When deciding whether to go to graduate school, many students are intimidated by the cost. When you already have student loan debt from your undergraduate education, the idea of financing two more years of education seems a little daunting. But if you choose to pursue your master’s degree overseas, you may end up paying a lot less for your education.
In London, grad school takes less time and costs less than a graduate degree in the United States. That’s because you can complete a grad school program in London in a year, rather than two years. It’s an attractive option for some students, even though the cost of living in London is high. Reputation London has more than its share of world-famous universities. The London School of Economics and Political Science, Oxford and Cambridge are among the top 10 schools in the world for social science, along with American universities Harvard and Stanford.
Having “Oxford” or “Cambridge” on your resume can give you an advantage when you enter the job market. Culture Aside from the prestige of attending grad school in London, you’ll also enjoy being immersed in the city’s culture. London is home to people from a wide variety of backgrounds – people that you might otherwise never meet, if you were to attend grad school in the states.
Aside from a prestigious degree, your study abroad experience shows potential employers that you’re willing to take risks – to step outside your comfort zone – in order to gain a broader understanding of the world. Getting ready to go If you’ve made the decision to attend grad school in London, you have to deal with more than signing up for classes and making tuition payments. Your first priority is getting a passport – or, if you already have one, making sure it will be valid the entire time you’re overseas. You’ll also need a Tier-4 student visa for long-term study in the United Kingdom.
It’s also important to plan for health needs, especially if you take medication regularly. Talk to your doctor and ask whether the medication you take is available in the U.K. You may be able to take prescriptions with you, but you should also have documentation from your family physician describing what medications you take, and why.
Even if you’re in good health and don’t take any medication, you should prepare for worst-case scenarios – if you become seriously ill or injured while abroad, you could end up with major medical bills. Get a health insurance policy before leaving the U.S., just in case you need medical care in London.
Networking If there’s a downside to attending grad school overseas, it’s that the social connections you make there may not help you when it comes time to find a job in the U.S. On the flip-side, if you would like to live abroad after grad school, you have the advantage of meeting potential sponsors for your residency.
Distance Going to grad school abroad seems like an exciting opportunity to many young people, until they get where they are going and find themselves longing for familiar people and things. Students should prepare themselves for potential homesickness, and plan ways to keep in touch. Video chat, for example, is a great way to stay in touch with family and friends back home.
Attending grad school overseas takes some thoughtful planning – and the courage to be on your own in a different country. If you can get past the homesickness and culture shock, it can be one of the most rewarding, memorable experiences of your lifetime.