The Most Notable And Famous People To Have Studied In The UK

Written by Bistriti Poddar

Content enthusiast, 4 time TEDx speaker and a celebrated influencer who formerly worked with biggies like Havas Media and TATA AIA. A mentor by day and an influencer by night, Bistriti loves to inspire millennials and try new things. She is currently trying her hand at podcasting.

July 15, 2020

The United Kingdom has impacted history in several ways. The sovereign state incorporating England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland has made engaging contributions to art, literature, sports, global politics, and technology over the years.

To obtain a degree abroad has become exceedingly popular, and the UK is one of the most preferred places. It is a very well-known nation in the world with countless possibilities for higher education. Earning a master’s degree is a chance for professional development that helps you to build a job edge when traveling the globe. 

The United Kingdom has housed students from all across the world and it is one of the preferred choices for studying abroad. Its universities tell the tale of its history and its history speaks of all the personalities that walked their halls. Founded in 1096 and holding the title of second oldest university in the world, the Oxford University itself boasts of having taught personalities who have changed the world, quite literally.

So, let’s have a look at some of the famous people who studied abroad in the UK. 

List of UK Famous People

Indira Gandhi | Notable And Famous People

Oxford University

Indira Gandhi moved from India to the United Kingdom to attend to her ill mother. When she was staying there, she wanted to continue her tertiary education at Oxford University. She took the entrance exam twice, as she didn’t make it in her first attempt because of her lack of Latin knowledge. She was an involved student and engaged in a variety of university events, including the Oxford Majlis Asian Society. She holds the title of India’s first female prime minister, and the third in the country.

Albert Einstein

Christ Church College, Oxford

You cannot talk about famous people from Oxford without talking about one the founders of modern physics. 

Before immigrating to the USA, Albert Einstein, the Nobel winning physicist, studied at Christ Church College briefly.

Einstein’s inventions and discoveries are lost on no one. Having revolutionised physics, Einstein has quite literally left his mark on the world and science as we know it!

So, if you get to admire the age-old halls of the Oxford university, you may just be stepping in Einstein’s footsteps. 

Mahatma Gandhi

Inner Temple, London

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow; learn as if you were to live forever,” Gandhi.

And Gandhi has indeed lived forever!

The father of the Indian Nation and the global icon for non-violent movements across the world, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi studied law and became a barrister at the Inner Temple, London in 1988. 

He even passed his matriculation exam at the University of London in 1890. 

Gandhi’s movements have struck a chord with generations and have given faith to many across the world. His 24-day Salt March in India inspired Martin Luther King Jr. and his civil rights movement. You can definitely consider him to be one of the most famous people who studied in the United Kingdom.

Oscar Wilde | Notable And Famous UK People

Magdalen College, Oxford

“The two great turning-points in my life were when my father sent me to Oxford, and when society sent me to prison,” Oscar Wilde.

The topic of Literature cannot be complete without the mention of Oscar Wilde. The Irish poet’s journey began right here at the banks of the Cherwell. Having written masterpieces like The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde is revered by young aspiring writers. His name is definitely an enormous addition to the list of famous people from Oxford. 

Lee Kuan Yew

University of Cambridge

The reason behind Singapore becoming a first-world country from a third-world country in a single generation is Lee Kuan Yew. Having made Singapore one of the most economically successful countries in the world, Lee Kuan Yew studied Law at the University of Cambridge and graduated First Class with a perfect score. He is regarded as one of the most famous personalities who studied at Cambridge University.

Singapore will talk about the contributions of their former prime minister for centuries to come and not without reason!

Malala Yousafzai

Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford

You cannot talk about the most famous people from the United Kingdom without mentioning Malala Yousafzai. At 17, Malala became the youngest person to receive a Nobel Peace Prize. From a young age, Malala became an advocate of young girls’ education in a deeply conservative valley in Pakistan. This resulted in an assasination by the Taliban which she survived. 

She is now an international icon of peace, bravery and education and is the author of her autobiography and international bestseller, ‘I Am Malala’.

She studied Philosophy, Economics and Politics at Oxford.

Desmond Tutu | Notable And Famous People

King’s College, London

In 1984, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his “role as a unifying leader in the campaign to solve the apartheid problem in South Africa.” From then on, he began his role as a voice for the voiceless in the battle against HIV/AIDS, hunger, bigotry, misogyny, etc.

Before this remarkable list of achievements, Most Reverend Desmond Tutu was a graduate and postgraduate student at King’s College, London. At King’s period, Tutu said, “Research has opened up a whole new universe to me. I was delighted by the accessibility of books, the right to challenge and argue, and the opportunity to listen to the insights of minds whose knowledge and understanding made me ready to explore more.”

Harper Lee

Oxford University 

To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee studied law at the University of Alabama then left to follow her literary aspirations. In the summer of 1948, though, she returned to college to study abroad at Oxford University in England. Lee’s book was not written until she was thirty-four years old, though her academic education certainly played a part in improving her innate writing abilities. She’s one of the most famous people who studied abroad. 

Benazir Bhutto

Oxford University

Benazir Bhutto was Pakistan’s first female prime minister. She earned her first degree in Arts from Harvard University and a second degree in Literae Humaniores from Lady Margaret Hall at Oxford University. She remained another year at Oxford for her postgraduate studies at St. Catherine’s College. She was also the first Asian woman to be voted President of the Oxford Union debating society.

Dame Zaha Hadid | Notable And Famous People

Architectural Association School of Architecture

First woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize. Twice recipient of the coveted Stirling Award of the United Kingdom. The first lady to receive the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects. Dame Zaha Hadid is the winner of this huge collection of prizes.

She was born in Baghdad, Iraq, but was compelled to leave during the emergence of Saddam Hussein. Yet her elegance persisted and influenced her imaginative buildings stretching from Britain to Abu Dhabi. The beauty of the landscape – where sand, water, reeds, birds, buildings and people have all somehow flowed together never left her. 

If the walls of these great universities could talk, can you imagine the tales they would have to share? Of a time when Margaret Thatcher was a mere youngling and Einstein only dreamt of revolutionizing physics, when J.R.R Tolkien had not even drafted the famous Lord of the Rings series and Stephen Hawking was yet to discover that black holes emit radiation which can be detected!

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