28 February 2020
Choosing the ideal university is about more than the rankings – lifestyles can differ significantly based on location. The upside is: whether it is small town or big city life you crave, you will be able to find it in the UK!
Did you know that the British definition of ‘city’ means any town that has a cathedral in it? Yes, that’s right: even a little suburban town with a cathedral is a city! Hence, it is important to know your expectations when deciding on the right university, whether you prefer a bustling metropolis or a quieter, calmer lifestyle.
Small towns in the UK
Not all towns are created equal, but the one thing they have in common has to be population density. You will find that some university towns have been dubbed ‘student towns’, precisely because there are more students than locals!
There is typically one high street (the British equivalent of a mall) in each town where you can find everything you need: bookshops, salons, pubs, pound stores, pubs and cafes. Everywhere is accessible by foot (or bike), with bus services running locally as well. If nights out are your thing, be prepared to become a regular at the same few clubs in town.
The community feel of small towns is the biggest pull for many students: peer guides will often joke during Welcome Week that you cannot have a night out without bumping into someone you know – if this sounds comforting, you are made for small town life!
Big cities: lifestyle
Think London. Think Manchester. Think Edinburgh. These are the places that first come to mind when people think the UK. Served by its own metro system, big city life is very much like what you would expect if you come from one.
The perks are obvious: convenience and ease of travel. You will never tire of having somewhere new to shop or even explore (big cities often boast several museums that are free to enter)! Beyond the one high street, big cities also boast several shopping arcades and malls. If you are craving a taste of home, simply pop into Chinatown (where you can even find bubble tea!) or one of the many restaurants! Many small town university students visit big cities for a day of shopping and eating or a weekend getaway.
However, with convenience comes a more hectic lifestyle and higher cost of living. This will be foremost reflected in your rent: did you know that British students are entitled to take out a higher maintenance loan if they study in London as opposed to anywhere else in the country?
Teaching at British universities are divided into two to three strands: lectures, seminars and labs, if applicable. Most teaching occurs at lectures while most learning takes place during seminars, where there is one tutor to a maximum of twenty or so students.
Contact hours are kept to a minimum as students are expected to be responsible for their own learning, allowing you to organise your time accordingly. Most lecturers will have office hours where you are free to pop in with any queries, and they expect students to make use of it!
With there being little to no homework, assessment is based heavily on assignments and exams, which means that you have to put in consistent effort. Generally, the pace of learning is decided by students themselves, which is excellent if you know what you want and how to achieve it with the time you have.
Need advice before embarking on your studies abroad? Here at Flying Chalks, we offer free consultations, and applications on your behalf to universities of your choice! A personal statement can make or break your application – do not take the risk and let our experienced team assist you in crafting one! Let us address your concerns regarding accommodation, cost of living, teaching methods, and more! Sign up now for a free consultation by filling in the form below!