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I am a 20 years old student about to finish his B.Sc in Physics in Leipzig (I will get my degree this very semester), and the situation which I am facing right now is a bit troublesome for my future. Even though I am getting my bachelor in physics, I want to do my master in mathematics (I am planning on getting a graduate degree in mathematics rather than in physics). The mathematical knowledge is not the main problem, for I have taken classes on abstract algebra (as well as real analysis up to functional analysis) and my bachelor thesis is about algebraic topology and differential geometry applications to a concrete physics problem (my supervisor is a mathematical physicist).

That said, though, when I applied to universities (only Europe) I got rejected from some and got accepted into others. I got accepted into the University of Cambridge to study the Tripos part III in Pure Mathematics, which was a really pleasant surprise, of course (my top choice I'd say). However, the financial conditions are too high for me. (I am currently living in Leipzig with only ~300€/month and the tuition for East German Universities is free.) I am not originally from Germany, and the only scholarship that my country awards to students to pursue a graduate degree overseas wasn't grant it to me (I think I bombed the interview for that, I was so nervous that even my hands were shaking a bit; and normally, the range of ages among the laureates is from 22 to 26).

So now I am alone, facing a fee of 20k GBP -as my only option if I want to do a master in mathematics- which I will not be able to pay (needless to say that when I called the financial office in Cambridge, they told me that student loans for non-UK students are only given to undergrads) and if I stay in Leipzig, I won't be able to pursue a master in pure mathematics (but mathematical physics instead, with a 50% of physics... nevertheless, I have taken most of the grad mathematical physics classes already). The other places in Europe where I might be able to go (in France and other parts in Germany) won't give scholarships to master students; and the cities (Paris, Berlin, Bonn...) are way more expensive than Leipzig; so that might not be a good idea either.

Some of the questions that arose to me are: do you think it would be sensible to spend the next year doing GREs and such (I could also visit a retired,reallywell known mathematician every now and then, which could give me some kind of 'mathematical mentoring'... not sure if US unis would like this(?)), and then apply to the US for graduate studies? Do you think I should try and apply for spring term? (not sure if a lot of unis in the states do this, but anyway, it would be hard to do that, since I am finishing exams in August) What do you imagine a mathematical dept. in the US would think about a student who took one year off doing maths without attending any university? Also... if you happen to be studying in the UK, do you know, per chance, any student loan for EU grad students?

I am actually seeking for any kind of advice (I'll briefly go to one of my maths Prof. office and ask him advice too)... I am not the kind of person who asks for a lot of advices normally (and certainly help others whenever I can), but I would appreciate if anyone could comment on this.

Thanks for reading,

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# Am I screwed?

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