Advice for UK students on studying abroad
UK students studying abroad
Language and culture
There are growing numbers of institutions in non-English speaking countries which teach in English, for some courses or even whole degrees, especially at postgraduate level.
According to the OECD's Education at a Glance report for 2011
- many programmes are taught in English in Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden
- at least some programmes are taught in English in Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Japan, Korea, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Switzerland and Turkey
Some websites and directories will allow you to search by language of instruction, for example see Studyportals.eu
If your studies will be even in part in another language you will probably have to demonstrate proficiency in the language of the host country through a formal test. In many cases, pre-sessional language courses will be available, and are often useful to help with the process of acclimatising to the locality, culture and academic customs, as well as the language itself.
Even if you are studying in English, you will normally need at least some knowledge of the local language to deal with day to day life. If you don't already speak the language, consider a pre-sessional course, or find out whether you can study it alongside your main course.
One of the benefits of studying in another country will be the opportunity to learn about that culture, and develop skills of cross-cultural communication and awareness. The process of adapting to a new culture is challenging, and can be stressful. You may find the website What's up with culture? a helpful introduction to cultural adjustment issues.
Remember that educational norms and values vary between cultures. For example, UK universities put a strong emphasis on independent study and critical thinking, whereas in some other countries study can be more closely directed by teachers and based around authorised set texts. Try to find out before applying about educational cultures in your destination country.