Pros and Cons of Studying in London VS smaller cities

When it comes to studying in England, international students must choose whether to live and study in the capital city of London, or opt for smaller cities such as Lancanshire, Oxfordshire, Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield, etc. Here is a guide to all pros and cons of living in London as opposed to smaller places:

Academic status

When it comes to being home to prestigious universities, nothing beats London. The city is home to more than 45 colleges and universities, out of which lots feature in high ranking lists globally. University College of London, London School of Economics, Imperial College, King’s University, Queen Mary, are members of the Russell group. Completing degrees from any of these universities is sure to boost a student’s resume. 

While universities in London are extremely prestigious, the flip side means that the criteria for
selection is also very strict. This means that a lot of applicants will end up being rejected for some reason and will not be able to secure a seat. Similarly, such large universities are not able to conduct admission interviews and more focus is laid on essays, grades and SoPs. Universities in smaller cities, while smaller in scale and prestige, have a relaxed admission process that is personal and also easier to get into.

Student life

According to a number of surveys done by organisations like QS, London is one of the best student cities worldwide. London has exquisite galleries, theatres and other cultural hotspots, while at the same time having a thriving and vibrant nightlife. Furthermore, it is a diverse melting pot with lots of international students living there. A student can fully experience the thrill of the city and also form a community with other students with similar interests. There is something here for every type of student, which makes London one of the best places to be as a student. 

London is a huge city with a large population. It can be
challenging for a new student to settle into such an unfamiliar environment, especially if they do not like being in the centre of a bustling metropolis. Smaller cities, on the other hand, are easier to settle into and adjust to. They are less alienating and it is relatively simple to find help and community from neighbours and such in small towns than in a city like London. For those who like peace and quiet, smaller cities are therefore the way to go.

Cost of living

The high cost of living is probably the most potent argument against London. As compared to other cities, rents in London can be significantly high, even up to twice or thrice the amounts seen in other places. Furthermore, since it is the capital, every other good and service is also costly. Everything from food to clothes to gym memberships is more expensive here. All of this can add up to quite a financial burden, and it is almost impossible to afford living in London without a part-time job. 

On the other hand, smaller cities are much more affordable options. Since there is no dearth of space,
homes in such cities are bigger, while also being cheaper. Other goods and services are also reasonably priced and students can enjoy themselves without overshooting their budget. For those that wish to complete their education at minimum cost or those that are unable to work part-time, living in a smaller city makes more fiscal sense.


London is a geographically huge city and therefore it is not easy to figure out transport here. While there is an extensive network of metro trains and buses as well as taxis, all of these modes of transport add to the cost of living in the city. There is a lot of commuting involved getting from one place to the other, which can not only eat up savings, but also in time. Plus, the metro and bus system can seem complicated to a new person and may take some time to figure out.

Smaller cities have the advantage of not having so much commuting as a necessity. Most places are not that far from each other, and traffic is also not as much of a problem. Furthermore,
students can walk, bike or drive to their destinations easily or even opt for public transport, which is quite affordable. This will help save both time and money spent on transportation.


London is widely recognised as one of the most diverse, multicultural cities in the world. It is truly a melting pot of cultures as people from various social, economical, cultural and ethnic backgrounds reside here together. There is a constant influx of international students, professionals, immigrants and tourists, making it a vibrant city of mixed influences, perfect for students. Furthermore, London has a thriving art scene with lots of attention given to creating and performing art, drama, literature, music, and lots more – something that students will truly enjoy. 

Smaller cities, on the other hand, may not be as diverse as London and might seem homogenous to some.
While diversity is present in almost every city of England, it’s perhaps seen less in such places. Furthermore, there might not be as much focus on cultural activities in such cities and thus students would have to specifically look and find things that interest them. 

Career opportunities

London, the capital city and one of the largest cities in England, is an economic hub. During the course of their study, students can network with professionals from all sectors and find opportunities that suit their needs and interests. There are lots of large corporations and agencies with their main offices in London, which makes it lucrative for students who wish to do internships and secure jobs there. 

Since London is such an economic hub, it is also naturally a very competitive environment and getting a job can be stressful there. Smaller cities on the other hand, also have plenty of job opportunities available and the
job markets there might be more relaxed as compared to London. However, someone wanting top positions and a high-flying career might have to move to London eventually to avail better opportunities. 


Choosing where to live while studying in England is a tough but important choice. On the one hand, London is the capital city and is said to be one of the best student cities in the world. It is a melting pot of culture, has a vibrant nightlife and lots of cultural activities that would appeal to students. It also is home to numerous prestigious colleges and universities, which only add to the appeal. Apart from all this, London is an economic hub and therefore has huge potential for employment as well as networking. On the flip side, London is extremely expensive, with costs of living being through the roof. Furthermore, it is not easy to settle into the hustle and bustle of such a large city and figuring out accommodation, transport, etc. can be tricky. Smaller cities are more affordable, more accessible, easier to adjust to and more peaceful. In the end, the choice of where to live depends on the personality, needs and priorities of the student and therefore there can never be one right answer that can apply to all. 

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