Pursuing higher education in the UK has become increasingly popular among Indian students and young working professionals. Did you know that Indians already make up one of the largest international student communities in the UK? The UK’s high-quality education, presence of some of the top universities in the world and globally recognised degrees open doors to new possibilities and a long and successful global career. These are some of the primary reasons for the UK to retain a position amongst the most sought-after destinations for studying and living, as per experts and representatives from the British Council, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), and British Universities International Liaison Association (BUILA).
“I think the key points I want to emphasise today are firstly, the UK is open post pandemic and it’s more or less back to normal, in terms of the higher education experience. Secondly, we are seeing a lot of demand for our degree courses for September 2023 and some of those courses are closing sooner than would be the case normally,” said Dee De Rocha, International Director at University of Cumbria representing BUILA, at the EconomicTimes.com’s interactive learning forum titled ‘Study and Live in the UK.’
At the informative and interactive student briefing session hosted on the EconomicTimes.com on March 28, Dee De Rocha along with Aatreyee Guha Thakurta, Head of Mobility for India & South Asia, British Council, and Divya Malhotra,Customer Account Manager, UKVI, deep-dived into everything Indian students need to know about studying and living the UK, covering aspects of educational courses, student life in the UK, information about resources and tools for students, visa policies and processes, scholarships and career opportunities, and more.
“The UK has a global reputation for academic excellence and is the perfect place to develop your talents. UK institutions regularly top global rankings, which means that you get a chance to receive a world class education, gain respect from employers all over the world, and have great experiences that make friendships that last a lifetime. So, by choosing to study in the UK, it is your chance to actually discover the very best in yourself,” British Council’s Aatreyee Guha Thakurt told the nearly 1,300 students attending the Study and Live in the UK programme.
In the 2021-2022 period, the number of Indian students studying in the UK increased about 50% YoY. Moreover, experts predict that the recent Mutual Recognition of Qualifications agreement signed by India and the UK – to officially recognise each other’s academic degrees and high educational qualifications – as well as the launch of the Graduate Route, which is the UK’s post-study-work visa, will enable more Indians to apply to study and live in the UK.
Why & how to study and live in the UK?
Highlighting the reasons why Indian students should consider studying in the UK, British Council’s Thakurta explained how the UK is home to some of the top universities in the world (4 of the top 10 as per the QS World University Rankings 2023), with its institutions famed for their innovative teaching methods and academic excellence.
“In addition, a UK education creates employable graduates who go on to pursue global careers, provides opportunities to learn from leaders in the field, enables access to top quality technology and labs, and encourages students to open their mind to innovative ideas and change the way they think,” she added.
Experts at the Study and Live in the UK session also added that the UK is also a very welcoming place for international students who represent diverse cultures and backgrounds and is well-known for respecting all ways of life. There is a deep commitment to ensuring that religious and cultural needs of students are met.
“My top tips while making the application would be to include all the necessary documents as per your personal circumstances including the official translations of your documents if your documents are not in the English language. Include a supporting letter to explain any gaps in your study, for example, the part time employment during your studies, disclose your full travel history and be honest while filling the application form which is very important and this information will mean including any previous visas refused. Also include the birth certificate and parents’ consent letter if the student is below the age of 18 and is sponsored by the parents,” said Divya Malhotra.
Divya also went on to list out some of the most important information that all students need to know when applying for a UK visa, including details around the minimum age, visa requirements, how early to apply, documents needed, and cost of application, among others.
Scholarship opportunities in the UK
The UK offers plenty of scholarship opportunities, especially to international students who need financial help to fund their studies. Several scholarships are provided by the UK government, universities and institutions like British Council.
The long list of scholarships includes, the Commonwealth Scholarships, and GREAT Scholarships. The GREAT Scholarships 2023 programme, which was launched by the British Council and 49 UK universities, supports postgraduate students, offering a minimum of 10,000 pounds; applications for this programme are open until June 1, 2023.
The Women in STEM scholarships, by the British Council, are fully paid scholarships for women who want to pursue STEM and for meritorious students who cannot access this education without the scholarship. Applications for this scholarship is currently open.
Students can find scholarships based on their subject, department, level of study and even nationality, said experts at the Study and Live in the UK interactive session with Indian students. Students can also visit the Study UK section of the British Council website to search for courses, institutions, and scholarships; alternatively, they can also visit the Scholarships and Funding section to use the scholarships finder tool to find the right scholarships based on their course.
Study and live in the UK: Resources and tools
Some of the other Study and Live in the UK information resources and tools that you can find on the British Council India website include:
- A session on studying in the UK
- A section on Courses in the UK
- Study UK guides for students
- A guide on student visas and related policies and processes
- A section on events and seminars dedicated for UK alumni community, Study UK information sessions, and more
Applying to study and live in the UK
Dee De Rocha emphasized the importance of applying early as the demand for studying and living in the UK is continuing to increase. An important aspect of applying to study in the UK involves planning and preparing your application, she said, adding that all documentation, including English language tests, qualifications/transcripts, personal statement, and letter of references, should be ready as soon as possible. She also urged students to go to the different university websites to find out details about the exact documentation that is required per university, and even on guidelines and tips for writing a good personal statement.
“Students also need to start thinking about their accommodation and apply for this as early as possible,” De Rocha said.
Most universities allow students to apply directly or via an authorized agent or representative. For postgraduate students, the deadlines are very visa specific. However, for undergrad students, some universities only accept applications through UCAS. From May 2, 2023, students can use the UCAS database and search for courses that are open for 2024 intake and can start their application from May 16, 2023. However, applications can only be submitted on September 5, 2023.