So you’ve made the decision to study English in England – congratulations! That’s a wise choice and an experience you’ll never forget. But where do you go? Which city do you choose as the best location to speak English, study English and practice English? London with its regal history? Brighton with its beaches? Oxford with its spires? Or what about studying English in Cambridge? What does Cambridge have to offer an international student?
Here are the top 10 reasons why Cambridge is the perfect location for you to study English if you haven’t yet made up your mind.
1. The diverse mix of students
Cambridge is a young peoples’ city. As well as international English language students, we have approximately 20,000 University students studying every year across all of the colleges, in over 65 different subjects. Around 12% are international students, so you’ll be sharing the city with other students from all over the globe, of different ages and backgrounds. During the summer months when university students take a break (or come to work at Studio!), the number of international students here to learn English increases, so walking around the city you’ll hear plenty more languages than just English, and will make friends from many different places.
2. The History and The University
Cambridge University is the fourth-oldest surviving university in the world, with over 800 years of excellence, and 31 different colleges. It is consistently ranked in the top 3 universities of the world and has an endless list of famous students, including over 100 Nobel Prize winners and 15 British Prime Ministers. Even before the university Cambridge has a rich history that dates back to the Bronze Age. The Romans, Saxons, Vikings and Normans settled here, and it became an important trading centre, with the river Cam being used to trade goods up and down the country.
3. King’s College Chapel
One of the most famous of all of the colleges in Cambridge is King’s, and its chapel which dominates the city centre. It was built over a period of nearly 100 years, and visitors can walk around and take in the amazing stained glass windows and paintings. You can even listen to the renowned chapel choir who perform their special service of Evensong, as well as the service of ‘Nine Lessons and Christmas Carols’ that has been performed every Christmas Eve since 1918.
‘Punts’ are the names given to pleasure boats with a flat-bottom that are made entirely of wood. They were originally designed as cargo boats, however they are now purely used for the pleasure of tourists and locals alike. By far the most popular pastime, especially in the summer, you can either punt yourself (by using a pole to push yourself and your passengers along the river) or be punted by a professional guide, who will tell stories and interesting facts as you pass under centuries-old bridges, past colleges, and other buildings only visible from the river.
5. The old city centre
Cambridge city centre is unlike any other you would find in the country, due to most of the buildings (including shops and restaurants) being owned by the university. This means the appearance has changed very little in the past 800 years since it was founded. Sure, there are modern shopping centres with lots of High Street stores and independent retailers, however the small streets that you pass through and walk on, are the exact same stones and cobbles that famous scholars such as Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Lord Byron would have stepped on; you’re literally walking in the footsteps of giants!
6. Food and Drink
Many people believe that English people only eat junk food and ‘chips with everything’. The reality however is that due to the multicultural society, especially in Cambridge, the people have become accustomed to eating and enjoying dishes from all over the world, so every style of cuisine is present, whether you choose fine dining or a quick bite to eat on-the-go. Fancy a Lebanese barbecue cooked over hot coals? A fusion of Japanese and Danish sushi? Or simply a traditional Italian gelato? It’s all here. If you do fancy seeing what the ‘Best of British’ has to offer, there are plenty of cosy pubs where you can sit by an open fire and have a crusty meat pie or battered fish with er…chips!
7. Studio Cambridge
Cambridge is one of the UK’s most popular cities for language students, and the city has a large number of language schools to choose from. So why choose Studio Cambridge? Well, as well as being the oldest in Cambridge (65 years old in 2019) Studio has a wealth of experience in teaching individuals and groups of students from beginner to proficiency level. You also get a free social programme included to make sure that your stay is as action-packed and enjoyable as possible. Everybody here – directors, teachers, welfare or accommodation staff – want you to do well and come away with a positive experience, so we go that extra distance to ensure that you succeed and make some of the best memories that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
8. Location and Transport
Cambridge is situated in the South-East of England. It is approximately 50km North of London, which is less than an hour away by train. The climate is generally dry and mild, however it can also have very hot summers and very cold winters! Cambridge can be reached by public transport or taxi from all the London airports in less than 3 hours, and you can be at the seaside on the South coast or at a castle in the North of England in around the same time. Once in Cambridge itself you can walk the whole of the city centre very easily, however if you did wish to explore a bit further, then you could always hire a bicycle to get around. Cambridge is one of Europe’s most cycle-friendly cities, and in fact over 50% of the people living here use a bike at least once a week. It’s the perfect way to have that extra bit of independence!
9. Sport and Leisure
When you associate Cambridge with sport you may possibly think about the famous annual ‘Boat Race’ between students of Cambridge and Oxford, which has been held on the River Thames in London since 1829. But did you also know that the city is the birthplace of the laws of football, which were the foundations of the association rules that we play by today? Sport is an important part of everyday life in Cambridge, and the many parks and recreational areas see people from all over the world playing together for fun; it’s a great way to meet new people. As well as the important sporting history, Cambridge also has 3 swimming pools including a 1920s lido pool that is 91 metres long, a bowling alley and many different gyms which offer short term student membership.
10. The Museums and Culture
If sport isn’t necessarily your thing then there are still a lot of interesting places to visit during your free time, including 18 different museums; many of which are free to enter. The most famous of these museums is the Fitzwilliam, which was founded in 1816 and houses the university’s collection of arts and antiquities, including a large number of artefacts from ancient Egypt, and paintings from some of the world’s most famous impressionists. As well as visiting a few museums, in an afternoon you could also go up the 123 steps of the tower of Great St Mary’s church which offers the best views of Cambridge, or even take a stroll through the Grantchester Meadows to take tea in ‘The Orchard’, arguably the world’s most famous teagarden.