What you must know earlier than finding out… within the UK

Third favorite destination for French students, the UK still attracts massively despite the uncertainties linked to Brexit. Changes in perspective, accommodation, cost of living… L’Etudiant tells you everything you need to prepare for your mobility.

For several years, the UK has fluctuated between 1st and 2nd among the French favorite Erasmus destinations. It is the third country in the world where French students attend the most: more than 12,000 students completed part of their course there in 2016, according to data from Campus France). But with the prospect of Brexit, some concerns are being expressed about university exchanges across the Channel. If (like the Brits) you don’t know where to turn, don’t panic, the Student guides you to prepare for your departure.

Recognized universities around the world

Oxford, Cambridge, King’s College… These names of English universities are known – and recognized in the job market – all over the world. I’Cambridge University ranks third in the Shanghai 2019 ranking of the best universities in the world. It is the first European institution to appear in this international ranking. Oxford appears in seventh position and the University College of London (UCL) in fifteenth. Other universities are also doing well in terms of reputation, such as Manchester, Bristol or Glasgow.

English higher education consists of two stages: the “University student“which leads to a single (equivalent to our license, i.e. a bac+3), then the “postgraduate studies” which corresponds to Teacher (bac+5). The duration of the cycles varies according to the universities, which are autonomous.

To prepare for entry into a specialized course (such as an arts or engineering course), there is a second path called “foundation degree” (in two years after the baccalaureate). These more professional training courses are often conducted on a work-study basis.

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An uncertainty called Brexit

Since 2016, the UK is shaken by a phase of uncertainty linked to the Brexit process. The country’s departure from the European Union is well formalized since February 1, 2020 and you won’t have no impact on students currently in the UKor even for those who intend to leave by January 1, 2021. The gray areas still reign, especially in terms of agreements between French and British universities. Some even started to tie bilateral partnerships to continue the exchange programs.

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Regarding student mobility, once the exit is effective, they should be able to continue to travel without a visaonly with one Passport or one valid identity card. Just one certainty: ECTS credits (European credit transfer and accumulation system) purchased at a British institution will remain valid throughout Europe. Also remember to bring a European Health Insurance Card. Just ask your insurance company: the card is free, valid for two years and allows you to be covered in case of illness.

Wait, continue to exit through the program Erasmus+ seems like the best plan to adopt for French students: less expensive in terms of registration fees, it also often facilitates the search for accommodation in the country (with proposals for places in university residences). Notify your bank of your departure anyway. In the UK, the currency is the pound sterling, so be careful with exchange rates.

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Anticipate your expenses, which are higher than in France

The cost of living is quite high in the UK, especially in some cities like London. According to Cost of Expat estimates, daily life is, on average, 36% more expensive than in Paris.

Cost in Paris cost in London percentage difference
Monthly rent of a room in the city center € 1,175.49 € 2,186.13 + 86%
Monthly pass for public transport 75 € € 181.97 + 142.60%
Modest restaurant for one person 15€ € 19.02 + 26.80%
fast food menu € 8.90 € 7.61 – 14.50%
Water bottle (1.5L) €0.88 €0.96 +9.10%
Local beer (0.50 L) € 6.50 € 6.34 – 2.50%
Rice (1kg) € 1.83 € 1.62 – 11.50%
Potatoes (1kg) € 1.92 € 1.56 – 18.80%

If you leave without an exchange program, also expect quite hefty tuition fees : can range from €4,000 per year (Wales and Northern Ireland) to €10,000 (in England).

On the scholarship side, you can benefit from the assistance offered by your Erasmus+ Program (between €270 and €370 per month) or eveninternational mobility assistance (400€ per month). Some scholarships are also offered by the regions : consult your Regional Council.

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Prioritize campus studios

hard to find one affordable housing in many British cities, and particularly in London, where rents are rising. Try as much as possible to opt for the rooms on the campuses (account between 350 and 450 € per month) or in apartment sharing (even though rents for a room often start at €600 monthly). Two sites can help you find the rare gem: Spareroom and Easyroomate.

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good student plans

Remember to ask your International Student Identity Card (ISIC). Offers some discounts on certain tourist activities for international students: the Shakespeare Globe Theater and the London Eye are yours! Another good plan to know: the European Youth Cardvalid for one year for €10, it allows you to enjoy discounts throughout Europe.

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