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Pros & Cons of Being an International Student at University


Going abroad for university can be exciting, stressful, and sometimes a bit confusing at first. There’s a lot you have to deal will logistically and socially that you might not have to deal with as alocal. When first applying, you might not even think of all the different aspects you have to consider: international tuition? living cost? what even is the NHS? But it’s not all that complicated. Here are the pros and cons of being an international student at University.


1)    Meeting new people

 If you are willing to throw yourself into a new culture during your university years, it shows that you’ll have no problem socialising with new people. While there might be some barriers at first, you are clearly keen to meet people from different backgrounds to your own and have the skills to cope with some of the difficulties. You’ll make friends quicker than most.

2) Societies

There are plenty of societies that welcome international students or that already have a massive international following. For example, the Model United Nations Society is full of students from all over the world that you’ll immediately relate to.

3) Campus Universities

While this pro also has its cons, going to a campus university will make a lot of things easier for you: getting around, meeting up with friends, getting to know your professors more and other aspects of your university life will be facilitated by living in a smaller place. If you’re used to big cities, it might even help you concentrate on your work more!

4) London Universities

London universities again have their cons too. Its main pro, however, is that it is a hub for students from all over the world. You will 100% find other international students in your classes, societies and accommodation. You’ll have a huge amount of people that know exactly how you feel coming abroad for university.


1) Sorting administrative stuff out

Getting your bank account set up and sorted, your phone contract, your NHS number and rent can seem REALLY daunting. Get. It. Done. Soon. Don’t wait until you have six essay deadlines and two oral representations in the following two weeks.

2) Expenses

More expensive tuition fees are an obvious one, if it applies to you. Each person will know how best to deal with that and what’s feasible for your economic situation - but it can make you a bit weary when applying to university abroad.   

3) Travel

Depending on where you’re from, you might have to catch a flight to get home. That might prevent you from seeing your family and friends as often as you might like.

4) Campus Universities

The con for going to a campus university is closely related to travel. While you can get to any London airport via taxi, tube, over-ground train or bus, the chances of having a direct train to an international airport from a smaller university town is unlikely. This can add to travel costs when going home and also to travel time.

5) London Universities

The issue with London universities in particular is that they can be overwhelming. You’ll find that your classes aren’t always in the same building, street or even London Borough. As for making friends, since all students dorms tend to be spread across the city, it can be a bit difficult to meet people and to stay in touch. Despite these cons, the pros normally outweigh them! Experiencing university as an international student might even heighten your university life overall and give you an incredible few years that are incomparable and completely different to what you would experience in your home country.
GRB Blog Author and Student - Athina Kalkanis

Athina is half Spanish, half Greek but has grown up in London, Athens and Moscow.  She is a third year History student at King's College London and has a particular interest in Russian and Middle Eastern history. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, watching films, visiting art exhibitions and going out with her friends.

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