Student life in the UK

What is it like to study at a British university?

Student life in the UK

British universities are renowned for offering high class education and attracting students from all over the world, but what is it really like to be a student in the UK?

The best way to know what it’s like to study in the UK is to experience it for yourself - with Oxford Summer School , students from all around the world can get a taste of British student life (and the academic course they would like to study) before making their university applications - but here’s a few little insights for you.

The Students’ union and societies

Every UK university has its own Students’ union that is devoted to giving everyone the best university experience possible. They organise loads of fun and exciting events (comedy nights, gigs, fundraising…) for you to enjoy throughout the year and run hundreds of different societies and groups that you can join.

From academic, religious and political groups to music, well-being and culture societies, this is your opportunity to pursue an existing passion or get involved in something new. The huge range of groups means there is something for everyone.

Learning from the best

British universities have some of the top scientists, mathematicians, historians, philosophers, economists, the world; and you will be taught by them. In engaging lectures and thought-provoking seminars, you will learn from some of the best and most respected academics in their respective fields.


Nearly every sport you can think of is available; football, rugby, hockey, fencing, rowing….even sports not commonly played in the UK, like American Football, are available to all students. Don’t worry if you aren’t a natural sportsperson, most sports have multiple teams suited for all abilities: from high achieving athletes to newcomers.

If you aren’t a keen sports player, you don’t have to miss out on the huge sports culture. Supporting your uni at matches is always encouraged, especially when they are playing their established rivals (Cambridge vs Oxford, Exeter vs Bath, King’s College London vs University College London etc). These type of matches are commonly dubbed ‘varsity matches’ and are very exciting to watch.

Don’t forget: Wednesday equals sports. Most matches are played on Wednesday afternoons so the majority of students will not have classes and Wednesday evenings are dedicated to sports socials.

Self-motivation and organisation

Academically, what you get out of university depends on what you put in; as the common British saying goes, ‘you reap what you sow’. Your professors will not chase you for work, will not keep reminding you to study and, in some cases, they are not concerned whether you turn up for your lectures and seminars. It’s all up to you.

You need to manage your time, hand your assignments in before the deadlines and motivate yourself to attend class, study and revise for your exams. If you want it, there is loads of academic support available to you and you are always welcome to visit your professors with any questions during their office hours.

The student bubble

At UK campus universities, everything you could possibly need (food shops, cafes, a gym, doctor's surgery and even a bar) can be found on campus. This is very practical and means it’s common to spend nearly all your time on campus, especially if you live in campus student accommodation. This creates a very fun, close-knit student environment known as the ‘student bubble’.

So, do you like the sound of student life in the UK? Click here for more information on British universities, including the fees and how to apply.

Further reading

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