Bath, with its beautiful Georgian architecture, laid-back vibe and great transport links to London and other parts of the United Kingdom, is a popular choice amongst those seeking to study abroad.
Bath has been a highly desirable place to live for centuries, partly due to the supposed 'healing qualities' of its spa waters. It was originally settled by the Romans who named the city 'Aquae Sulis' around 50AD.
By the 19th century Bath was the place to 'see and be seen' for members of fashionable society, including the renowned novelist Jane Austen who lived in the city for several years.
It's not hard to see why Bath is so popular. A relatively compact city surrounded by verdant green hills, it was bequeathed its stunning honey-stone buildings by some of the finest architects of the 18th century. The iconic Queen Square, The Circus and the Royal Crescent are all examples of their work.
Today Bath has a large, well-established student population that has helped it forge a reputation as a creative and dynamic city with a popular annual contemporary Arts Festival, talented street performers and a vibrant nightlife.
Some schools worth checking out
The University of Bath is one of South West England's leading research universities. Its main campus is at Claverton Down, located 2 km from the city center.
The university's traditional academic strengths are in engineering (particularly electronic and electrical and mechanical), the physical sciences, mathematics and technology. Today, it is also strong in humanities, architecture and the social sciences. Courses emphasize vocational education recommending that students take an industry placement in the penultimate year of their course.
Bath Spa University describes itself as 'a leading university for creativity, culture and enterprise'.Its 2 campuses are located just outside the city center. 'Newton Park', about 6 and a half km away, has good bus links. 'Sion Hill' is within walking distance of the center, albeit up a rather steep hill!
This university offers under and post-graduate course in business, the arts and science.
THE places for student housing in Bath
The chicest parts of the city lie around its main spine of Milsom Street. Nearby Bathampton and Larkhall are also popular places to live if you can afford them.
Studying at one of the universities, you may want to balance the benefits of living centrally with the costs of travelling to your classes each day. Many students tend to live near their campus for at least part of their time in Bath. Both universities offer on-site accommodation from £88 a week.
The Claverton Down/Combe Down area is well situated for University of Bath students. Both of these areas are surrounded by lovely countryside and have lots of shops and other amenities. However, you will need to take a bus to the city center.
Oldfield Park is very popular with students. It's well served by buses to both universities and is only is a ten-minute walk to the center of town. It has some great cafes and pubs. Near Oldfield Park, the properties in Southdown are cheaper but involve a longer walk into town.
Best suited to Bath Spa students, Newbridge/Lower Weston has its own high street with a range of takeaways and coffee shops.
The best time to start looking for a place to live is from February onwards. Both universities use a database called StudentPad to advertise private lettings for students. Or, you may decide to try to find accommodation through an independent agency or by scouring ads in a local paper. Bath Evening Chronicle and the Gumtree website are good resources, as is the 'Living in Bath' page on townandgown, the Student Community Partnership website.
The cost of education in Bath
Tuition fees at Bath Spa start at £11,300 per annum for International students. At The University of Bath expect to pay from £14,300 or from £9,000 if you are resident within the European Union. There are a limited number of scholarships of £5,000 per annum on offer for both International and EU students.
Budget around £7,380-£8,000 per academic year for other living costs.
Further information is available on the universities' websites. They also have useful 'cost of living' calculators to help you assess what your annual expenses may be.
You're here now, so what's next?
All universities in the UK have a wide range of student societies and groups. They're a great way to meet people and make new friends.
Both universities in Bath have International Student Advice Services offering help with immigration matters, starting university, studying and all aspects of life in the UK. The Students' Union, a nationwide organization representing students and lobbying for their interests, also has an International Students' Association subsection which is free to join.