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Financial problems for an international student

  1. Aug 13, 2012 #1
    Hi, I am from a third-world country who studied BSc Physics at Imperial College London (in the UK) for two years. I had to pay 20,000 pounds as tuition fees annually and my parents managed that for two years, but then they had a financial problem when I was about to begin my third year. So, I spoke with my department and they arranged what they call 'Interruption of Studies', Basically, it's like taking a gap year in the middle of your degree bevause of financial, medical or other issues. Mine was financial.

    Anyway, Septmeber's coming and I am supposed to go back to Imperial to finish my third year. My parents will pay my third year tuition fees, but the problem is I need to re-apply for a student visa before I go back to the UK, and for the application to be processed I need to show that I have another 9000 pounds to fund my living expenses. Unfortunately, this is too much for my family - they might help me out but it got me questioning what might be accomplished by my studying at Imperial. After all, I am not spending so much money just to get a degree, but for excellent job offers or admission into graduate courses with scholarships.

    I checked out scholarship opportunities and given the tuition fees for masters and phd courses, the scholarships appear highly selective and offer only small sums of money compared to my tuition fee. It looks like I may not be able to fund my studies after my bachelor's course. And the job prospects in the UK do not look good to me either. And the UK regulations on immigration policies have got much tougher than before, so I might not be stay if I don't have a job or course. And I don't wanna go back to my country. This is just the way I feel about my prospects after I finish at Imperial. I am not really sure if I should continue at Imperial or try to move to some other university.

    What do you think I should do?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 13, 2012 #2
    Would you be willing to try out another country?

    Canada is good immigration solutions if you graduate at a school there. If you're in the mid west job prospects are fair.
    Above all international student tuition is much less than the US and UK.
    I am not familiar with British system, so this is the only advise I could give.
    Hope it helps a bit, if you have more questions feel free
  4. Aug 13, 2012 #3
    I don't know how transferring would work for European universities, which are in my opinion, your best bets for they're the ones with the *low* price tags. Try contacting them individually and see what they have to say. Say, Leipzig, Luxembourg (international program for physics) or the program at Erlangen (some "elite" program which mentioned transfers).

    Another option would be the French grandes ecoles like Ecole Centrale, Ecole Polytechnique and Ecole Normale Superieure. The system is structured in such a way that after two years of intense preparation in maths-physics (there are some other "streams"), predominantly, one is to take a set of written and then oral exams, which determine whether they can get into a grande ecole. Some of those "ecoles" allow one to take their exams in English.

    There are other grandes ecoles who have an "application sur dossier", where you can apply with your transcripts and recommendation letters. Look into those. I think ENSIMAG is one of them but I'm not sure. In any case, they're an applied math and CS-focused school, if I recall correctly.

    There are also magistere programs in France. They are a more advanced variant of the regular bachelor's and master's degrees. (years 3, 4 and 5 - Bologna process; so that's 3rd year of the BSc/licence and the master's)

    Further, have you contacted Imperial about exchange programs? I know that they have quite a few in Europe. If you go to say, a German uni, for your 3rd year, do you have to pay them that same 20k tuition?
  5. Sep 12, 2012 #4
    I have to keep the 9000 pounds of living expenses in my bank account for 28 days to be eligible to obtain a student visa, but my parents do not have that amount of money in liquid cash at the moment. My course resumes in October, so I guess it will be too late by the time I apply for a student visa, so I've decided to postpone Imperial for another year.

    In the meantime, I will apply to uni's in Canada and if I get accepted, I will think about transferring to a university there for either the spring 2013 or fall 2013. However, if I do have a change of hearts at the last minute and feel Imperial is better, I will still have the chance to go back there to finish the final year.

    But should I really wait another year? Won't taking two years gap at a stretch affect my career prospects? More importantly, which Canadian university would want to take me in as a transfer student, given that I have been on two gap years at a stretch?

    [I have corresponded with small, private universities such as University of Northern British Columbia and Trinity Western University and they are willing to make provisional decision on my transfer application immediately for entry in the start of 2013. Would be reasonable to transfer to a university of much lower ranking just to save another entire year? ]

    I would be happy to hear your advice.
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