Location and Geography
The United Kingdom is a sovereign state situated west of continental Europe; its total area is 244,820 square kilometres. It comprises four countries: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is the only part of the U.K. with a land border (with the Republic of Ireland); the rest of the state is surrounded by bodies of water (the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, the English Channel, and the Irish Sea. The English Channel separates the U.K.’s southern coastline from France.
The United Kingdom is renowned for its level plains and rolling green countryside. These predominate in the south and the east, whereas to the north and the west, the landscape includes rugged hills and low mountains. The capital is London.
The U.K. has a temperate climate, and one that is remarkably varied due to all the water surrounding the area – conditions can change greatly from one day to the next. Scotland in the north tends to be cooler than England, while Wales is generally wetter with more cloud cover. Temperatures generally range from around 0º Celcius in winter to 32º Celcius in summer. In all parts of the U.K., waterproof jackets should be part of the wardrobe.
A member of the G7 and G20 groups, the U.K. economy is the sixth largest in the world by GDP – and among the top three in Europe. It was historically the lead nation in becoming industrialised, and London remains one of the world’s main financial centres.
Services, particularly banking, insurance, and business services, contribute by far the largest proportion of GDP, with industry and manufacturing becoming increasingly less important (as in most affluent nations). While it accounts for a relatively small proportion of GDP, the agricultural industry in the U.K. is highly intensive and efficient, producing roughly 60% of food needs but employing less than 2% of the labour force.
The currency of the UK remains the Pound Sterling.
Living Conditions and Cost of Living
In the U.K., the cost of living can vary considerably depending upon location. This link gives some rough accommodation and daily expenses averages for 2016.
“International undergraduate tuition fees vary considerably, starting at around £10,000 (~US$12,300) and going up to £35,000 (~US$43,100) or more for medical degrees. At all levels, humanities and social sciences degrees tend to cost the least, while laboratory and clinical degree programs are markedly more expensive.
Combine these fees with the average cost of living in the UK, around £12,000 (~$14,750), and the total average cost of studying in the UK comes up to at least £22,000 (~$27,040) per year. Studying in the capital city, meanwhile, is likely to be significantly more expensive.”
Students from EU countries can receive National Health System (NHS) benefits while studying in the U.K., and may also be entitled to some financial or other forms of assistance. Non-EU students may be eligible for some health benefits under the NHS.
The U.K. lifestyle provides opportunities to experience a wide range of live theatre, museums, art galleries, historical towns and buildings. Travel is available to most parts of the U.K. via train and/or bus and the U.K. abounds in bed and breakfast accommodation as well as backpacker hostels.