As the UK’s international cultural relations organisation, the
British Council supports students as they journey towards
and through their UK education. It assists them as they
decide which university to pursue a world-class UK education
and gain an internationally respected qualification.
TThink of the United Kingdom and images
of Shakespeare, football, vast green
fields and rich, historical buildings
conjure up in our heads. As a place replete
with offerings of multi-cultural festivals, plays
and unique industries, the UK affords those
who live there new and diverse perspectives.
These perspectives acquired allow them to gain
meaningful insights into the rest of Europe and
This is why the UK remains a popular study
destination among students. Guaranteed
to give one unparalleled experiences, a UK
education exposes students to rich intellectual
and cultural views from Western philosophers
and the community, and comprises events that
will always remain etched on one’s memory.
We talk to two students, Bryan Kuah and Nur
Hisyam, who are currently reaping the benefits
of a rich UK education. They give us first-hand
accounts of their unique UK experiences and
share with us about their undergraduate lives in
the University of Manchester and University of
What motivated you to pursue your studies in the UK?
Bryan Kuah: During my time in Hwa
Chong Institution, I participated in exchange
programmes and was sent to both the Academy
of Science in Virginia, US and Beijing, China. I
thoroughly enjoyed interacting with students
from different countries, learning about their
culture and experiencing a way of life different
from one in Singapore.
Bachelor of Laws,
University of Manchester, UK
"It is also important to keep an open mind and make full use of the various
opportunities that an overseas education will undoubtedly provide."
Given that I chose to study Law, I wanted to
do so in the UK because a law degree from a
UK university really sets you on a career path
of countless opportunities. I also marvelled at
the prospect of being able to travel to countries
in Europe during weekends or my holidays
because I enjoy visiting countries that are rich
in tradition and history.
Nur Hisyam: My strongest motivation for
studying in the UK was the different academic
atmosphere particularly with regards to
Philosophy. I always felt that I wanted to do my
undergraduate studies in a country that shaped
the academic setting for my specific field of
I was thus set on studying in the UK due to
its role in the philosophical development of
contemporary philosophy and its proximity
to the various European institutions that were
once home to prominent Western philosophers.
The UK is also well-known for understanding
the value of philosophical discourse, thereby
allowing me to apply aspects of philosophy in
an environment that respects it and ensuring
my UK education is fruitful.
Share with us a highlight of your time in your respective universities.
Bryan: The main highlight was being elected
as the President of the Singapore Student’s
Society of Manchester. This role allowed me to
work alongside several talented and motivated
individuals in my committee, and together we
organised dinners and social gatherings to
create a home away from home for Singaporean
students in Manchester.
I am also a first-team member of the
University of Manchester’s water polo team.
We constantly travel out of Manchester to other
parts of the UK for our water polo games – for
instance, we took a 10-hour road trip to Cardiff
for a day tournament which was certainly
a refreshing experience. I really felt like a
Hisyam: I have had so many rich experiences
in university – it’s really difficult to pick just
one highlight! From performing magic tricks as
part of the Magic Society and going skydiving
as part of the Skydiving Society, to doing my
first backflip in Gymnastics, I have been given
invaluable experiences that contribute to a
holistic university life. One experience that
stands out is my work as a student caller with
the university alumni office. This allowed me to
interact with many alumni members who have
entered diverse jobs, and, as a result, I learnt
much about post-university life not just in the
UK but in Europe as well.
What makes an education in the UK so unique?
Bryan: Studying in the UK has allowed me
to open my eyes to new cultures and various
ways of living. The very fact that students in
the UK can travel easily to different countries
at a relatively low cost means that we are able
to experience first-hand the different traditions
and unique culture that each city possesses.
Students who pursue a UK education will
also have the privilege of developing a global
perspective. This is crucial especially in
Singapore, a country that is generally regarded
as a metropolitan city and where professionals
from all over the world work in. I also find that I
have much more free time to pursue areas in my
studies that really appeal to me, as compared to
my time in Singapore.
Nur Hisyam bin Abdul Nasser
Bachelor of Arts Philosophy,
University of York, UK
Hisyam: What makes my UK education
unique is the surprising lack of emphasis on
actual grades. Ever since I started my studies
here, I have never once been pressured by
my tutors about my grades and have been
repeatedly told to take up modules based
on interest rather than the level of difficulty.
This might not necessarily be unique, but it is
definitely different from what I was normally
used to before coming to the UK. It is refreshing
to have a change of pace studying here.
The other thing I did not expect from
my university was how involved the
respective course supervisors were with the
undergraduates. They would never hesitate to
check in on my well-being and often invited me
for tea just to have a chat or discussion about
my course materials. This active involvement
with students shows how committed they are
in ensuring that students remain their priority.
What advice do you have for students who wish to further their studies in the UK?
Bryan: It is imperative to attend information
sessions provided by your respective schools
or by the British Council. The representatives
at these information sessions will give you
valuable information and pointers derived
from their years of experience in dealing with
students in the UK. It is also important to keep
an open mind and make full use of the various
opportunities that an overseas education will
Hisyam: It is important to do your research,
ask around for opinions and carefully decide if
you are willing to study in another country. If
you do decide to come to the UK, my advice is
to enjoy yourself! Even though you are coming
here for an education, be sure to soak up all the
fun and excitement that the UK has to offer. I
know that I have had absolutely no regrets