Study in the South East of England
An important factor to many students, and many parents too, is that England is considered to be a safe place to come and study. The South-East is especially felt to be a secure and stable environment in which to settle quickly and give one’s very best as a student learning new and challenging things. The region is one of the most prosperous in the country and welcomes many international visitors that add to the richness of the community rather than standing out as different.
Another factor worth taking into account is the closeness to London. Most places of study in the region enjoy good communications to London, especially by train and it is worth noting from an institution’s publicity what it says about access to the city of London, because it is likely that you are going to want to visit it during your studies. A number of the students whom I teach have told me that they chose to study in this region because they wanted to be near London but not in it a factor which carries a definite cost benefit.
Amusement about the British climate may cause those overseas to miss the fact that there is quite an important climatic advantage when studying in the South of England, compared with further north. In the South, the summer weather lasts a few weeks longer and the winter period is that much shorter. This difference is particularly enjoyed by those places which are within a close distance of the English Channel, because the sea makes the winter even milder. If you like lots of frost and snow then probably the South-East is not for you, but if you want to be as comfortable as possible in England, it is worth looking carefully on the map about where the place is that you want to study.
How does the quality of courses and institutions in the South-East compare with other parts of the country? Apart from the international standing of world-famous universities like Oxford and Cambridge, it is very difficult to say whether one part of Britain has more or less learning excellence than another. Quality is a major issue throughout educational institutions in Britain, so happily it is not necessary to sacrifice or gain an excellent learning environment because of the part of Britain you want to study in. The best way to judge educational quality is not by geographical location but by the taking careful note of the quality of the courses described in prospectuses and, even more importantly, the quality of the learning experience that others in your country report from studying in particular places.
The question of regional accents is worth thinking about briefly. Britain enjoys a very rich variety of regional accents, and this diversity within such a relatively small land area is one of its special characteristics. However, when I am learning a foreign language, I try to learn it in a fairly standard accent, as I would prefer not to be labelled by the accent of one region but by one that people anywhere in the world will most quickly understand and be familiar with from listening to the radio or television. English accents in the South-East are fairly standard appearing to be especially easy for people across the world to understand. Accents are a matter of taste and identity, though, and it remains far more important that we become true communicators than worrying about the particular accent in which our words are expressed.
The South-East boasts a number of very interesting towns and cities. Reading in Berkshire for its position and excellent facilities, Winchester for its historic character and gentle charm, Southampton for its dynamic connection with everything to do with the sea, Portsmouth for its coastal location and naval heritage, Guildford for its high standard and sophistication, Brighton for being an ‘unashamed London by the sea’, and Canterbury for its charm and historic character. The countryside is also varied and attractive. If it is too far for you to come and see what the South-East is like, try and find people who have been there and can tell you first-hand.