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10 Reasons to Study Abroad in London

UNITED KINGDOM | Tuesday, 11 November 2014 | Views [1453]

The moment you have all been waiting for is here: The premiere post from guest-writer Paul. As Rachel’s non-travel-award-winning-other-half, I’m honored to present reasons why you should study in London. Although my experience is at the postgraduate level, I believe these points apply equally for undergraduate students wishing to take the leap across the pond.

10 Reasons to Study in London

1. Free Things

London is a bustling city with lots of great things happening every day, and many of these things are free including almost every art gallery and museum, countless parks and outdoor gyms, even comedy nights and rooftop movies. The Tate Modern is one such wonderful art gallery, which is conveniently near Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. On the museum side, you can visit the Science Museum, Royal Air Force Museum, National History Museum, and countless more. If you can make it through the crowd of tourists that seem to meander across London at all hours, then you can witness some incredible things for free. This is just a short list of the free possibilities you can find through websites like Time Out London or Londonist.

2. Student Discounts 

As a student, chances are if it’s not free there’s probably a discount. Keep your student I.D. on you at all times, because almost every restaurant, pub, performance, or venue has some sort of student discount or concession. Even a 5-15% discount can go a long way.

3. Independence 

My masters course at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama consists of one day of lecture per week, occasional intensive days, and updates on different job placement opportunities available through my university. While other MA courses are a bit more lecture-oriented, the majority of courses in London are more independent than those in the United States. This means less time in lecture, less time taking uninteresting general classes, and more time doing independent research and job placements on subjects that really interest you.

4. Business Connections

Whether you are interested in finance or theatre, art or science, history or technology, London is an incredible hub to find work. The sheer amount of individuals working in your field will allow you the unique opportunity to find an entire community of professionals interested in the same area of specialization as your studies. Connecting to classmates, alumni, or current London professionals will give you access to the global community in almost any area of academia.

5. Multicultural 

London is one of the most globally diverse cities in the world. It is home to countless cultures, languages, and religions. From your classroom, to the local pub, and even the bus and tube ride in-between you will rub shoulders with people from all backgrounds and cultures. Half of the languages you hear on the street will likely be foreign to you. London is definitely the place to make friends from all over the world.

6. Theatre

One of the largest benefits for me as a student of Central is the vibrant theatre scene. London’s West End has an incredible selection of professional, Broadway-style theatre. Add to that the international tours, regional works, and fringe theatres springing up every week, and there are more theatrical choices than anyone could imagine. The best part of all is the price: seeing a live performance is often cheaper than a film at the cinema. Sign up for the mailing lists of places like The National TheatreRoyal Opera House, and Mousetrap Theatre Projects to receive tickets for £5-15 ($8-25 US). Often universities will have free showings, and several theatres such as the Battersea Arts Centre will sometimes show new works-in-progress for donations only.

7. Libraries

If you are more inclined to spend a day in a quiet room with a book or two, London is still the city for you. As a student, you will have access to the University of London’s Senate House Library, home to over 2 million books. If that isn’t enough, you can gain access to The British Library with over 150 million items including books, online records, and magazines. On the smaller side of the spectrum, most universities have their own personal libraries, and almost every community in London has one as well.

8.Travel

Traveling to London from the United States is a big adventure, but realizing that all of Europe is right next-door is a traveler’s dream come true. Day trips and weekend trips to countries all across Europe are all within reach. Look for cheap trains all the way to Paris in just over 2 hours and very affordable flights through sites like easyJet and Ryanair. I’m sure you will soon hear about some of our weekend adventures very soon on this blog.

9. Cost

This point is a bit of a pro and con, but it’s worth hearing. With London being recently named the world’s most expensive city, and with the extravagant cost of tuition, the issue of cost generally becomes the reason many people do not choose to study in London. But the discounts available to students, eating cheap, and budgeting well make London quite an affordable option. Many master’s degrees in the U.K. are only one-year programs (two years for master’s of fine arts), rather than three years in the states. Similarly, undergraduate degrees are typically three years rather than four. While one year in London may not seem to be the cheapest way to obtain a master’s degree, you may find it much more cost effective than three years in a city in the States.

10. Memories

Finally, and most importantly, studying in London will give you lifelong memories. When asked about your alma mater at your first job interview post-graduation, will you answer with a smile or an embarrassed shrug? When your children ask about your times at university will you have stories to tell? Studying abroad, particularly in such a well-known city, isn’t all about bragging rights or getting ahead in life. It’s about the memories you create and the wider horizons you will be exposed to, the people and places you will remember for years to come.

Studying abroad, like traveling, is something few enter unafraid, but even fewer leave unchanged.

 

 

Tags: cheap, london, student, study abroad

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