“The UK” means “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” and, just to confuse you even more, “Great Britain”,
or just “Britain”, consists of England, Scotland and Wales! So, now you know why we just say “The UK” – it’s much easier!!!
What do you think of when you think of The UK? Quality? History? Tradition? Inventions? Conservatism? The Royal Family? The
English Premier League? Manchester United? William Shakespeare? Harry Potter? London black taxi? Big Ben? Well, whatever you
think of there is sure to be a connection with Thailand. Historically and traditionally, Thailand and the UK are linked in many
ways. Both have long and interesting histories with Royal Families leading the way. Other native English speaking countries just
do not have the same historical links with Thailand that the UK does. You only have to look at all the important things that
have come from the UK, both in the past and now, to realise how much our World has benefitted from it. Even something as basic
as telling the time has its roots in the UK – Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is the base for all world time and Greenwich is a
district of London. The UK established its reputation for excellence a very long time ago in the fields of science and arts.
From Sir Isaac Newton’s laws of motions to William Shakespeare’s English, UK thinking has influenced the world. As an
international student from Thailand, like those first sent there by King Chulalongkorn, you will gain from the many fine
institutions that make up the UK education system.
The UK education system is a combination of the best traditions and modern life. Some UK universities and schools are among the
oldest in the world; others are some of the newest and most forward thinking. UK educational institutions provide globally
recognised qualifications of the highest academic and practical standards. Many international businesses and professional
organisations, whose head offices are often outside Britain, have direct links with UK universities because of their continued
excellence. Most Formula One Grand Prix motor racing teams, such as McLaren, Red Bull, Lotus, Mercedes-Benz and Williams, are
located in the UK, and they all have close links with the most modern university research laboratories and programmes. For
example, students from the University of Bath have work placements at McLaren F1 Team, L’Oreal and Nike, and the University of
Warwick has close associations with Airbus and Jaguar/Land Rover. The principle of the worldwide web – www - was invented in
Britain by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, and you might also be interested to know that about 33% of all computer games software is
developed in the UK. The worldwide reputation in the fields of films, the arts and media, international law and social sciences
is also exceptional – many “Hollywood” films have actually been made in the UK, and of course, James Bond is as British as can
be! (as is Mr Bean!!) British Education is synonymous with top quality and this may, at first, appear to be very expensive.
However, in terms of value for money, an investment in British Education is very worthwhile and beneficial. Of course, the best
quality cannot be the cheapest. However, please remember that although annual course fees may look a little higher than annual
fees in some other countries, in the UK the total cost of your course can still be less because some courses are shorter and
more intensive than elsewhere. This means you will have a shorter period of time for fees and living expenses. In the UK
Undergraduate Honours Degrees are only 3 years compared to 4 years in the USA and Australia (although some bachelor’s degrees
may be 4-year “sandwich” courses that include a 1 year work placement, such as BBA at the University of Bath, but in those cases
you gain valuable work experience at a top organization AND you get paid a salary). Similarly, Master’s Degrees are only 1 year
compared to normally 2 years in the USA. Costs also vary in the UK and, in fact, studying can often be cheaper than in other
countries. International students in the UK can receive the same free medical care and treatment from the National Health
Service (NHS) as UK nationals by paying the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) of 150GBP per year. Hopefully, you will not need
to use the NHS, but you will certainly want to enjoy the large range of really good
discounts available to you, as a student, through membership of the National Union of Students. Quite simply, if you decide to
study in the UK, you will become part of a tradition dedicated to excellence and innovation, as well as enjoying the benefits of
living in a country where there are so many activities to do. It is the richest possible resource for the English language.
Studying in the UK is not all serious work; it really can be a great chance to have fun and enjoy unforgettable experiences as
well as just learning. As the saying goes - UK - OK!!