I chose to study law in the UK for several reasons. First of all, academic institutions in the UK generally have an excellent reputation. Due to their international recognition, graduates tend to be offered plenty of opportunities, whether that be for postgraduate studies or career prospects. Secondly, moving to the UK is the perfect chance to master the English language and to learn about British culture from a first-hand perspective.
Take the time to research the UK university system
Before applying to the UK, it is worth researching all aspects of life as a student. The UK higher education system may be very different from the education system in your home country. So it’s recommended that you figure out beforehand whether or not the method of teaching in UK universities satisfies your expectations. Also, make sure to check the entry requirements for international students and English proficiency requirements. Useful websites to help you with your research include UCAS and the British Council.
Courses in the UK differ from each other in respect to the quality of teaching, the location, the entry requirements and the prestige. A Bachelor's Law degree in the UK usually takes three years to complete, whereas in another country a law degree may last five years. However, if you aspire to be a barrister or a solicitor in the UK following your graduation, make sure you understand all the necessary requirements and restrictions. Most obviously, you will need to apply for a training contract with a law firm, and depending on your preferred profession in the legal sphere, you will need to take a further exam.
The application process
Every university’s entry requirements vary depending on the reputation of the university, the quality of teaching and the location. Generally, studying law in the UK will require high grades in your home-country final exams. As an example, University College London (UCL)’s Faculty of Law asks for the equivalent of A*AA in your final exams. You may also be required to submit an official transcript of your results in English.
UK universities will also require a certain English proficiency. In order to determine your level of English and prove to your chosen university you meet their criteria, they will need evidence. Such evidence could be an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) certificate or proof of completed work experience for a minimum duration in a majority English speaking country.
The cost of studying a Bachelor’s degree in the UK
More often than not, an important factor to take into consideration when applying to university will be its associated cost. In addition to tuition fees, you might also have to consider accommodation and living costs. The standard tuition fee in England for full-time UK and EU undergraduates is £9,250 a year for the LLB. However, this price is likely to increase for international students outside the EU.
Funding and financial aid are available for most students. Your university or your home country may offer scholarships to high-achieving students.
There is also the option to obtain funding through tuition fee loans and grants. One option is student finance from the Students Loans Company, which is a government-funded student loan system in the UK, but you can also get private tuition fee loans from other sources. Similarly to a UK national, an EU citizen studying in the UK will only have to start repaying their student loan following the April after your graduation, when you are earning over £25,725 a year.
Paying for a UK course as an international student
Many of the international students who come to study in the UK pay privately. Non-EU students should expect to pay anywhere between £10,000 to £40,000 per academic year (or sometimes more for some institutions). It should be noted that getting funding as a non-EU national can be particularly difficult, but the British Council should be able to give you some advice.
Before travelling to the UK, make sure to have all your financial arrangements, including living costs and accommodation, sorted so that you arrive prepared and ready to start the next chapter in your life.
Adjusting to life in the UK
You may find services you took for granted in your home country to be a lot more expensive in the UK. Most notably, transport costs, such as bus and train services, and the cost of food can be more expensive. However, there are a few tricks to be aware of to make life as a student in London that little bit more affordable.
Take advantage of your student status by asking for student discounts whenever possible. You can download apps dedicated solely for this purpose, like UNiDAYS and Student Beans, or acquire an NUS card from your university’s Students’ Union. Also, make sure to get a student travel card.
As daunting as arriving at university in a foreign country may seem, UK universities are extremely welcoming to international students. Universities often host freshers’ weeks uniquely for international students, helping them to settle in and build a network of friends.
You may also find the method of teaching is different from that of your home country. Generally, university courses will place a greater emphasis on self-study. Some courses will be highly theoretical and others will be more practical, so it is important to choose a degree in line with your personal preferences. Overall, the UK higher education system aims to prepare you for a successful professional career. As a result, you are bound to graduate feeling prepared for the next stage of your life no matter where and what you choose to study.