As an international student, a massive part of studying abroad is experiencing a new culture, meeting different people and ticking off the best spots in your new home. Although a relatively small country, the UK is jam packed with things to see and do. From the beaches of Brighton in the south of England to the mountainous landscapes of Scotland, there’s plenty of unique sights, activities and experiences to keep you busy during your studies. To get you started, we’ve listed five things you have to try during your study abroad experience in the UK.
1. Explore free museums and galleries in London
Home to 8.9 million people, London is the UK’s capital city, bursting with entertainment, art and diverse experiences. As a hub of culture and history, there are many world-famous museums and art galleries to visit during your studies. You can make your way through the refined streets of Kensington to the Natural History Museum before crossing over to the Science Museum just next door.
You can then take a walk along the river Thames before stopping off at Tate Britain, an art gallery with a range of exhibitions to feast your eyes upon. The great thing about London is that many of the museums and galleries are totally free, so if you’re on a student budget, you can still explore London’s cultural scene without putting a dent in your wallet.
Find out more about other UK cities.
Imagine having all of this right on your doorstep. If you’re considering London for your studies, check out the following universities:
2. Eat a roast dinner
You might be wondering, ‘What kind of food do people eat in the UK?’. While the answer is that there are lots of different cuisines on offer, as with any country there are certain foods which are particularly popular and commonly associated with the UK. One of the most well-loved and quintessentially British dishes is a roast dinner.
The composition of a roast is often contested in different parts of the country, but it tends to include the following:
- Roast potatoes
- Meat like beef, lamb or chicken
- Vegetables (peas, carrots, leeks, parsnips)
- Cauliflower in cheese sauce
- Yorkshire pudding (savoury baked pudding)
- Gravy (meat-based sauce)
While this kind of food might be different to what you’re used to, it’s definitely a dish worth trying while you’re in the UK if you want to soak up the British culture. Speaking of which, make sure you check out our guide on the different British accents so that you know what to expect when speaking to different people in the UK.
3. Go surfing in Cornwall
Located in the south west of England, resting on rugged cliffs and home to the longest stretch of coastline in the country, people from all over the UK flock to Cornwall for a relaxing getaway. Famous for Cornish pasties (a type of pie), Cornish fudge and charming fishing villages, Cornwall is also considered one of the best spots for surfing. Even if you’ve never tried it before, you can take a lesson with a trained instructor and enjoy riding the waves on the shores of Cornwall. This is a fun and energizing activity which you can finish off with a cup of tea on the beach followed by a portion of Cornwall’s infamous fish and chips.
Want to truly experience Cornwall? Study at one of the following institutions:
4. Try punting in Cambridge
One of the best ways to see Cambridge is by punting down the river Cam. This is basically a small, narrow boat that you can hire to glide along the water and see the beautiful architecture that Cambridge has to offer. The city is famous for being home to Cambridge university which often ranks within the top universities in the world. You can even have a guided tour by punt to see the grand college buildings.
Punting is a unique experience, perfect in the warmer months from May-September when the scenery is looking its best and you can sit back and relax in the sun. If you choose to do a guided tour, you can hear about some of the history of punting and Cambridge itself. This is a perfect way to enjoy the city while you’re in the UK and Cambridge is easily accessible with trains connecting the city to many other parts of the country. If you’ve heard of Cambridge then you’ve probably heard of Oxford, a similarly historic and well-known city in the south east of the UK, home to The University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University.
5. Visit the Roman baths
Dating back to around 70 AD, the Roman baths are located in… well, Bath. This picturesque city is located in Somerset in the south-west of England, with beautiful architecture and thermal hot springs, its often considered a hub of wellness and relaxation. Outside of the baths you can immerse yourself further in city’s extensive history, as you’ll be walking on the same pavements that the Romans walked 2,000 years ago.
As you wander around the city, make sure you also check out The Royal Crescent and Prior Park and if you feel your energy flagging, Bath has plenty of restaurants and cafes for all types of foodies. No matter where you are located in the UK, Bath is just an hour and a half train ride away from London and is well-connected to other major cities. You could also study in the city at the University of Bath.