UK Study Abroad Tips Straight from the Source

An illustration of a institution staff member speaking to a student, with spot illustrations of the United Kingdom flag, chat bubbles, schools, and awards alongside them.

Want to know what it takes to study and set yourself up for career success in the United Kingdom? While there’s general advice that’s always a good idea to follow, like choosing an in-demand career or finding internship opportunities, we’ve done our research to find more study abroad tips for the UK.

We’ve asked academic institutions throughout the UK and Ireland what advice or study abroad tips they’d offer international students. Below, we’ll talk about everything from choosing the right career path to being job-ready after your studies. Keep reading to find out more! 

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Illustration of woman thinking about studying abroad in the UK.

On Choosing a Course or Program

Deciding to study abroad is a big step, and choosing the right program or institution that fits your needs is an important part of the study abroad journey in the UK. Whether you’re still exploring different fields and locations, or have a specific institution or course in mind, it’s important to think about which factors are steering your decision. 

Here’s what representatives of the University of Nottingham, Brunel University London and London Metropolitan University have to say about choosing a program or institution (emphasis ours).

There are a lot of factors to consider while choosing a program, but I would also suggest going with your gut feeling and personal desires. Location is important, particularly travel options … University rankings and reputation can also contribute to your career aspirations. Most universities have a strong research focus in specific areas, so you might want to research the ‘best’ university for your chosen career path … Subject-specific rankings and research are also good to consider, as well as researching the careers and employability opportunities for students during and after graduation.
– Ruth Walker, International Student Recruitment, University of Nottingham

With many institutions offering the same or similar programs, prospective students need to dig a little deeper as to why they should choose a subject area at a particular institution …
Does the institution have direct links with industry; if so, [with] who?
Does the course include a year-in-industry option which can help students gain valuable work experience?
Where is the institution located? Are there companies located nearby who seek graduates in specific fields?
What support is available to enhance students’ skill sets and what networking opportunities can they [access]?
– Simon Stanley, International Recruitment Manager (India), Brunel University London

Prospective students should consider the curriculum, course accreditations, modules offered, and practical opportunities, such as work placements, internships or industry links. They also need to ensure that the programme provides the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their chosen career path. Students should do relevant research on the university, particularly around academic facilities and resources, career support, scholarships, location and alumni success.
– Keyan Zhu, Head of International Development, Student Recruitment and Business Development, London Metropolitan University

An illustration of a blue briefcase, representing studying abroad in the UK.

On Researching Future Careers 

When choosing a course or program, it’s always a good idea to work backwards. Think about specific future career opportunities during your studies as well as after graduation. To get started, here are some study abroad tips from education experts from Edinburgh Napier University and the University of Greenwich

Start looking at what jobs are available at the same time [as] researching [your] prospective course. There are a lot of websites and social media options that can send job alerts regularly so you can get an insight into what jobs are currently available and get a sense of the essential requirements and what the current pay is. … Any type of work experience, [whether] related to the field of study or just a part-time job alongside studies, will help [students] gain experience working within a UK work culture and will prepare students for full-time work after they graduate.
– Stuart Easter, Head of International Partnerships & Student Recruitment, Edinburgh Napier University

It’s important to learn more during undergraduate-level programs with non-specialization, and then look to specialize in your subjects at the master’s level. These footsteps will help you to acquire wider information and knowledge which is required for the industry by the time you are ready to work with them.
– Graeme Tong, Head of International Recruitment, University of Greenwich

Planning to study in the United States instead? Learn about some of the biggest mistakes international students make, plus more advice, on our blog.   

An illustration of six hands together in unity, representing building networks.

On Building Networks

Have you ever heard the saying “Your network is your net worth?” This saying means that the more meaningful connections you build, the more opportunity or influence you can have in your professional and social circles. Here are some things leaders at Edinburgh Napier University and the University of Nottingham have to say about building networks as an international student. 

…It’s a good idea to talk to as many people as possible within the industry, to learn how they reached their own career aspirations, which can be incredibly powerful. Good people to speak to are academics who have industry links, any guest lecturers or placement providers within a degree program, and the university’s career centres and alumni teams, who may have contacts students can reach out to.
– Stuart Easter, Head of International Partnerships & Student Recruitment, Edinburgh Napier University

Speaking to alumni is a great way to discover career paths and job opportunities available. Take advantage of any internships or volunteer opportunities … as these will broaden your horizons and give you plenty of opportunities for networking. People skills are just as important as academic skills, and employers look for people who stand out somehow. Volunteer and get involved in as much as you can with your university careers services and student union.
– Ruth Walker, International Student Recruitment, University of Nottingham

An illustration of a strong arm flexing, symbolizing practice and experience.

On Gaining Experience

A great way to boost your chances of employability after graduation is to build as much experience as you can during your studies. Many jobs favour employees with related experience, ideally in-country, so it’s wise to pursue available co-op or internship opportunities. To help you find ways to gain experience in your field, we’ve included some advice from representatives of London Metropolitan University and Brunel University London

The best way [for students] to be career-ready on graduation is to obtain some work experience that’s related to their degree course and future career plans. Students can complete internships, work experience opportunities, and volunteer with a charity. Students can also take on positions of responsibility, such as course representative, or become involved with the Students’ Union, a student society, or a sports team.
– Keyan Zhu, Head of International Development | Student Recruitment and Business Development, London Metropolitan University

Most institutions, such as Brunel University London, encourage students to start thinking about their career path from the moment they enroll. We have a dedicated team of staff within our Professional Development Centre (PDC) whose job is just that. Most institutions also have direct links with industry and will host job fairs throughout the year. This gives students a direct opportunity to engage with prospective employers, and most importantly, network.
– Simon Stanley, International Recruitment Manager (India) Brunel University London

Check out our blog to find out how international students can gain work experience while studying abroad in Australia, Canada, Ireland, the US, or the UK.

We hope these study abroad tips make getting ready to study abroad in the UK easier. We wish you the best of luck with your studies and everything ahead – you’ve got this!

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