royal palace.
10. It's London!
What the heading says! Having been named one of the best university cities in the world, it is clear that London is a top study destination for students everywhere. You’ve just read the many reasons why students love studying in London, from the strong network of university facilities, the broad career opportunities, the thriving social life and the melting pot of cultures, it really is the place to be! Starting university abroad is a learning experience, so please know that there will always be someone to make you feel at ease and support you whilst you are studying in London.
Studying in London will be a life changing adventure, so why not come and embrace student life in one of the most exciting capital cities in the world!
The Benefits of Studying in London
There are huge benefits and opportunities that come with studying in London. For a student interested in studying business or finance courses, London is the beating heart of the British economy. If you choose to study here, you will be surrounded by the world’s most open and connected financial centre. The capital is an international hub for finance and service industries; it is home to the headquarters of many major international corporations and attracts workers from across the globe. It’s an extremely exciting place to be for students with a passion for business.
The value of having a qualification from a London university will help you stand out from the crowd, in an increasingly competitive international job market and fast-changing environment. London universities will develop your skills in independent thinking, analytical skills and self-discipline. In addition, studying in English will enable you to improve your English language skills and give you a head start in an international career. The excellence of teaching and research in London is acknowledged worldwide and this will therefore provide excellent opportunities for you after university. In fact, London graduates enjoy some of the highest starting salaries in the UK, averaging at around 24,000 in 2020 and increasing to around 25,000 in 2021.
‘Over the next five years, industry revenue is expected to increase at a compound annual rate of 17.3% to reach £2.5 billion’. Many industries in London are expected to grow in the next decade. For example, industries in healthcare, law, management, business & finance, computer programming & mathematics, are just a handful of subjects that are expected to have significantly more jobs in 2029 compared to today.