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Old May 24, 2008, 12:38 AM   #1
iJesus
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Going to college in another country.

So, I'm 16 (17 on May 31st) and I'm a Junior in High School. Next year is my senior year and I was contemplating the possibility of going to school in another country, probably England. I'd love to get a sense of things outside this country and I thought college would be a great time.

Now, how hard is this? What do I have to do and does anyone have any advice? Am I just dreaming?

What does the scene look like?
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Old May 24, 2008, 01:07 AM   #2
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The "scene" in Engerland is expensive. I've lived there. As an international student (and not an exchange student), tuition is going to be expensive.

I'm currently in Australia, and I'm not Australian. They screw International Students here, and not in any way that could be deemed "pleasant." You're basically going to pay too much for uni unless you go to Germany or somewhere that's very friendly to foreigners getting an education in their country. Another country that may be good for that sort of thing is Ireland.
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Old May 24, 2008, 01:12 AM   #3
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i did the majority of my undergrad work at johns hopkins, but i did study for a year in england, at oxford. it was probably one of the best decisions i've ever made, and i would highly recommend it. going to college abroad really isn't that hard, and if you really want to do it, don't let people discourage you.

it's extremely important to research the universities that you're interested in, since application procedures, etc. are often quite different from those in the US. that being said, england is probably one of the easiest places for americans to study. make sure you apply to as many universities as possible, with a range of selectivity, ie. do NOT just apply to top universities like oxford and cambridge for example.

i'm happy to answer any other questions you might have, and feel free to pm me if you want.

hope that helps, and good luck!

EDIT: regarding Abstract's comments above, even with the current exchange rate (not so good for americans), yes london is expensive, but no more so than new york city. other areas of england are MUCH cheaper...but keep in mind that british students often don't have as many "luxury" items as americans (ie. several ipods, $2000 laptops, big TV, etc.) if you adopt this more british lifestyle, you will be fine. and yes tuition is expensive, but no more so than at top american universities. scholarships are also available for studying abroad, if you have a strong academic record. search online or talk to a guidance counselor, etc.
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Old May 24, 2008, 01:31 AM   #4
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I can tell you one thing from my own personal research... you better have plenty of AP classes since most European students are further ahead when they finish their "high school" educations and that may still not be enough. All the European universities I've looked at want you to have 1-2 years of college on top of a diploma. For example with Germany, you have to be at the equivalent of their Abitur, which the HS diploma is not equivalent.
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Old May 24, 2008, 01:55 AM   #5
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Thanks for all the advice.

I've been looking at a few colleges in London (Goldsmith's, Kings, Queen Mary) and they all look pretty cool. Looking at all these colleges it feels like I'm shooting in the dark.

Queen Mary looks pretty easy to get into (in terms of admission requirements).

I don't know though, I was looking at taking political science but I'm starting to think that as an American taking Political Science his first year of living in Britain, I may be a LITTLE disadvantaged/lost.

I should probably do college in the US and do the study abroad program.
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Old May 24, 2008, 03:16 AM   #6
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Kings College of London and University College of London are the better London universities, while Queen Mary has lower admission requirements because it's not as highly rated. Imperial is also good, but what's best depends on what you study. I don't know about Political Science, but I bet UCL and KCL aren't bad. Queen Mary may also be above average, but (I think it's) in east and south London, and if you're from North London, going to either east or south London is like going on vacation in a foreign city. I've been east and south, but it's never the same as being up north. Not joking. I'd personally avoid it for that reason alone, but you're not in the same situation.
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Old May 24, 2008, 04:18 AM   #7
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I would recommend a 'Study Abroad Program' at a Nevada University. Only a few international colleges would appeal to an employer back in the states. Make it a cultural experience...top suggestions; Spain or Australia.
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Old May 24, 2008, 04:43 AM   #8
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All of those colleges come under the umbrella of the University of London. Most have dedicated international student offices to give advice about various aspects of studying here in the UK, which you'll find linked from the main University of London web site.

Out of the three colleges you quote I would say Kings has the best reputation internationally, which is best bearing in mind if you want employers to rate your degree. King's campuses are also very central, with the social and political science school being located close to Covent Garden and the western part of The City*. In contrast, Goldsmiths is way out in New Cross and Queen Mary is mostly out Whitechapel way unless you're doing medicine or law. Both those last two would mean you're more limited in your choice of where to live, as public transport in London tends to be organised to and from the centre.


*Note : "The City" is London's main financial district.
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Old May 24, 2008, 04:58 AM   #9
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Won't LSE be pretty good too?
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Old May 24, 2008, 05:09 AM   #10
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Won't LSE be pretty good too?
LSE, Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, Imperial, KCL, UCL are all rated very well and have a damn fine reputation. The first 5 are very hard to get into though.
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Old May 24, 2008, 07:41 AM   #11
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We had a fair few foreign characters at my uni. Poland, Portugal, Ireland. Even a US tutor.
I don't know if it applies to Europeans only but there's an exchange program called Erasmus which you could look into.
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Old May 24, 2008, 01:24 PM   #12
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LSE, Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, Imperial, KCL, UCL are all rated very well and have a damn fine reputation. The first 5 are very hard to get into though.
The problem with going to a foreign uni is that back at home, the "best" university is the one they've heard of. Bristol may be a good uni, but if someone from Nevada, New York, Utah, wherever, has never heard of it, or don't know it's a good university, then there's no point. If the university he chooses has the word "London" in the title, it already sounds more familiar to an American. I'd be afraid that Queen Mary may rate better than Imperial because of it. Um......forgot about LSE. If you can get in, that would be an incredible place to go.
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Old May 24, 2008, 01:49 PM   #13
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I'd be afraid that Queen Mary may rate better than Imperial because of it. Um......forgot about LSE. If you can get in, that would be an incredible place to go.
Queen Mary better than Imperial?! Imperial College London is ranked 5th in the world. As for pure technical universities I believe only Massachusetts Institute of Technology ranks higher.

I do understand your point, but an employer looking for the best candidates has a responsibility to know the best universities in the world for their sake as well as for the prospective employees.

And if American employers have not heard of Oxford and Cambridge universities they don't deserve decent candidates. It would be like an Englishman not knowing about Yale, MIT and Stanford.

Check out The Times Good University Guide for decent information on all UK universities.
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Old May 24, 2008, 10:35 PM   #14
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Queen Mary better than Imperial?! Imperial College London is ranked 5th in the world. As for pure technical universities I believe only Massachusetts Institute of Technology ranks higher.
I know that as well, but I think I'm an exception rather than the rule.


Quote:
I do understand your point, but an employer looking for the best candidates has a responsibility to know the best universities in the world for their sake as well as for the prospective employees.
Not really. I'd be surprised if an interviewer didn't know the best unversities (in his field) in the US. However, he's not going to be very familiar with Heidelberg Uni, Waseda, etc, just because they're regarded highly in their region of the world, and I wouldn't expect him to unless he was very keen at becoming familiar with the university that each candidate has studied.
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Old May 25, 2008, 10:40 PM   #15
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I do understand your point, but an employer looking for the best candidates has a responsibility to know the best universities in the world for their sake as well as for the prospective employees.
There are only 5-10 British universities that can match up with the top 50 American universities academically, and unless the name really pops (i.e. Oxbridge, LSE, etc.), an employer won't go through all the effort to look into how good it is when he could just as easily take someone who went to an Ivy-level private school or major public university back in the States that has a reputation the employer knows and trusts.

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Old May 25, 2008, 10:49 PM   #16
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I dont know if I understand you guys correctly. I am an American, I attend the University of Wales, Cardiff. Are you saying, if I should look for a job back in the states, they will frown up on the fact that I went to that university, a non american one?

EDIT: According to a theory above, my university might be considered more "prestigious" by my future american employer because it has a known location in its name, when in reality it isnt all that great. Would you agree with that?
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Old May 26, 2008, 01:55 AM   #17
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What I would do is find a university in your local area that has an exchange program. At my university at least, you pay the exact same tuition (and even in-state scholarships apply) and you go to whichever exchange school you want to go to.
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Old May 26, 2008, 02:28 AM   #18
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lets me put it this way. Most employers do not give a much of a damn where you got your degree from. As long as the program is accredited and the school is descent. (key word is most)

I hate to break that to you but it is reality.
Hell if I was higher some one and they acted like they should be hired because of the school they came from I can promise you I would take there application/resume and it would it end up in the round filing cabinet better known as the trash can.

There are very few career fields where the school one came from truly matters and that might be doctor and lawyers just because the general public is a bunch of idiots and they base how good the person is on where they got there degree and hell even then it is not going to matter much.

Now where the school matters in getting a job is it depends if that company sends recruiters there and that is more controlled off size of the college and region than any thing else. After that no one cares.


I just find it annoying how people think the name of the school matters very much. IT DOES NOT.

Lastly I will admit I am proud I got my degree from Texas Tech but beyond that it really does not matter.
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Old May 26, 2008, 04:49 PM   #19
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Lastly I will admit I am proud I got my degree from Texas Tech but beyond that it really does not matter.
Sounds like someone is bitter that they spent four years of their life in Lubbock...
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Old May 27, 2008, 02:04 AM   #20
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Two primary comments:

1) EXPENSIVE!!! Much more expensive than you can imagine, when it's all said and done. Buying things, preparing, selling / storing items / your car, luggage, plane tickets, out of country tuition fees, residence fees, food, transportation, basic furniture you got stuck without, health costs, spending way too much money on garbage because it's foreign and interesting, etc.

2) HARD!!! Much harder than you think. You leave almost everything and everyone you know behind, minus a few things like your computer, internet, faith, etc. If you can't speak the language, it's even harder. You have to start over at ground zero for social contacts, and all that inside knowledge you have of where to get cheap stuff, what you really need to buy or not buy, what's appropriate to do in a restaurant, how to act around a teacher, etc., can all be very uncomfortably challenged/changed.

Also, perceptions of you will vary immensely. Some people will love you just because you're a foreigner (depends on the country), and yet some people will purposefully avoid you with a passionate because you're a foreigner. No place is that stronger than Japan, where I live. Regardless, if you're American, you have to deal with ... you know... those crazy people who decide to lecture you (in public) about weapons, war, George Bush, American foreign policy, and all that stuff. They don't even start with their name, they just go straight into their pre-programmed socially popular "I hate Bush" tirade. Ugh... so unoriginal, it's not even a fun conflict moment. If someone hated me for an original reason, at least it might be fun to discuss it with them, but the whole attack Bush/America/Iraq War thing is so old.

In fact... just last weekend some guy had to approach me and tell me how much he hates Americans, hates Bush, cause "we" (I wasn't there) used the nuclear bomb on Japan. Yes yes, I know, Bush is the reason the bomb was used on Japan, Bush caused hurricane Katrina, Bush is all that is evil within the world... yada yada.

Sorry to rant, but be prepared man... people are cruel.
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Old Jun 26, 2008, 12:45 PM   #21
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I have never posted before, so if I am doing this wrong then I'm sorry!

I too am interested in going to college in England. I am majoring in Communications and the college I'm going to has certain universities that we can go to in England. The university I am wondering about is Westminster University. Any info. on it would be great.

My other choice is UCL, but they don't seem to have a Communications program.

Thanks!
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Old Jun 26, 2008, 02:05 PM   #22
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It doesn't sound like you're interested in medicine at all, so you're fine. But in case there's a part of you keeping that option open, then here's a quick point...

Don't do this if you are considering a career in medicine in the United States. To qualify for medical school in the US, you have to have a bachelor's degree from the US or Canada. If you attend medical school outside of the United States, this would probable mean a non-bachelor's degree is a waste of time, since you study medicine straight out of high school in most other countries. Following this path makes it much more difficult to practice medicine in America, because you are classified as a Foreign Medical Graduate and the number of residency positions open to you is much smaller (American grads get priority--and a significant advantage).
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Old Jun 26, 2008, 02:45 PM   #23
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A perhaps 'safer' way to do this would be to look into the study abroad programs that US undergrad schools offer. There are several opportunities to spend a year overseas rather than all four years. Not that I would discourage you from four, but just something to keep in mind.

I definitely think it is a great idea to live out of the US for an extended period of time. I also would agree that research in advance is imperative.
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Old Jun 26, 2008, 03:09 PM   #24
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lets me put it this way. Most employers do not give a much of a damn where you got your degree from. As long as the program is accredited and the school is descent. (key word is most)

I hate to break that to you but it is reality.
Hell if I was higher some one and they acted like they should be hired because of the school they came from I can promise you I would take there application/resume and it would it end up in the round filing cabinet better known as the trash can.

There are very few career fields where the school one came from truly matters and that might be doctor and lawyers just because the general public is a bunch of idiots and they base how good the person is on where they got there degree and hell even then it is not going to matter much.

Now where the school matters in getting a job is it depends if that company sends recruiters there and that is more controlled off size of the college and region than any thing else. After that no one cares.


I just find it annoying how people think the name of the school matters very much. IT DOES NOT.

Lastly I will admit I am proud I got my degree from Texas Tech but beyond that it really does not matter.
Maybe the university a person attends won't make a difference, but grammar will. The extensive grammatical problems with this post (almost to the point of making it difficult to understand) serve to undermine your position.
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Old Jun 26, 2008, 07:15 PM   #25
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Have you thought of doing a junior year abroad and then grad school abroad? For me it was easier to do undergrad work in the U.S. and spend a year overseas. When it came time to grad school, it was much easier to apply and be accepted by a UK university (Bristol). Usually it is much harder to get directly in to a UK university unless you do an IB type high school program that can correlate to overseas education. Since the SAT isn't equivalent to A-Levels it makes it pretty hard for admissions officers to do a comparative analysis. However, the reputation of certain American universities coupled with a GPA/honor system is more easily converted and therefore will allow you to do a grad degree abroad quite easily.

Oh, and if you choose Bristol you will love it. I miss it and the people every day.
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