Monthly Archives: May 2015

Helpful sites

Hello there.  Are you doing well?  Lovely.  I had two London-related dreams last night, and one was simply that the prices of plane tickets went down.  Yeah, sad.  The weird thing is, they actually had.

I think I might be psychic.

Anyway, there are a lot of websites out there aimed at making the transition from America to the UK as easy as possible but wading through them can be a bit overwhelming.  I’ve compiled some of the websites that have helped me the most in preparation for my move.

UK-Yankee Forum: I would say this website has been THE most helpful, since, as a forum, it is updated just as regularly as anybody needs it to be and you can ask individual, specialized questions.  The people on this forum KNOW what they’re talking about.  However, I will say you can spend too much time on here and make yourself worry about things that don’t pertain to you or have the smallest chance of happening.  If you’re a student like me, start with this board.

UKCISA: This site will take you through the basics of applying for school, getting funding, figuring out where to live, and getting your visa.  This is for the beginner who needs an overview of the process.

Homestay: Like Airbnb, but you’ll be living with the family who owns the home.  This is a good alternative to hostels or arranging for flats you’ve never seen.  A great advantage to this is that you’re living with people who know the city.

Zoopla: If you plan on living on your own or buying, check out Zoopla.  You can search by the kind of property you’re looking for or area such as post code.  Even if you planning on having flat mates, it can be a good springboard to give you an idea of what’s available in any given area.

Flatshare: The most popular website for finding flatmates, although there are more out there.  You can search for any number of factors including preferences in the ideal flatmate, but I tend to just search by location and price.  It’s good to look at even before you’re serious about looking just to give you an idea of what’s available and what you can expect price-wise.

Of interest:

London property prices by tube line map, international scholarships, check to see if your creative programme is accredited

This is by no means a complete or exhaustive list.  It’s just a good jumping off point from which to start preparing.

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Our story so far…

I can only assume you’ve found this post/blog if, like me, you’re preparing to go to postgraduate school in London and are worriedly whiling away the days waiting for yet another person to get back to you.  Or maybe you’re considering doing so, in which case… hold on to your butts.

I’ve been slowly compiling a timeline of my journey through the entire process.  I’m going to post it for other people to reference, keeping in mind that it isn’t over ’till the fat lady sings and she’s not even on stage yet.

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early November 2014: submit application

24 November: receive offer for phone interview

24-26 November:  study for interview, (over-)prepare notes

26 November: phone interview w/programme director, told decision could take a couple of weeks

27 November (Thanksgiving Day US): receive acceptance e-mail

1 January 2015: fill in FAFSA – there isn’t really any use officially submitting this until you’ve done your taxes, I submit anyway

24 February: apply for SASS scholarship

17 March: put correct tax information in FAFSA, submit

31 March: start contacting potential homestays (homestay.com), start looking on school board for accommodation

1 April: hear back from most homestays within a day; only 1 says not available

7 April: book homestay for 21 August-21 September through homestay.com

8 April: submit enquiry to HSBC for overseas account

9 April: HSBC cannot open an overseas account for me unless I already have an account open with them

22 April: receive award letter, sign, send back to school loan administrator

23 April: complete entrance counselling and promissory notes for unsubsidized loan and Grad PLUS loan, send to school loan administrator

19 May: Buy my plane ticket!

Things that haven’t happened but are supposed to, with projected date

June/July: approval for loans from Department of Education

June: receive CAS, apply for visa

May the Fourth

Two bits of good news:

1. April is over.  Peace out, April!  Long live May! (actually, no, May, do not live long; live an ordinate and logical amount of time, please please please)

2. The ball has started rolling on my postgraduate funding!  I’ve completed my entrance counseling and master promissory notes, and my award letter has been sent to the Department of Education.  Now I get to wait until June or July (?!) to hear from them.

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Yay!

May the Fourth be with you!

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