Living in the UK

Welcome to your new home!

When people think of the UK, they often think of a few specific things: an English policeman, red phone boxes, fish and chips, and afternoon tea… These things are all British, but they don’t tell the whole stoory. The UK is an ethnically diverse country, and many British people have families who come from countries all over the world.

This means that British culture is actually a mixture of a lot of other different cultures. This is reflected in everyday life in the UK. You may find that your host family, friends or classmates come from families that originate in other parts of the world. You’ll almost certainly find that the English culture you meet in the street and in school (especially in larger towns and cities) is influenced by cultures from all over the world. This is all part of the UK – and it’s as British as fish and chips!

British cuisine

Despite some common misconceptions, British food is very varied and exciting with many influences from our vibrant, multicultural society. Whilst we are famous for afternoon tea and fish and chips, chicken tikka masala has taken over as the most popular dish in England! You may find the food in the UK different to what you’re used to at home, but enjoying these new flavours in this this wonderfully diverse country adds to your experience.
Don’t be afraid to try something new!

“Living with a host family is a unique way to experience the British culture”

Sports & activities

Sport is very popular in the UK – especially football and rugby, but also sports like cricket, netball and hockey – there are all sorts to get involved in! You’ll be able to do some sports and activities at school – either during your lunch break, or after school.

If you want to try something new, or do something that isn’t offered at your school, then it’s a good idea to join a local club where you live. This is a great way to meet people and try something new.

Many schools and colleges also offer outstanding gyms and sports facilities with a great range of equipment helping each student reach their fitness and sports goals.


In addition to your studies, every school or college runs an enrichment programme with a wide range of extracurricular activities. Students are encouraged to take up a range of new and exciting activities to participate in, with great facilities on offer and communal areas for socialising to develop personal skills, make new friends and gain valuable experience.

The possibilities for enrichment activities are almost endless – from sports clubs to students’ associations, these activities usually run on a daily basis and fit around your timetable, giving you the freedom to choose what activities you would like to join and when to attend.


Our Top Tips for a fantastic exchange programme

Be open-minded!

One of the most important things to remember when you come to the UK is to be open-minded. You will be faced with so many new people, activities and choices, and it’s important to be open to new experiences. If you are prepared to put yourself out of your comfort zone, you can make friends for life, develop new interests and hobbies, and become a high achiever!

Think about what is important!

Are you focussed on a particular subject? Or would you rather pick your location in the country where you’ll be living and studying? Whatever your priority is, our team can help you along the right path. We have a wide range of subject choices on offer for you to choose from. Alternatively, we work with a fantastic selection of schools and colleges up and down the country, all of which have wonderful facilities and tutors, and if you have a dream destination, we can help you get there.

Look to the future!

Think about where you see yourself further down the line and consider how this programme will help you get to that point. Maybe you want to continue your academic studies, or perhaps you want to gain the right qualifications to get your dream job. Or maybe you just want to be a more open and confident person and have a fantastic experience along the way – and we can help with that too! If you know what you want to achieve from the exchange, you will be able to make the best choices for you.

Be prepared!

Make sure that you plan ahead and that you’re prepared for your programme. Think about what you’ll need to bring with you – will you need warm clothes? Do you have plans to get a British SIM card? How much spending money are you going to bring? You can talk to us about all of these things and more in advance, so that you are well prepared for your exchange.

Living with a host family

Living with a host family is a great option for students who enjoy living in a family environment, and will offer the opportunity to really learn about the British way of life. Students live as a member of the family, sharing family meals and taking part in family life and activities.

Some families may choose to host another student as well, providing a great opportunity for students to learn about other cultures and languages, and to make international friends.

All of our host families are recruited and inspected by StudyChoice or the chosen school, not via an agency. This is to guarantee the quality of every host family.

All host families are carefully screened by experienced support staff, and every member of the family over the age of 16 must complete criminal record checks before hosting our students.

Student halls

If your independence is really important to you, you can choose to stay in halls of residence with other students.

For some of our programmes, you can study your chosen course and stay in halls of residence together with other students. Halls are the perfect environment for making new friends and developing your independence.

Those who stay in halls of residence are a mixture of international students and local students. Students live in either single or shared rooms, with access to social areas and activities which create a young and fun environment.

We offer a range of options: some halls are self-catering and students can make meals together with their friends, while other halls offer full-board accommodation.

Halls are usually located very close to the school or college, with an onsite security officer or warden. Halls have excellent facilities and include fully equipped communal kitchens, laundry rooms and common rooms, including a TV and, in some cases, pool tables.

Students who are under the age of 18 live separately from older students, and college staff are on-site 24/7 in case students need help.

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High School - FAQ

Yes – if you choose the High School Select programme, then you can choose not only the area that you will be in, but also the school or college you will study at! We want you to be able to study where and what you want – so you can tell us in your application if you have a preference. Take a look at our High School Select page to find out more about this.

Yes – if you choose the High School Academic programme you can choose your subjects!

Yes – but this might depend on your academic performance, and the subjects that you choose to study. At the end of your time in the UK, you should obtain a report card from your school or college, and this will demonstrate your experience and qualifications.
If you are interested in sitting exams, then you should tell us this when you apply, so that we can make sure your subjects will allow you to obtain a recognised qualification.

As soon as your placement is confirmed, we will notify you of the details of where you will be studying. The process of matching you with the perfect school or college (and host family, if you choose to stay with one) takes time and can be complex, and we want to make sure we find you the best match. We’ll aim to let you know your destination a few months before you depart.

It’s different for every student depending on your lifestyle, and it also depends on whether you stay with a host family or in student accommodation, and how you travel to school! The average monthly expenditure is usually between £100-£150 if you’re staying with a host family.

On our application form, there is a section asking you for some information about yourself – this includes whether you would be happy living with pets, whether you would prefer a non-smoking family, and if you have any other special requirements or allergies, among other questions. You should give us as much information as you can on here, and this will enable us to match you to the most suitable family!

This depends and can be different depending on the school and the host family! There will probably be other exchange students at your school. Host families can choose to host one or two students, so you might have another student within your host family.

If you have a problem with your host family, then you can talk to your Local Support Coordinator. They will help you to talk about the problem and find a solution. If the problem is serious and can’t be resolved, there can be the option of changing host family.

All of our students and their parents will have a contact person before, during and after their stay. During the programme, our students are supported by various levels of support – our Head Office team, their school and (depending on what type of programme you have chosen) a Local Support Coordinator. We also have an emergency number for emergencies out of office hours. StudyChoice will keep in touch with you while you’re here in the UK, and we can offer support, guidance and advice.

Yes – StudyChoice organises tours and trips every term that you will be able to take part in! Independent travel is also possible, but you will have to get permission from StudyChoice, as well as your natural parents (and host family, if you’re staying with one!).

Yes – there will be plenty of opportunities for you to get involved in sports and activities while you are in the UK! You can join a club or play sports through your school or college, and if you’re staying with a host family, they will be able to help you get involved in activities in the local area.

Yes – you can ask for an extension of your programme.

If you aren’t sure if you will need a visa, take a look at the UK government website:
This will tell you what kind of visa you need to apply for, what fees are involved, and what the requirements are. The earliest you can apply for a visa is three months before you start your course.

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