What is this guide for?
You are thinking about studying abroad, and the U.K. seems like a place that might work for you.
There are literally hundreds of study abroad programs open to you in the U.K. How do you pick just one? What things do you need to know about study abroad in the U.K. to help you decide? What are the major differences among study abroad program models? What kind of program model would be right for you?
The following pages hope to answer these and many other questions, and help you get started on the road to study abroad in the U.K.
Defining the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom consists of four separate countries: England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Each country has a distinctive history and culture. Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are Celtic countries that were conquered and occupied by England for centuries. They now enjoy a large degree of autonomy.
Great Britain is a term that is often confused with the U.K. Great Britain consists of England, Wales, and Scotland, i.e., the three countries on the island that is called Great Britain.
To further confuse matters, the British Isles consists of the United Kingdom, Ireland, The Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands.
To the casual observer, the U.K. might seem to be one large country, but in fact it is made up of several countries and many regions within each country.
For example, did you know that the Welsh language is making quite a comeback in Wales after being suppressed during English rule?
Also, the people of Scotland debate whether to remain aligned with the U.K. or simply become an independent country.
Northern Ireland is recovering from years of civil and sectarian strife, with a peace accord in place that is allowing the population to concentrate on education and commerce now instead of violence and terrorism.
England is comprised of many distinctive regions, each with its own cultural and historical story to tell. London gets all of the headlines, but it is only one location among many that draw students to England year after year.