View Full Version : Should I move to the UK? Can I?
Traveling Riverside Bluesman
06-10-2007, 08:38 PM
Hey, my first thread as a member. Hurray! Anyway, back story: I went to England last year over spring break for a little over a week.
And I loved it. (Oh no, here comes the part that makes me feel like a doofus to even type :smack: ): I felt really at home there. We went to London, and some other cities that escape me at the moment, and even spent a day up in Scotland. I really liked the whole experience.
I had travelled to Spain two years prior, and while I really loved it, it wasn't even on the same page. So I am thinking, having completed my first of two years at community college before I transfer to a bigger college, that maybe I should go to the UK after college, or even go in a year to finish my education over there. I have nothing to stay behind for, no payments or loans to repay, etc. I really don't like it here a whole lot, and I really liked the attitude and culture of what I saw of England.
Problem is, I don't know how one even goes about doing this, or if it is even feasible. Especially transferring to a college on another continent. :o
So, Dopers, (especially any dopers who might have been through something similar), I humbly ask you to tell me your thoughts on this, even if those thoughts are "This guy is a total maroon!"
Since I couldn't move until at least a year from now anyway, I figured I'd gather some info now, get some opinions of strangers I've never met, and see where to go from there. I didn't get to go to Ireland, but assuming living there or Scotland is even tangentially related to living in England, I would give living either place a go. (I know it's not as simple as the difference between living in Ohio versus Michigan, but I assume it's not like the difference between, say, the U.S. and Spain. But feel free to tell me if I am way off base on that)
And since it probably makes a bit of difference as to the feasibility of it all, I would want to live there for a few years, and then see about settling in for good, (just in case I was tricked by my short stay, and it's really an evil place ;) ).
And mods, I'm not sure where this goes, I'm asking for opinions, but it might have more of a GQ content. :confused: Please be gentle.
I think I used too many smilies.
06-10-2007, 08:44 PM
My SIL recently moved to England for a year to get her Masters degree in environmental biology. Their masters programs are often shorter and cheaper than ours. You could try that. I can't speak to this situation specifically but most major countries want you to have some type of in-demand skill before you move over for a significant amount of time. This may not be as hard as it sounds as long as you get creative and find some type of niche for yourself.
You could also just save up your money and get tourist visas to travel there for weeks or month at a time.
06-10-2007, 09:05 PM
I'd finish your education first. But then go for it! As long as you don't give up your current citizenship, you can always retreat if it doesn't work out.
The Home Office "Coming to the UK" (http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/) page is probably worth looking at.
06-10-2007, 10:01 PM
I, too, did a masters degree in Britain. Great experience. As an American, the process of getting a student visa was to book a plane ticket to London, bring every shred of documentation you can think will be necessary, and convince the guy stamping passports that yes, you really were accepted to study at such-and-such university, and yes, here is proof that I can support myself through my studies.
A few months after my student visa expired, I flew back to receive my degree. I very nearly was not let back into the country because it looked like I was returning to settle in. Moral of the story: Heathrow passport inspectors are very powerful and are not to be messed with.
Should you really be interested in spending a year in Britain, my suggestion would be to transfer to a 4 year college. Once there, there will be multitudes of junior year abroad programs, either for one semester or one year. Sign up, pay the HUGE bill, and voila. I warn you: London is a very, very expensive place to live.
06-10-2007, 10:18 PM
Welcome, Traveling Riverside Bluesman!
If you have a grandparent who was born in the UK, you can get a UK Ancestry visa, which lets you live and work there for five years. Be prepared to document your grandparent's birth and marriage, your connecting parent's birth and marriage, and your birth.
If you have a parent who was born in the UK, you can claim UK citizenship and live there indefinitely. With UK citizenship, you can also live and work elsewhere in the European Union, I think.
06-11-2007, 12:36 AM
I'd finish your education first.Now there's a neat trick!
06-11-2007, 12:57 AM
I agree with Ravenman - look for study abroad opportunities at your undergrad school. Some student exchanges work on a bilateral basis; that is, you pay the tuition charged by your home school, which also lets you apply any scholarships you may have, while the person at the UK university you're studying at pays their tutition there. This option makes study abroad much more affordable. Also, you can stay in the UK for six months or less without a visa.
I lived in Wales for six months last year as part of a study abroad program, and it was possibly the best decision of my life. Make sure you live in student housing though - I stayed in a seven-room flat with four English girls, a Welsh girl and a Ukrainian-American, and it definitely made me feel more of the culture than if I had lived on my own or with Americans. Once there, I would also recommend traveling as much as possible. I was only in class Tuesdays through Thursdays, so I had four-day weekends to travel all around Britain. I also signed up for a program that connected international students with local families, so I spent one of these long weekends with a South Yorkshire family. This way, I got to see how "normal" British life was - not just life as a student or a tourist. I also got a month off for spring break and a month off after final exams to travel about both the UK and the continent. This way, you can see different places that may also appeal to you. For example, I loved the vibe of Manchester when I stayed there and would consider living there in the future. Although I'm recommending lots of travel, I also suggest spending a good deal of time at home. That way, you get the balance of discovering new places with understanding the normal way of life.
06-11-2007, 01:36 AM
This (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?p=8666302) recent GQ thread, wherein I ask about an American joining the British military and finding out I basically have to emigrate first, may be useful to you.
06-11-2007, 05:01 AM
There's nothing stopping you looking to come here to study. I don't know what the plan would be for your education if you stayed where you are, but two years at community college would be (a) not enough to look at a Masters degree, but (b) a very good standard to be looking at a good undergraduate degree at a decent university, which in most cases is a three-year course, and is in a single specialism throughout. If this appeals, then you would need to be thinking of what you would be looking to study, and where you would want to do it, emailing the relelvant admissions tutors to ask how your qualifications fit against their entry criteria. The central applications system is Ucas (www.ucas.com).
However, the single big drawback to all of this is the cost. International fees start at about £10k/year for arts courses, higher for sciences and medicine. There's no financial support available for overseas students, because the principle is that you'll be feeding money into the economy and the institution.
Once people have studied here, they seem to find all manner of ways of getting allowed to stay which wouldn't be available to a would-be immigrant, but I'm not in a position to attempt to explain all the the bureaucratic details of the Home Office!
06-11-2007, 05:20 AM
I'm not sure how useful this will be to you, but since you currently are a student, there are work exchange programs that will allow you to work legally in Great Britain for six months (http://www.bunac.org/usa/workinbritain/) in a 12-month period. I took time off college in 1996 and worked and lived in Britain in this way.
However, if you want to go for a few years, the easiest way would probably be through continuing your education at a master's program or whatnot.
Maybe you should start by looking at colleges you might like to attend. They'll have information for foreign students as part of their admissions information. It's how I went to the US the second time (the first time had been an office job, provided by an agency that deals with au-pairs and summer camp personnel). An advantage of going there for one or two years of college is that you can get a much better immersion than by visiting as a tourist, while providing a sort of "target date" to decide whether you want to stay or not.
Nothing wrong with going someplace and feeling that you belong. I lived in Miami for 4 years; never "belonged". Barcelona, belong. Costa Rica, belong. Philly, don't belong. Houston, belong. Pamplona, belong.
06-11-2007, 07:38 PM
I'd advise either getting into a US-based university which permits study overseas or applying to a British university to study here. Even if you are convinced that living here would be the best thing since sliced bread, the reality might be different and a 'taster' year or two would be no bad thing.
You seem a bit vague about where to stay. You really need to do things the other way around: work out what you want to study and then find a good university (in either country) which excels in that area. And if you are not so well off then consider places further north as living costs are often smaller.
Traveling Riverside Bluesman
06-11-2007, 10:01 PM
Thanks everyone for all the info. Like I said, I'm still just kicking the idea around, but I figured that getting info sooner rather than later might be a good idea.
I am not too well off, so money saving ideas are especially welcome. But it definitely sounds like picking a specific location or college is the way to start. I didn't really fall in love with any particular place over another, in fact, I basically decided that the only place I'd rule out would be London, and only because of the higher cost of living.
So I guess I have to pick somewhere first. Maybe I will have to find a way to get back over there with the specific intention of finding a place that I like/can afford. I guess I will have to take a little vacation, then. Oh darn! :D
Now I just need to find money for a vacation first...
06-12-2007, 05:14 PM
Sunspace - Americans aren't eligible for ancestry visas. Only Commonwealth members can apply.
TR Bluesman - Look at bunac.org - it's a program that allows currently-enrolled university students to work in the UK for six months. That would give you a taste of what it's really like to live in another country.
The UK seems to be steadily tightening up its immigration policy. Basically if you want to move here you have three options:
1. Student (but your visa is limited to your term of study and you have to leave at the end of your studies, plus as mentioned earlier you'd pay international fees, which are really high!)
2. Work permit or HSMP (highly skilled migrant permit). You wouldn't be eligible for the HSMP at this stage of your education/experience, and accordingly a work permit would be highly unlikely as well.
3. Marriage/civil partner/unmarried parter visa
I'm over here because I married a Scot, and I can tell you it's not an easy process. I'm about to apply for my third visa, the one which will finally allow me to stay in the UK indefinitely. Once I get it, I will have spent nearly $3000 in visa fees. And there's still another fee to come if I decide go for naturalization.
As an American, you can visit the UK on the visa waiver program for up to 6 months in a 12-month period. You might want to try a longish visit (remember you won't be legally able to work though!) to make sure that you experience some of the real UK, not just the tourist version. They can be two very different things.
Reading over my post it sounds a bit dour, which wasn't my intention. But it's best to know these things ahead of time. I didn't, and it made for some stressful times!
06-12-2007, 06:02 PM
I'm about to apply for my third visa, the one which will finally allow me to stay in the UK indefinitely. Once I get it, I will have spent nearly $3000 in visa fees.
A friend of mine is applying for an Aussie visa, to go to live with his long-term girlfriend (with the eventual aim of full emigration). He's kept track of the total costs, and it's got to well over £1000 without leaving British soil.
06-12-2007, 07:24 PM
Sunspace - Americans aren't eligible for ancestry visas. Only Commonwealth members can apply.Aw, nuts! It's been 231 years since all those unpleasantries! :D I got excited there for about the two minutes it took between Sunspace's post and this one...
My experience as an American visitor to the UK is that it wasn't just London that was really expensive. Save your bucks!
I'd love to live there too... at least until global warming melts enough ice to screw up the Gulf Stream and England's climate becomes more like Norway's...
06-12-2007, 09:33 PM
Sunspace - Americans aren't eligible for ancestry visas. Only Commonwealth members can apply.Well bother, I didn't realise that.
I guess this means the Working Holidaymaker programme is out for US types as well?
06-13-2007, 01:36 AM
Sunspace - yep, we're not eligible for that one either.
06-13-2007, 02:45 AM
Get your degree and apply for jobs in the UK. Sure, spend a year there as a tourist or better as a grad student.
06-13-2007, 08:00 AM
As a few posters mentioned previously, a number of US universities allow you to spend time studying on this side of the pond.
The nearest example to me is in the town of Alnwick, which host students from St Cloud State University (http://www.stcloudstate.edu/studyabroad/programs/alnwick/default.asp) every year.
06-14-2007, 07:11 PM
Do they cut any special deals for moving to the Falklands?
06-15-2007, 01:20 AM
Do they cut any special deals for moving to the Falklands?
Yeah, just join the army and hope for the best :p .....
(In seriousness: it's up to the Falklands to decide that, and it does look like it's quite a bit easier (http://www.falklandislands.com/about_us/faq.asp#q25).)
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