When thinking about studying in the UK, it’s easy to settle on the bright lights of London.
But while London is undoubtedly one of the world’s great cities, it also comes with a hefty price tag.
Despite being small, the UK is hugely diverse. The north is very different to the south - and we’re not just talking about accents.
The accommodation price difference across the UK can be enormous. Generally speaking, the further away from London you are the cheaper things become.
The good news is that because the UK is small and easy to travel, you don’t need to live in London, or one of the major cities, to enjoy all that they offer.
Additionally, many of the UK’s smaller cities are great student hubs with plenty of culture and graduate opportunities.
Life hasn’t always been easy for Hull. Like many industrial and shipbuilding cities in the north of England, the city was hit hard by the economic downturn that began in the 1980s.
However, in recent years, it has come back roaring - in 2017, Hull became the UK’s Capital of Culture.
This is a proud city that has been steadily improving over the years, and now boasts not only the excellent University of Hull, but is also one of the cheapest cities in the UK for international students in 2021.
Scotland’s fourth-largest city lies on the banks of the River Tay. It is close to both Edinburgh and Glasgow, while also being home to the University of Dundee.
Dundee is a great starting point for adventures into the Scottish Highlands further north. It has also experienced its fair share of hardships with the decline of traditional industries in the area.
But like Hull, Dundee has refused to lie down and die.
A £1 billion waterfront regeneration plan is still ongoing, while the V&A Dundee is the first Victoria and Albert Museum to open outside of London.
Things are certainly looking up for Dundee, and you can still find accommodation that would leave Londoners spluttering in disbelief.
Another ex-shipbuilding city in the north of England, Sunderland is home to the University of Sunderland and was voted the best UK city to live and work in 2018.
Sunderland is known for its honest, friendly residents who care passionately about their city.
And did I mention football? Sunderland Football Club isn't just a sporting team, it’s a way of life for many and a religion for some. This is another city in the middle of a huge regeneration plan, with £1.5 billion earmarked to improve the city over the coming years.
It’s an exciting place to be these days and even more so when you see how cheap student accommodation is.
Enough of the north, less travel south a little.
What was once a historic market town grew into a powerful industrial city during the 19th century thanks in part to its proximity to Birmingham (the two city centres are less than 20 miles apart).
Coal mining, steel production and car manufacturing have largely been replaced with a large aerospace industry and service sector, while the University of Wolverhampton continues to make a real name for itself.
Wolverhampton is one of the cheapest cities in the UK for international students not located in the traditional ‘north’. Its distance from Birmingham makes it easy to explore further north or south, while the Welsh border is only 45 miles away.
If you look on a map, you’ll notice that Bradford is surrounded by some big hitters.
Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield all lie close by, and all of them have much higher accommodation costs that you’ll find in Bradford.
Bradford is also a student city, being home to the University of Bradford.
A city that was once internationally known for its textile manufacturing fell on hard times as the area changed radically during the 20th Century.
But Bradford is a true fighter, and has seen a real renaissance in which art and culture have been blossoming.
Then there’s the location. Not only are you surrounded by some of the most fascinating cities in northern England, but you also have the wonderful Yorkshire Dales National Park on your doorstep, as well as the world-famous Peak District to the south.
So there you have it - five cheap cities with UK universities for international students. The UK is much more than just its famous old capital.
These options prove that you can study in the UK affordably, with accommodation costs low enough that you won’t still be paying them off when you’re 40 years old.
If you’re in need of some ideas for how to stretch your finances a little further, why not check out our blog, ‘How to live on a student budget this winter’ for some great tips.
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