The UK is an incredible mix of international cultures and contemporary thinking, held together by a strong sense of identity and tradition. As an international student, you’ll find an array of exciting experiences ahead of you and will have the opportunity to discover exotic places and meet new people. As the UK is a cosmopolitan city, you’ll find that many UK customs are already familiar to you and so you’ll settle down faster than you think.
Student life in the UK
UK entertainment for international students
Whether you just listen or take part, you’ll find pop, rock, electro, hip-hop, classical, folk, jazz, opera and all sorts of world music in the UK. From small clubs, independent cafes and bars to international scale concert halls, rock festivals or gigs, you can listen and dance to live music all over the UK. Many big-name and independent artists and bands play at the UK university and college venues too.
Apart from a wealth of clubs and societies on campus or in local communities, you can visit traditional museums, contemporary art spaces and galleries in most UK cities. Sculpture, painting, video and photography are widely available to see in the UK. The country also has a vibrant theatre and performing arts heritage, maintaining both traditional plays and musicals, and encouraging new and alternative productions.
There are cinemas in almost every UK town and city, showing feature films from all across the world. Numerous film festivals too are organised in Britain, focusing on themes in film, specific directors or animation.
To find out more about music, theatre, films and exhibitions in the UK, visit the Whatson UK website
The UK offers an amazing student life that can be tailored to suit your own tastes. You’ll find an endless number of ways to enjoy yourself, learn new things and make friends.
At the beginning of term universities hold a ‘Welcome Week’, often called ‘Freshers’ Week’, to welcome new students. During this time university clubs and societies hold events and parties to look for new members. It’s a great way to find out what's on and join anything that interests you.
Most universities have a huge selection of clubs and societies, so there are activities to suit everyone. Whether you want to discuss politics, learn how to bake, join a band or go scuba diving, you’re sure to find something that appeals to you.
As well as meeting like-minded people and having loads of fun, joining clubs and societies can be a great way to gain experience and add more soft skills to your CV. Many societies offer opportunities to organise events, raise money for charity or do some volunteering, all of which are sure to stand you in good stead when you start applying for jobs.
The food you can buy in the UK reflects the many ethnic influences in British society. Most supermarkets sell ingredients from Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America, as well as food from many other parts of the world. The British are increasingly healthy eaters and there is a very wide range of organic produce available in shops and supermarkets.
Of course, you’ll still find the famous English breakfast and fish and chips, but you’ll also see a very diverse range of meals and menus while you’re studying in the UK. When you become an international student in the UK, cooking and sharing a traditional meal from your home country is a great way to make new friends.
As in most other European countries, it is acceptable in the UK to drink alcohol in moderate amounts, and pubs and wine bars form an established part of British social life. All pubs and bars sell non-alcoholic drinks too, so you don’t have to drink alcohol to enjoy yourself. People also meet to drink tea and coffee, and you’ll find a vast range of different coffee shops in every UK town or city.
For a taste of traditional UK food with a twist and international recipes from some of Britain’s most famous chefs, visit the Channel 4 food website.
UK leisure activities
The mountains of Scotland and Wales, the rolling hills of England and Northern Ireland, the Lake District and the Yorkshire moors, as well as the coastline of all parts of the UK make sure you make good use of spare time and indulge in some fun activities, including mountain biking and cycling.
Many UK institutions have state-of-the-art sports facilities, but you can also use local authority or private leisure centres to keep fit and healthy. As a student in the UK, there are many opportunities to attend or participate in organised sports activities, or get involved in charitable events like sponsored walks and runs. You can even try to join the increasingly popular Bupa Great Runs.
For help and advice on keeping fit in the UK, visit the NHS website.
Tips from students: Living in the UK
Anxious about your student life in the UK? Want to know how it is going to be living alone and away from family? Get practical advice and tips straight from the experienced lot of students who have successfully lived on 'budgets', made friends in a distant country and made the most of the opportunity of studying in the UK.
You can find more information and useful articles/tips here.