THE UK

The UK is a sovereign state in Europe. Lying off the north-western coast of the European Mainland, the country includes the island of Great Britain (a term also applied loosely to refer to the whole country) the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that shares a land border with another state: the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the UK is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea in the east and the English Channel in the south. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. It is the 22nd most populous country in the world and it is a constitutional monarchy with parliamentary system governance. Its capital city is London, an important global city and financial center with the fourth-largest urban area in Europe.

Culture

The culture of the United Kingdom has been influenced by many factors including: the nation's island status; its history as a western liberal democracy and a major power; as well as being a political union of four countries with each preserving elements of distinctive traditions, customs and symbolism. As a result of the British Empire, British influence can be observed in the language, culture and legal systems of many of its former colonies including Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States. The substantial cultural influence of the United Kingdom has led it to be described as a "cultural superpower”

Food

The UK is a diverse country and apart from the British food, one is bound to find different meals from different races and cultures while staying in the UK. The British for example have traditional dishes such as roast beef, shepherd’s pie, Haggis, afternoon teas and the famous fish and chips. British cuisine has traditionally been limited in its international recognition to the full breakfast, fish and chips, and the Christmas dinner. Other famous British dishes include the Sunday roast, steak and kidney pie, shepherd's pie, and bangers and mash. British cuisine has many regional varieties within the broader categories of English, Scottish and Welsh cuisine. Each have developed their own regional or local dishes, many of which are geographically indicated foods such as Cornish pasties, the Yorkshire pudding, Cumberland Sausage, ArbroathSmokie, and Welsh cakes.

For international students, stores where local food is sold are available in most regions in the UK due to the number of Nigerians/Africans that are in the UK but they can be very expensive.

Transportation

Taxi as means of getting about can be very costly to use. In London there is a minimum fare of £2.40 at all times. The fare is based on time of day, distance travelled and time taken. Fares elsewhere will vary from place to place; a typical price per mile is about £1.25. Fares and any extra charges are always displayed on the meter next to the driver. Fares are more expensive in the evenings, at weekends and during public holidays. It is comfortable but costly!

Bike are a cheap alternative and healthy too especially in the great city of Cambridge. Students can have more time on their hands because the time for exercise and moving around can be combined but a helmet should be worn at all times and a good lock should be used for the bike. Many cities have bike lanes, making cycling in busy cities safer. Details of the UK cycle routes can be found at www.cycle-route.com. In London you can hire a bike using ‘Barclays Cycle Hire’ scheme.  You would take a bike, ride it where you like, then return it, ready for the next person. These are available 24 hours a day, all year round. They are self-service and there's no booking. The cost varies but for 24 hours you would pay £2 access fee and then a usage charge for 2 hours would be £6.Some universities offer a bike hire scheme. You will be likely to be asked to pay a deposit of approximately £50. The average cost per term is £25. Check with your university to see if they offer this service or make enquiries from people around.

Coaches offer efficient travel between major cities.
National Express Coaches offers student discounts.
National Express: www.nationalexpress.com. Student discounts are gotten from the station using your student ID which will be used as identification and can as well get a national express card which is renewable every year.
Mega bus operates in some of the major cities across the UK and offers cheap fare for just £1 plus 50p booking fee depending on if you book ahead.
Route information can be found at http://uk.megabus.com/BusStops.aspx

Buses are a very convenient way of getting around. Public transport can be inexpensive if used with student discounts on offer. The cost of travelling on London’s iconic red buses is £2.40 per journey. If you going to travel on the buses or underground frequently then buying an Oyster Card may be a more cost effective option. It will also give students the opportunity to do sightseeing while getting around.
London bus information can be found at: www.tfl.gov.uk/modalpages/2605.aspx
Outside of London you can check your local country council’s website for details of buses in your area.

Trains: UK’s train networks are vast and fairly inexpensive. If you are able to plan your journey in advance and book online it is generally cheaper than buying a ticket at the station. For details of tickets, train times and journey planners contact National Rail Enquiries or the train company. They will be of the relevant assistance.
National Rail Enquiries: Tel: 0845-748-4950
http://www.networkrail.co.uk
Different train operators cover different routes.
For a list of UK train operators follow the following link: http://www.networkrail.co.uk/contact/train-operator
Megatrain offers low cost intercity train travel in some of the major cities across the UK and offers cheap fare for just £1 plus 50p booking fee.
http://uk.megabus.com/megatrain.aspx
for discounted travel visit: www.16-25railcard.co.uk
A 16-25 Rail card costs £28 and will save you 1/3 on rail fares throughout the UK. You are eligible for this if you are aged between 16 and 25 and in full-time education.

Air Travel is also another means of getting around in the UK. There are many airlines that fly to the UK; students could try a comparison website like: 
Expedia www.expedia.co.uk/Flights or Sky Scanner www.skyscanner.net. These will search many providers for the flight you are looking for.
The UK has a number of budget airlines operating offer cheap flights
These include RyanAir www.ryanair.com and EasyJet  www.easyjet.com
Just a few of the international airlines that fly to the UK
British Airways: www.britishairways.com
Virgin Atlantic: www.virgin-atlantic.com
Lufthansa: www.lufthansa.com

London Underground also known as ‘The Tube’ is a cheap and convenient way to get around London.
If you are studying London an Oyster Card offers large discounts. One day travel cards are also a cost effective way to visit the city. Visit the website for details: www.tfl.gov.uk.
The following link will you to a printable version of the underground map which may be useful for guidance: www.tfl.gov.uk/gettingaround/14091.aspx

Weather

The United Kingdom has a temperate climate, with plentiful rainfall all year round.The temperature varies with the seasons seldom dropping below −11 °C (12 °F) or rising above 35 °C (95 °F). The prevailing wind is from the south-west and bears frequent spells of mild and wet weather from the Atlantic Ocean, although the eastern parts are mostly sheltered from this wind since the majority of the rain falls over the western regions the eastern parts are therefore the driest. Atlantic currents, warmed by the Gulf Stream, bring mild winters; especially in the west where winters are wet and even more so over high ground. Summers are warmest in the south-east of England, being closest to the European mainland, and coolest in the north. Heavy snowfall can occur in winter and early spring on high ground, and occasionally settles to great depth away from the hills.

Most school sessions start in Fall/Autumn (September) or winter (January) so students are advised to gear up with warm clothing. Coats, sweaters and jackets are a must have. Students should shop in the UK in preparation for school activities as it will make getting the right clothes needed easier.

Life in the UK

The UK is a sovereign state in Europe. Lying off the north-western coast of the European Mainland, the country includes the island of Great Britain (a term also applied loosely to refer to the whole country) the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that shares a land border with another state: the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the UK is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea in the east and the English Channel in the south. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. It is the 22nd most populous country in the world and it is a constitutional monarchy with parliamentary system governance. Its capital city is London, an important global city and financial center with the fourth-largest urban area in Europe.

Accomodation

Accommodation in the UK can include homestays, halls of residence/dormitories, house share or private lodgings depending on the student’s preference or choice and the budget the said student has. Homestays involve staying with a host family who provide room and board as well as feeding and companionship during your schooling. These host families are registered with the school and staying with them can help students adapt faster to the system which depends on if the student is in Britain, Scotland, and Wales etc.

Halls of residence/ dormitories are provided by the school. Many universities have accommodation located on or near their campus. Room sizes vary in size and quality.  Many have shared facilities (kitchens, toilets, showers, laundry). Some universities can offer shared or private rooms. There may be the option for meals plans that can be included in the cost of the room.  

House share involves getting an apartment independently and this gives students privacy. If you prefer a more independent living environment the many universities can assist with arrangements. Private accommodation options have kitchen facilities, are often shared with other students. You would prepare your own meals as the cost of feeding is not included.

It is advisable that accommodation arrangements are made before travelling so as not to get stranded or pay extra fees concerning where to stay on arrival.

Why study in the UK

British qualifications are recognized and respected around the world. Their reputation is known globally and when you return home, you'll find that your British Qualification boosts your career and salary prospects. British education leads the world in the field of quality assurance and the UK is at the forefront of scientific and creative innovation. Ambitious achievers who are seeking a superior education choose to find it in the UK as British education is constantly evolving while retaining the best of its prestigious 800 year heritage.

Students find Britain an attractive option as it is closer to home than any other English speaking country. This makes it easier and cheaper to return home while carrying on with your education.

Unlike other Higher Education offering countries the British Undergraduate degree is typically 3 years long (compared to 4/5 in other countries) and the Postgraduate degree is typically ONE year long (as compared with 2 in most other countries). You can therefore be qualified - and in employment - one or two years earlier with a British qualification.


The IT, Library, Accommodation and extracurricular facilities that our universities have to offer are truly exceptional. IT facilities are usually accessible 24 hours of the day to allow you to keep in touch with home.
Students are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week while studying and 40 hours a week while on holidays as long as they apply to a Tier 4 accredited University. Hence you can now cover some of your expenses while studying.