7 Question Sunday - Life in the UK, MBAs & Working While Studying

1. Is it possible to study in the UK without an IELTS?

Of course, we did a whole blog post on it here! Plenty of people do, however, whoever you are, wherever you're from, you've still got to demonstrate that your English is up to the necessary standard.

As an international student, an IELTS 6.5 or better is probably your best proof of showing good command of English. There are other tests, but many of them are more insecure than IELTS (which isn't perfect, but better than the others). And if you need a Tier 4 visa, then it probably needs to be a UKVI IELTS Academic test.

2. Why is the UK best for studying rather than the USA and Canada?

Close proximity to Europe so the options for travelling are extensive and it helps with improving your language sills

Studying in the UK also gives you the ability to practise a new language every weekend! Who would not jump at such an opportunity? (Also, over 300 other languages are spoken in London, including Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, and Tamil.

Cost of Education

If you convert pounds to dollars, the average tuition cost to study in the UK is $13,050, though medical degrees are considerably more expensive. The cost to study in the US, meanwhile is $35,087 for a private college and $21,184 for a public college for out-of-state students.

Health Benefits

The NHS in Britain functions well, and so, if you get hit by a double-decker bus, you will not have to pay a dime

3. Is it possible to work while studying a master’s in the UK? I am not a European citizen.

In general, a full-time student on a degree-level course at an overseas university with a track record of compliance can work up to 20 hours part time during term time as long as it doesn’t interfere with studies.

4. Is there a list of universities in the UK which accept transfer applications from international students?

Most British universities have very similar policies for transfers. Transfers will always be considered on an individual basis - there is no standard process and they aren't very common (even between British universities).

British undergraduate degrees are a lot more structured than in some other countries, so transferring can be difficult. You enroll on a specific degree course that has specific modules in each year, so if your previous studies don't match up closely enough with what students at that university study, you probably won't meet the prerequisites for the later modules.

You won't be able to take first year modules in your second year in order to catch up - you can only take modules for the year you are in.

Typically, where transfers are accepted they will, at most, allow you to skip the first year and start at the beginning of the second year. You usually can't go straight into the final year (Bachelor's degrees are usually three years - for four year courses, you might be able to enter at the start of the third year).

You would need a reference from your previous university that shows you have the necessary prerequisites for the year you are entering.

For postgraduate study, it might be a little easier. PhD courses, for example, are much less structured. I expect if you found a willing supervisor and had funding, the university wouldn't object to a PhD student transferring.

5. What are some tips for Indian students to study in UK with many challenges such as food, climate, study pressure etc?

For many international students, coming to study in the UK can be a little daunting.

It’s important to make sure you’re fully prepared before arriving in the UK, so that you know exactly what’s ahead of you and can avoid any unexpected stress.

Do your research

Don’t be afraid to contact the university you’ll be attending directly to ask about the course or any other arrangements you’re unsure of. There are usually local advisers that are there to provide you with details on studying in the UK, so don’t be afraid to ask!

Visas: You’ll need a Tier 4 Student Visa, and there are a few extra requirements before you’ll be able to apply (for example, you need to demonstrate a good knowledge of English).

Prepare for British life: Culturally, the UK is very diverse and welcoming of people from around the world. You should be able to find many like-minded students that share a similar background and beliefs, and most universities will have different societies that you can join to meet like-minded people.

It's also a good idea to search for Facebook groups related to your university (they often have groups specifically for international students) so you can discuss any questions you have before arriving.

In case you weren’t aware of this, the UK is known for its cold and wet weather! Pack lots of warm and waterproof outfits for the winter months, and don’t expect summer to be very hot! Most student budgets won’t be able to afford to have the heating on all the time, so warm clothes are essential.

Student accommodation: It might be a good idea to live in university accommodation during your first year until you’re on your feet. This sort of shared living can be ideal as you are able to make friends through shared living spaces and kitchen facilities, but will also have your own privacy with a lock on your dorm room door if you need space.

Healthcare: You’ll need to organise your own health insurance. We recommend using a comparison site like or Compare the Market in order to find the best deal.

Bank accounts: This will allow you to pay your bills, keep your money safe, and avoid any foreign currency charges you’d need to pay if you use a non-UK bank account to pay for things in Britain.

UK banks can be quite strict about the requirements for opening an account. This is because credit products such as credit cards are usually available on current accounts, meaning the bank will need to verify your details thoroughly to make sure you have an acceptable credit history to be given credit products.

Student bank accounts are a great option, as they offer numerous benefits including an interest-free overdraft of up to £2,000. However, it’s worth knowing that not all banks offer student bank accounts to international students (but you’ll still be able to open a regular current account so don’t sweat!).

Using your phone: One of the first questions you may ask is if your current phone will work in the UK. The answer is most likely, yes!

However, the worst thing you can do is keep your current SIM card in your phone while studying in the UK. You will pay extremely high call charges for calling back home as well as on local numbers.

For calling local numbers:

If you already have a mobile phone then you will need a new SIM card. Pay As You Go (PAYG) means that you top up the phone when your credit runs out and this is good for keeping an eye on your spending.

Monthly contracts are usually better value as you will get free minutes and texts but you wi