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Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Part of UK in Austria

21st February 2019 Vienna, Austria

Is British education the BeSt? You judge!

Great news: Austria’s largest education fair is coming to Vienna from 7-10 March 2019.  BeSt Vienna (the acronym stands for Beruf, Studium, Weiterbildung) will offer a terrific opportunity to find out more about studying in the UK.

The excellent British Council will have a stand at the fair, at A18, offering advice about studying in the UK.  I strongly advise you to visit.

And at 12.00 on Saturday 9 March there will be a talk in Vortragssaal 3 with top tips about how to choose the right university, how to write your personal statement, and how to apply. Universities UK International will discuss the effects of Brexit and life in the UK as an international student.  These talks are extremely popular – if you can’t be there, you can follow it on live streaming at: https://bestinfo.at/de/samstag-abstracts/studieren-in-grossbritannien.html.

The UK is a famously modest place and we don’t like to brag about the excellence of our universities (if you really want to know, click here).  So instead I thought I’d list a few fun facts about universities in the UK.

  1. Durham is the UK’s most haunted university (the link has the Top 10, including Exeter, York and Royal Holloway).
  2. At Oxford all new students must swear an oath promising to protect and preserve the contents of the Bodleian Library.  The oath reads: “I hereby undertake not to remove from the library, or to mark, deface, or injure in any way, any volume, document, or other object belonging to it or in its custody; not to bring into the library or kindle therein any fire or flame, and not to smoke in the library; and I promise to obey all rules of the library.”
  3. University College London (UCL) was the first to admit female students on the same campus as men in 1878.
  4. Edinburgh University boasts the UK’s Oldest Student Newspaper. ‘The Student’ was established in 1887.  The paper was established by Robert Louis Stephenson, author of Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
  5. Four in ten academics in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) are from overseas.
  6. Over two million students are in higher education (undergraduate or above) in the UK.
  7. The UK attracts more international students than any other country, except for the US.  As of 2017, international students in the UK make up 14% of undergraduates and 38% of postgraduates.
  8. The most popular subjects to study in the UK are medicine and business studies.
  9. As of 2016, 56.5% of students attending UK universities were female.
  10. The poet Lord Byron, while studying in University of Cambridge kept a bear as his pet as a protest against a ban on pet dogs (there wasn’t any prohibition on bears).  Byron’s lover Lady Caroline Lamb summed him up in the famous phrase “mad, bad, and dangerous to know”.  His child Ada Lovelace, is sometimes considered the first computer programmer.

About Leigh Turner

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of…

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of the UN and other organisations; stories here will reflect that.

About me: I arrived in Vienna in August 2016 for my second posting in this wonderful city, having first served here in the mid-1980s. My previous job was as HM Consul-General and Director-General for Trade and Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and South Caucasus based in Istanbul.

Further back: I grew up in Nigeria, Exeter, Lesotho, Swaziland and Manchester before attending Cambridge University 1976-79. I worked in several government departments before joining the Foreign Office in 1983.

Keen to go to Africa and South America, I’ve had postings in Vienna (twice), Moscow, Bonn, Berlin, Kyiv and Istanbul, plus jobs in London ranging from the EU Budget to the British Overseas Territories.

2002-6 I was lucky enough to spend four years in Berlin running the house, looking after the children (born 1992 and 1994) and doing some writing and journalism.

To return to Vienna as ambassador is a privilege and a pleasure. I hope this blog reflects that.