The Best Cities in the UK for International Students

The Best Cities in the UK for International Students

If you are an international student wondering where to study in the UK, we have conducted the best five cities in the UK for international students. There is nothing better than the cities London, Coventry, Manchester, Leamington, and Glasgow for fellow students across the world.

Each of these cities offer plenty of sights to see, great food and cuisine, and friendly people. Although being an international student can be challenging, you’ll settle in just fine.

Accommodation in London, Coventry, Manchester and Glasgow offers the perfect place away from home for international students. Based in central locations in town, you can explore your new city with ease and perfect for your university and social life balance.

Modern, comfortable student living in these cities offer fun social spaces which are the perfect base to make new friends and continue your new venture in the UK.

Top Five University Cities for International Students

1. London

The transport In London will end up being your best friend! Although London is big, it is well-connected across town, and easy to get from A to B.

In terms of your career, London is a great place to kick start this. There is a huge range of job opportunities here in the big city, there are also a plethora of graduate schemes on offer.

There is always so much to do in London and you’ll never be bored! There are popular sights like Big Ben and The Tower of London, there are a lot of hidden gems to discover too.

You’d be pleased to know that the city of London itself is very mixed, as of 2018/2019 the total number of international students in the UK alone was 485,645. We hope that puts you at ease !

2. Coventry

Although Coventry is a small student city, it is indeed a very friendly one. There are transport links to Birmingham with the infamous shopping centre to keep you busy !

Currently there are over 12,000 international students from over 130 different countries at Coventry University. The university has a dedicated international office to handle enquiries, applications, and support students throughout the entire visa process.

Coventry is also a popular destination for shopping amongst the locals, and it’ll be right on your doorstep! There’s an impressive selection of markets, precincts and shopping centres to spend your days at.

3. Manchester

Did you know that half of Manchester’s adult population is multilingual ?
There are 4 in 10 people speaking more than one language and it’s a great starting point for any international student.

From the hipster bars of the Northern Quarter to the luxurious cocktail bars in Spinningfields, Manchester definitely has plenty to enjoy during the nightlife.

Manchester is famously friendly and welcoming to everyone. If you choose to study here as an international student, you’ll settle in quickly.

Manchester is also infamous for its local delicacies that you would need to try, from a Manchester tart to an Eccles cake… be sure to try them out !

4. Glasgow

There’s a rich history and heritage in Glasgow. It is the second largest city in Scotland and a globally recognised study destination for budding students.

There are plenty of events, exhibitions and museums. International students will feel welcome as soon as they get to Glasgow. Glasgow is an extremely friendly city that is filled with lots of fun activities for the students.

All Glasgow based universities are very welcoming and supportive of international students with a range of societies that students can take part in.

There are lots of options available to international students who want to stay and work in the UK after their studies.

If you’re considering staying in the UK after completion of your studies, you may need to apply for a visa separate to your student visa. You can check whether you need a visa at; UK Visas & Immigration.



The Graduate Route

From 1 July 2021, international students who have successfully completed an undergraduate or master’s degree will be able to benefit from the Graduate Route scheme. This is two years’ worth of work experience in the UK after graduation. Students who complete their PhD major will be able to stay for three years in the UK.

Here is everything you need to know:

The Graduate Route will be there to international students who have a valid Student Visa at the time of application. They also must have successfully completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a Higher Education Provider with a track record of utter compliance.

Successful applicants on this Graduate Route will be able to stay and work. They are also given the opportunity to look for work in the UK, this can be at any skill level for a maximum period of two years if they have successfully completed an undergraduate or master’s. PhD graduates will be able to stay in the UK for three years. Graduates will be able to switch into skilled work once they have found a suitable job in their specialisation.

The new route has already launched in July. This means that any eligible student who graduates after this date will be able to apply for the Graduate Route. This also includes students who have already started their courses.

Although, the Graduate Route will require a new visa application, which will only be available to apply from inside the UK.

The visa costs £700 and the Immigration Health Surcharge at the full rate of £624 per year.

Students are also required to withhold the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) that they have used for their most recent Student Visa (or commonly known as Tier 4). This is so they can apply for the Graduate Route.

If you have been studying online in your home country due to Covid-19 pandemic, you can still apply for the Graduate Route. This is provided that you meet the other conditions of the Graduate Route. This is part of the UK government’s Covid-19 student visa guidance states:

“Students who began a course of 12 months or less in 2020 or 2021 via distance learning, and who have not previously entered the UK to study that course, will be able to make an application if they make a successful student visa application and arrive in the UK either before their visa ends or by 27 September 2021, whichever is sooner.

Students who began a course of 12 months or less in 2020 or 2021 who have existing permission as a Student to study that course, and who have already travelled to the UK during that period of permission, will be able to make an application as long as they are present in the UK before the end date of their permission.

Students sponsored for a course lasting longer than 12 months will not be prevented from being eligible for the Graduate Route as a result of any distance learning that took place either in the UK or overseas between the period of 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021”.

What UK Universities are in the 2022 Times Higher Education World Top 150?

Time Higher Education (THE) revealed their 2022 World University Rankings recently and the University of Oxford finished at the top for the sixth year in a row…

The Times Higher Education World Ranking is the only global university performance table that judges research-intensive universities across all of their core conditions and missions such as; teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.


UK Universities in the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2022

1st – University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English speaking world and comprises over 30 colleges and over 100 libraries. More than one third of Oxford’s student body is international, with 10,000 students from across 150 countries and territories.


5th – University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge has produced 121 affiliated Nobel winners to date, more than any other university, and is currently ranked as the best university in the UK by the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.

12th – Imperial College London
Imperial College London is consistently ranked as one of the world’s best universities and focuses exclusively on science, engineering, medicine and business courses.

18th – University College London
University College London is located in the centre of London, a member of the elite Russell Group and is extremely popular with international students, who comprise nearly 53% of its total student population.


27th – London School of Economics and Political Science
The London School of Economics and Political Science is part of the prestigious Russell Group and has the world’s largest library dedicated to social sciences. Graduates from the University also enjoy some of the best starting salaries and employment rates upon graduation.

30th – University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh is a popular study destination in Scotland, with 13,000 international students creating a truly diverse and cosmopolitan atmosphere.

35th – King’s College London
King’s College London is one of the top UK universities for graduate employability and students benefit from its global connections and reputation with employers, universities and organisations ranging from different sectors including government, business, industry, sports and culture.

50th – University of Manchester
The University of Manchester is ranked first in the world for societal impact by the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings and with an award-winning careers service, it is no surprise that 94% of Manchester graduates go straight into jobs or further study.

78th – University of Warwick
The University of Warwick consistently ranks in the top 10 of all major UK university league tables and 5 years after graduating, Warwick graduates are within the UK top 10 for highest earnings in over 11 different subjects (LEO dataset 2015-16).

86th – University of Glasgow
The University of Glasgow ranks highly in terms of employability prospects, with 96% of students being in employment or further studies within six months of graduating. The University of Glasgow also offers students various scholarships which are based on merit.

The University is made up of four colleges- College of Arts, College of Social Sciences, College of Science and Engineering and College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Science.

92nd – University of Bristol
The University of Bristol is the 4th most targeted university by top UK employers (High Fliers 2020) and is a former European Green Capital winner.

105th – University of Birmingham
The University of Birmingham is the 2nd most targeted UK university by top graduate employers (High Fliers 2020), and its 276 acre parkland campus is located just 7 minutes from the centre of the city.

110th – University of Sheffield
The University of Sheffield is a major global university and part of the Russell Group which represents the UK’s 24 leading universities. High quality postgraduate programmes provide in-depth knowledge, advanced skills and the confidence to achieve your ambitions.

117th – Queen Mary, University of London
Queen Mary, University of London has world-leading research across all academic schools and departments, with an impressive track record of initiating exciting and innovative interdisciplinary collaborations.

Queen Mary continually invests in its campuses to ensure that all students have access to the most up-to-date teaching and research facilities.

122nd – Lancaster University
The growing reputation of Lancaster University is reflected by high rankings year-on-year. In addition to being awarded International University of the Year 2020 by the Times and Sunday Times, enjoy the historical city of Lancaster and the outstanding beauty of the Lake District National Park.

124th – University of Southampton
The University of Southampton is a founding member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group and courses are developed with industry in mind and focus on developing the skills that future employers will want.

127th – University of Leeds
Located in the heart of a vibrant, student-friendly city, the University of Leeds campus is a mix of modernity and tradition with world-class facilities including state-of-the-art libraries and industry standard laboratories. Award-winning Leeds University Union is one of the biggest and most active in the country, with over 300 clubs and societies.

141st – University of Nottingham
A member of the prestigious Russell Group and Universitas 21, the University of Nottingham is known for providing outstanding research-led teaching, whilst the Careers and Employability Service offers support for finding jobs, internships and placements.

143rd – University of Exeter
Located in the South West of England, the University of Exeter is a member of the prestigious Russell Group and is ranked amongst the UK’s top universities. It has a vibrant community of over 23,500 students from 130 different countries represented across six academic colleges.

146th – Newcastle University
Newcastle University is an elite member of the prestigious Russell Group of research-intensive universities, and inspires the minds of over 27,000 students from over 130 countries around the globe. Newcastle University’s students are highly sought-after, with 98% of international graduates in employment in professional or managerial jobs.


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