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What are the differences between studying in the UK and USA? 

The UK and the USA are great places to study abroad. Both destinations have a long-standing tradition of excellence in higher education, as well as vibrant student cultures! 

But what are the differences between the two? In this blog post, international students Bonaventure (from the University of Brighton in the UK) and Ivy (from Simmons University in the US) walk you through what it’s like to study in these two countries.  

Teaching

Bonaventure

As I’m doing a Pharmacy degree, the teaching style in the UK consists more of lectures, seminars, workshops, and a few laboratory sessions.  

I like workshops the most as they allow me to express myself and retain the most information at the end of the day. They also give you the chance to ask questions without feeling any pressure, which enhances the learning experience. 

Ivy

In the USA, most of my Psychology classes are either lectures or labs. The learning is discussion based, with lectures taking up half of the class and discussions taking up the other half.  
 
I’m also a Pre-Health minor, which involves taking various Chemistry and Biology classes. This generally involves a lecture from the professor and problem-solving — either alone or in groups. Science classes also have a separate lab for pre-lab briefing, which is followed by performing experiments. 

For most classes, both for my major and minor, you have to watch pre-recorded lecture videos and do an assignment or quiz based on the videos. 

Student life

Bonaventure

I’ve participated in quite a few UK student life activities, such as pub quizzes, swimming, and university football matches. There are many societies and clubs here, including the Pharmacy Society, Islamic Society, and Rugby Club, among others.  

I recently went to a pub quiz organised by the Pharmacy society. I really enjoyed myself! Most of my course mates showed up and we got the chance to have fun outside the school environment, which was really nice. I also enjoyed the competitive spirit that everyone brought to the table. 

It was quite easy to make friends with international students, especially at the University of Brighton International College. Most students were international, so we ended up building solid bonds. 

Ivy

I like to get involved in US student life through clubs. I joined the student government in my first year and currently work with the MindScope Science magazine.  

There are always activities happening on campus, which are open to all students and usually organised by clubs. It’s a great way to make friends and find people with the same interests as you! 

My favourite event involved petting cute dogs! It’s usually held at the end of the semester to help students relax and share study tips with each other. Also, there are many schools near mine, so I can go to events and meet new people.

Career support

Bonaventure

My university organises quite a few career fairs and business expos, where you can meet with potential employers and business owners. This motivates students to keep working hard and pursuing their university degrees, so that they can secure their dream jobs after graduation or even start their own business. 

In the summer of 2022, I did an internship through the 10,000 Black Interns programme. It allowed me to understand more about Kaplan’s accommodation business on a deeper level. I saw how the residences were run and how the company generated profits, which was exciting for me, as I’m very passionate about business.  

Ivy

Through the MindScope Science magazine, I’ve improved my ability to work with people. I’m working with my Professor in a Social Psychology lab, creating studies and performing experiments. This is very helpful for my career, as I’ll be able to create and run my own experiments once I graduate.  

The school has played an important role in my career development — they provide excellent resources for projects and seminars. Off campus, I’m a worship leader at my church, which helps me learn how to serve people and grow my leadership skills.  

Accomodation

Bonaventure

During my first year in the UK, I lived in a shared house with a few students. This was a new experience for me, but luckily I had amazing housemates! 

After that, I moved to Kaplan Living — arguably the best student accommodation in Brighton. I’ve been here for the last four years. I really enjoy the social activities, such as FIFA tournaments, pumpkin carving, and movie nights organised by the accommodation staff. 

These activities attract quite a lot of students, and this creates endless opportunities to meet new people and make friends.  

Ivy

During my first year living on campus, I had a roommate who I didn’t know before moving to the USA. She was very sweet, understanding, and fun to live with. She was also the first friend I made when I came to the USA. We did fun activities like decorating the room together, going on walks at the park, and exploring new places.  

One thing I like about campus is how safe it is — even at night. There are campus police officers on call 24/7 in case of an emergency, giving us real peace of mind while living in the heart of the city. 

Mesick Hall Building at Simmons University

The best thing about studying abroad

Bonaventure

The highlight of my time in the UK has been meeting many people from different backgrounds and cultures. A lot of the friends I made when I joined eventually became my best friends, and I’m very grateful for that, as I’ve been away from my family for the past five years. 

If you’re interested in studying in the UK, I would recommend starting off your journey at a Kaplan Pathways International College. It really helped me settle into the country and understand the culture on a deeper level before starting my university journey. 

Ivy

My favourite part of US university life is meeting people from all walks of life. Also, you get to try new foods and develop as a person — both intellectually and career wise. Living in the USA by myself has improved my confidence and allowed me to explore my authentic self.  

My main advice to any student uncertain about moving to the USA would be: just do it! By doing challenging things, we discover how strong and courageous we really are. 

Study abroad with Kaplan

If you want to follow Bonaventure’s or Ivy’s footsteps, Kaplan can help. We offer international students degree admission at a range of leading universities, guiding you through each step of the application process. This mainly applies to US universities, and could include help with the visa process, writing a personal statement, or finding a degree that’s right for you.  

Alternatively, if you don’t meet the entry requirements for your chosen degree, you can study a degree preparation course with us. After passing this course with the required grades, you’re guaranteed entry to your chosen degree.  

To learn more, get in touch with us and a friendly Educational Advisor will explore your options with you. 

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