A group of friends taking a selfie in the park

Student life: off campus

The lively experience as a student in the UK doesn’t end as soon as you step off campus. There is plenty to do around the UK, and you are often offered a sample of the country’s delights at a discounted rate

The UK boasts a beautiful countryside, multicultural and cosmopolitan cities and a great nightlife. You will have access to a range of outdoor and social activities, and getting around the UK (especially if you are from a large country such as the US) is easy. See Travel around the UK for more details.

Activities such as going to a cinema or to a music concert are common, and your students’ union may even organise such events. Generally you can find out about what entertainments are happening in your area by looking online, or through the local newspaper or student newspaper.

Sport and the outdoors

The nation’s love of sport is expressed through world-famous annual events like the FA Cup Final and the Wimbledon tennis championships. All UK colleges and universities have a wide range of sporting teams that compete on a local and national level.

Open space is highly valued in the UK and there are plenty of ways in which to explore the countryside. Throughout the country you will find opportunities to take part in cycling, rock climbing, mountaineering, swimming, horse riding, sailing, fishing and walking.

Going out

There are plenty of options for student nightlife in university towns. Pubs, bars, lounges and nightclubs all cater to students with special student events on certain weeknights.

The country’s live music venues offer nights to suit all tastes, ranging from indie, rock and pop to R&B, hip-hop, metal and classical. There is also a vibrant club scene, with top DJs making an appearance every weekend.

Some colleges and universities provide additional support for students, such as night buses (specially chartered coaches) to make sure you get back to your halls of residence safely.

‘You don’t have to trek very far to find what you enjoy. Living in the UK provides instant exposure to diversity and everyone is hospitable. The nightlife is fantastic! And there’s also a real passion for sports – especially football and rugby – which is unlike any other country.

Ryan O’Toole from the US, who studied at Leeds Metropolitan University

NUS and international student cards

When you join a college or university, you will be able to buy a National Union of Students (NUS) TOTUM card. This will entitle you to great discounts on all sorts of goods and services within the union, and even outside of it. A TOTUM card will get you discounts in selected high-street shops, cinemas, restaurants, mobile phone stores, online shops, hairdressers… the list goes on.

You can also buy an International Student Identity Card (ISIC), which will provide discounts on a wider range of things, including travel and accommodation, and can be used in almost 130 countries worldwide. Other recognised international cards may be available from your home country, such as the ISE International Identity Card from the US.

Image credit: William Perugini