Author Topic: From Texas to England :)  (Read 336 times)

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Offline pescadofish

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From Texas to England :)
« on: May 10, 2018, 11:49:43 PM »
Hello from Texas!

I am originally from Houston but have been living in Austin for the past 10 years. Then 4 years ago, during an innocent afternoon of Texas two-stepping, I met my now English boyfriend while he was here visiting on holiday. Since he runs a business in England and son lives with him, I decided it would be easiest for me to move over there for the time being. Plus, I’ve always wanted to live abroad. I have been able to go visit him 4 times now (both in spring and winter for 2 weeks each time), so I have an idea of what the best/worst of the weather will be like.

Because I was already planning on going back to school and would like to live with my boyfriend before we get engaged/married, I have decided to go the student visa route. I will be getting my undergraduate degree in Psychology and I'm leaning on choosing University of Central Lancashire. University of Liverpool is my other option, but because I will be commuting by bus/train which it will be a little over an hour on train for my commute VS UCLan which is 20-30 mins. I have communicated with a few students at Liverpool and they mention that the rail system is not always reliable, which concerns me about getting to school on time from so far away. The only upsides to Liverpool is that it is a Russel Group school, but I don’t know if that would make my Psychology degree more appealing to future employers. It does mean that Liverpool is about £30,000 more expensive than UCLan. I am also going to be taking out student loans through FAFSA, which is my first time to take out any type of loan. It seems like a lot of money, so that has me a little nervous of course. At the moment I’m currently leaning towards UCLan. It seems like less stress and less money. (This was a chance for me to soundboard about my decision making, so please feel free to skip if you don’t have any applicable advice/information! ;D)

I currently live in a tiny home here in Austin, so I luckily will not have very much to move. I’m not taking any furniture, so it will mostly be clothing, my guitar, and some of my vinyl collection. Does anyone have any suggestions on moving strategies/moving companies? Or is there anything else, in general, I should do beforehand that will assist me in my move? I will be moving to the Lancashire area.

I am 85% excited and 25% nervous about the move but know once I get there I will be able to start settling into my new life. My plans are to stay in England once I’m done with school, so I feel joining this expat community will serve as a very useful resource. This is my first time writing on a forum, hope I did it correctly :P. Thanks for reading y’all!  :)

Offline larrabee

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Re: From Texas to England :)
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2018, 03:00:47 AM »
Welcome!  ;D

I've not used them but http://upakweship.com are often recommended for small moves.
March 28th 2013-Moved to UK, husband on spouse visa.Oct 20th 2015-Applied by mail for FLR(M).Feb 1st 2016 FLR(M).March 7th 2018 ILR. YAY! March 21st NCS&JCAP appointment.

Offline KFdancer

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Re: From Texas to England :)
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2018, 10:12:37 AM »
Welcome!

As far as choosing which school/program - I'd recommend looking at what the total amount of loans you will be taking out, versus what you can expect to make when you first graduate.  Then decide which is the better avenue.  I'm a big fan of minimal student loan debt if possible, but if the other school will empower you for higher earning potential, etc., that's definitely a consideration.  :)

Offline jfkimberly

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Re: From Texas to England :)
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2018, 10:49:33 AM »
My circumstances were vastly different to yours, and I didn't really research anything outside of what I needed to know to get my move done, so I can't offer much practical advice.  But welcome to the forum!  I look forward to seeing your plans unfold.  It sounds like you've given quite a lot of consideration to your options already, and that you're not just rushing in.  This gives me confidence that things will go well for you.
9/1/2013 - "fiancée" (marriage) visa issued
4/6/2013 - married (certificate issued same-day)
5/6/2013 - FLR(M)#1 in person -- approved!
8/1/2016 - FLR(M)#2 by post -- approved!
8/5/2018 - ILR in person -- approved!

Offline margo

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Re: From Texas to England :)
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2018, 10:59:44 AM »
Good luck with the move and welcome to the forum!

Just remember that student visas aren't a settlement path, and if all goes well with your partner, the requirements for a settlement visa as self employed or business owner are currently pretty extensive. Make sure he knows the documentation requirements and has it all in order ahead of time.

KFD's advice is sound. Just curious, with psychology wouldn't you likely require an advanced degree for most roles? Sometimes spending more on grad school works out better than undergrad, and the commute (and expense of the commute) is definitely something to be cognizant of.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2018, 11:14:57 AM by margo »
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Offline x0Kiss0fDeath

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Re: From Texas to England :)
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2018, 01:34:38 PM »
Welcome :D

Offline pescadofish

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Re: From Texas to England :)
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2018, 05:00:43 PM »
Good luck with the move and welcome to the forum!

Just remember that student visas aren't a settlement path, and if all goes well with your partner, the requirements for a settlement visa as self employed or business owner are currently pretty extensive. Make sure he knows the documentation requirements and has it all in order ahead of time.

KFD's advice is sound. Just curious, with psychology wouldn't you likely require an advanced degree for most roles? Sometimes spending more on grad school works out better than undergrad, and the commute (and expense of the commute) is definitely something to be cognizant of.


Thank you, Margo, for the heads up about the next step after my degree is finished.

Yes, typically going to grad school is a common next step for my degree choice so I'm leaning towards Occupational Psychology afterward. Plus I love the idea of getting paid more to pay off those student loans as quickly as possible ;). But I am also up for being flexible for what comes up once I get closer to that point.

Either way, I'll make sure to keep in mind that he needs to have said documents ready when it is time. Thanks again!  :)

Offline pescadofish

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Re: From Texas to England :)
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2018, 05:17:21 PM »
My circumstances were vastly different to yours, and I didn't really research anything outside of what I needed to know to get my move done, so I can't offer much practical advice.  But welcome to the forum!  I look forward to seeing your plans unfold.  It sounds like you've given quite a lot of consideration to your options already, and that you're not just rushing in.  This gives me confidence that things will go well for you.

I think that's great! And your support is just as helpful to me as practical advice-- Thanks Jfkimberly  ;D

Offline pescadofish

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Re: From Texas to England :)
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2018, 05:50:02 PM »
Welcome!

As far as choosing which school/program - I'd recommend looking at what the total amount of loans you will be taking out, versus what you can expect to make when you first graduate.  Then decide which is the better avenue.  I'm a big fan of minimal student loan debt if possible, but if the other school will empower you for higher earning potential, etc., that's definitely a consideration.  :)

Hi KFdancer! Great information-- I will be getting my loan figures soon, so I will keep your advice in mind. I myself am a fan of minimal student loan debt. I have not found any solid evidence on exactly how much advantage on potential earning Liverpool could yield for a undergraduate in Psychology  VS UCLan. My boyfriends friend who does hiring in mental health sector says the school doesn't matter unless it's Oxford or Cambridge, but this is of course one person's opinion. Now my postgraduate degree path could be a different story but I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

Thanks for the advice!  :)

Offline pescadofish

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Re: From Texas to England :)
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2018, 06:12:03 PM »

Offline pescadofish

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Re: From Texas to England :)
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2018, 06:13:04 PM »
Welcome!  ;D

I've not used them but http://upakweship.com [nofollow] are often recommended for small moves.


Excellent, I'll check it out. Thanks larrabee!  :D

Offline KFdancer

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Re: From Texas to England :)
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2018, 06:32:18 PM »
Hi KFdancer! Great information-- I will be getting my loan figures soon, so I will keep your advice in mind. I myself am a fan of minimal student loan debt. I have not found any solid evidence on exactly how much advantage on potential earning Liverpool could yield for a undergraduate in Psychology  VS UCLan. My boyfriends friend who does hiring in mental health sector says the school doesn't matter unless it's Oxford or Cambridge, but this is of course one person's opinion. Now my postgraduate degree path could be a different story but I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

Thanks for the advice!  :)

And knowing the salaries at all the places I’ve worked (I’m in finance so I know what everyone earns), I can tell you that Oxford and Cambridge grads do NOT get paid more after that first job.   ;)

Remember a degree literally gets you that first job out of school.  Everything after that, is you and your performance.   :D

Offline pescadofish

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Re: From Texas to England :)
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2018, 07:11:48 PM »
And knowing the salaries at all the places I’ve worked (I’m in finance so I know what everyone earns), I can tell you that Oxford and Cambridge grads do NOT get paid more after that first job.   ;)

Remember a degree literally gets you that first job out of school.  Everything after that, is you and your performance.   :D

KFD - That is fantastic to know! I had a feeling, but so nice to hear. Thanks so much  8) ;D 

Offline lyonaria

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Re: From Texas to England :)
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2018, 12:05:47 AM »
I currently take the train every morning to work. It would be a 35 minute drive, but by train I leave my house at 6.55am for a 10-15 minute drive (taxi as the bus would be over 20 minutes), take the train at 7.19am for a train swap at New Street, which usually gets me to my train station at 8.14 ( but is often delayed and can make me miss my bus which is at 8.14ish). Then the bus gets me to my work between 8.25 and 8.50 (depending on traffic and what time I catch the bus) for my 9am start.

There are often delays and trains going slowly when they don't tell you there is a delay until you are about to arrive at the next station. There are almost always delays on the trains going home (I would say about 80% of the time) and if the train you need only leaves every 20 minutes it can make for a very long day.
Delays in the morning? Probably 50% of the time. This is with the train departing at the proper times, just randomly moving slowly or being delayed.

If you have stops or multiple parts to your journey it can be stressful and long. Public transport here is useful, but not cheap by train for most, and you couldn't set your watch by it. There are lots of delays and late departures.

I leave work at 5.30pm and I don't get home until 7.05pm at the earliest if everything goes perfectly. And then I get to sit for the second leg of my train journey. If things go horribly wrong and I miss my usual train, I am lucky to get home by 7.45pm and will often have stood for all but the last taxi ride from my local train station to my home.
The usual. American girl meets British guy. They fall into like, then into love. Then there was the big decision. The American traveled across the pond to join the Brit. And life was never the same again.

Offline Nan D.

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Re: From Texas to England :)
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2018, 10:33:53 AM »
Welcome.

I would have to say, avoid student loans for an undergraduate degree if at all possible. US student loans will follow you to the grave, for all intents.  ;)  No, seriously, you can't discharge them in bankruptcy, so unless you do a public service job in the USA that would qualify for their forgiveness after ten years, you will be paying them back regardless of your finding work in your field  or not finishing the program. 

As you will be needing to go to grad school, that would mean even more expenses and loans, unless you can pay for it all out-of-pocket. I don't believe you will be eligible for any financial aid from the sources usually available to UK students either as an undergrad or a graduate student. You will also be classified as a foreign student, so plan on the tuition and fees being exponentially higher than paid by a "resident" student.

That said, going the student route as a trial-run for your relationship is an interesting option. Hopefully the experience of being in an unfamiliar education system won't cause you too much stress, as coming over to the UK from the USA is kind of stressful at the best of times.  Going back to school with a bunch of "kids" (which is what the undergrads you encounter may seem like) is also a rather strange experience after being away from education for a decade.

Have you contacted the placement offices (for employment of graduates) at the Universities you're considering to discuss their placement rates for their graduates, especially in your field?  Of to see if they offer any sort of assistance to their alums in finding their first paid professional jobs?

Also, have you checked out taking the bus instead of the train? Might be cheaper, as fares on Megabus can be bought at a discount in advance.

Best of luck!

[Edit:  Also, in the last couple of weeks I heard on the news that the government is concerned about the lack of mental health professionals in the school systems. I believe I heard them say that there was to be a proposal to fund more training positions to get professionals into the field/schools. I can't tell you if that was the Scottish Government or the English Government, but it might be worth spending a little time running that information down. Not sure if it would apply to a foreign student anyway, or if they're going to just try to send more cash into the system to expand programs instead. Unfortunately, I only heard the news story in passing and wasn't paying a lot of attention to it.]
« Last Edit: May 12, 2018, 10:43:14 AM by Nan D. »