Okay, HSB is all about USA and yes, it is 100% accurate that USA is undeniably the dream destination for international students.
Not only for superiority education and known as land of opportunities, but also World’s leading economy where visions comes true; makes it a perfect choice.
Now, Europe and particularly UK also has a pretty cool significance when it comes to international students.
According to UK Council for International students (UKCISA) there are 428,225 international students in UK for 2010-11 intake that started in September 2010.
International students mean those who are outside from Europe. Now it may seem a small number if you compare it to USA student intake, but in a country where there are only around 62 million people lives in 94,000 sq. mile area, 17% students in UK are international, is really a fascinating stat.
Why UK for Higher Education
Why this choice for UK?
I forget to mention that this stat came as 6% increase from last intake.
First of all you’d be amazed to know that there is almost everyone in UK; okay let me rephrase it, here you can find almost every nationality crammed in one place, London.
So don’t be amazed if you walk on street and hear Beatles, Justin Biebar and Shahrukh Khan’s song playing one-by-one.
That’s a true multicultural experience I believe you only can get in two cities of World, London and New York.
Again, UK has a significant number of Indian, Bangladeshi, Chinese and Pakistani communities in place; in fact 10% British have grandparents/parent born in those countries, so you’ll never miss home.
You can get Kebab and tikka being sold, all over London.
I have been places like SouthHall and Whitechapel where you feel that you’re home, not abroad.
Education System in UK
Apart from all this, UK has a great education system, until recently if you write top 10 universities of world that’d certainly feature Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College and University College London.
Most of the international students come here to pursue Master’s degree and further.
An interesting fact for those who don’t know, you will only need IELTS to get into most of the universities of UK, and unfortunately that’s the reason universities don’t offer much scholarships even in PhD level.
That means most of the universities in UK is similar of what USA calls a private school.
There are external opportunities for funding, though. But almost nothing in MS level, few partial scholarships available though.
1 Year Degree Programs
On positive note, MS in UK is 12 months, unlike the rest of the world where it is at least 2 years.
That means a more compressed and exhilarating course in place. So while you save one year, you have to be complete sane to bear all the materials just as half the time.
The study structure is same like USA, you have courses, labs and personal and group project work, all in 1 year.
MBA programs are also 1 year and some runs for 18 months.
Post Work Study Visa in UK
Now let me come to the point where I thought I should start writing from.
Previously I have seen a post on UK and a comment there which really inspired me to write about the myths and stuffs of UK/Europe.
Visa is a great aspect where international students see for their future. I mean you come to abroad and spend a good fortune on education and all, so I believe everybody wants to stick in after education is complete, get a job and at least repay the loan.
That perfectly makes sense.
Yes, as you already know Post Study Work (PSW) Visa is now closed.
So it makes harder for international students to get a job and stay in UK after studies.
However, I half agree that UK is no longer an attractive option for international students.
Post Study Work Visa in UK – Before Changes
An international student earlier with PSW can stay in UK for 24 months provided they have got £800 in bank for 90 days and have finished at least a bachelor’s degree.
They don’t need to have a job, and they are free to search for one in these 24 months.
Now from 6th of April 2012 this route is closed, and now graduates have to find a company who is willing to sponsor them.
This is known as Tier 2 Work Permit.
And there’s a £20,000 per year salary cap as well, this is not to make things harder but actually protect the international students.
Sometimes, it had seen that companies offer employment to international students but as the companies have to offer work permit as well, they offer a lower salary.
Over in UK salary is considered as a highly confidential info, and for a same level of responsibility can land you way to different salary bands cause it all depends upon your negotiation skills in interviews (not the case if you’re a fresher or graduate without any or a minimal experience, their salaries are open secret).
So actually Tier 2 Work Permit and £20,000 may seem bad, some would see it as a challenge to compete.
How? Let me explain Tier 2 Work Permit.
When I was a student, I saw many opportunities which matched my experience and skills.
I applied but all of them came back saying you have restricted visa so we can’t take you.
That means I am only eligible to start applying for job when I have PSW visa in place, and then they will go for rest of the stuff like degrees, experiences.
But now that all the companies will know they will have to sponsor international students.
A student while still in the university can apply and say in the application itself that they’ll need a work permit to work.
So students won’t be rejected at least of visa issues. Remember I said there’s 6% international student increase in 2010-11 than 2009-10 according to UKCISA?
Now why I said I half agree.
Yes, it’s true that the path is tough but all is not lost.
People who think to come to UK just after their Bachelor’s to study Master’s or for their Bachelor’s, if you’re taking a bank loan or using your parent’s whole savings, refrain yourself from coming here.
But if you’re a person with 5+ years of experience in fields like IT (not as a developer), Pharmacy, Heavy Engineering and Management, looking for a dream move to abroad and think you can go back to school for a while before working again, UK is actually lacking qualified people like you.
The third kind would be whom, who are happy to get back to home after studies, and don’t have funding problems, easily you can come here.
For those of you who got that entrepreneur flow in you, there’s actually a new route for guys like you.
Yes, its hectic, I’ll give you that without hesitation.
But moving abroad and possibly staying abroad since 2001 and after 2008 is all the way hectic that it was before, but don’t let that stop you pursue your dreams.
So my question is, are you game enough?
Andy recently completed his Master’s degree from Royal Holloway, University of London. He will be sharing his experiences about UK. He is now looking to pursue his PPh.D.in USA/Canada/Germany and already started his applications to German universities so can expect a few articles on that as well.