Forum > Mediterranean Avenue > Considering moving to the British Isles in a few years, anybody got thoughts?
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"Considering moving to the British Isles in a few years, anybody got thoughts?", 10 days ago, 6:36 PM #1
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A few days ago, in a fit of "I'm so tired of the US and I miss Europe", I decided to look up graduate degree programs in the UK and Ireland. ...And now I'm actually, seriously considering going ahead with that in a few years. (I found a few programs that look cool, it'd be cheaper than studying in the US, and I'd be way closer to my family) So... anybody got thoughts? Opinions? Anecdotes? I have visited England several times, but I'd love to hear from other people who've visited, from people who live somewhere in the British Isles, from other people who have moved to other continents... if you have opinions on getting a master's degree I'd love to hear that too. Idk I just wanna hear from people.
((I should point out that even though I live in the US now, I do have a European passport, which theoretically would make moving to and studying there easier... though I'm not sure how Brexit will affect that))
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10 days ago, 6:39 PM #2
Birb is the Worb
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I'd say it's pretty cool here, but I don't really know what to specifically point out or compare to other places, since I've lived here all my life and it's the only place I know.

Is there anything you'd specifically like to know about? (Aside from academic stuff)
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10 days ago, 6:50 PM #3
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JammyTheBirb:I'd say it's pretty cool here, but I don't really know what to specifically point out or compare to other places, since I've lived here all my life and it's the only place I know.

Is there anything you'd specifically like to know about? (Aside from academic stuff)



That's fair, I didn't ask anything very specific haha.
I guess stuff like... what's rent like (though I suppose that depends on the area), how good is public transportation (I don't know how to drive), what is people's attitude towards foreigners, how easy/hard is it to find a part-time (Or full-time, eventually) job, what the social life is like (like, what do people like doing?)...
I know those aren't all easy questions to answer, but any bit of info is helpful at this point haha.
Idk, what stuff do you like best about where you live, and what do you like the least? (and out of curiosity, around where do you live? you don't have to give a specific answer to that if you don't want to though)

Edit: also what's the price of food like? 'cause it's fairly expensive here...
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10 days ago, 8:12 PM #4
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I live in Ely, Cambridgeshire. It's one of the smallest cities in the UK, though it does have things like supermarkets and a cinema complex. I like it here, because it has pretty much everything a place needs (shops, train station, etc etc) but it's not too busy, congested or dangerous. There's not much I don't like about it, maybe there's a shortage of places to go. (There are no gay clubs here lol, sad for me.)

Rent, I can't help with, since my friends and I ended up having to get a mortgage instead, since the law makes moving in with friends really really stupidly difficult. ^_^'

Public transport is pretty good! Most places have a train station and there are busses too. In London, the tube's the only way to really get around because driving's a nightmare. I can't drive either, and I go everywhere I need to either on foot or by train, and it's pretty easy.

Attitude to foreigners... Hm. I do think most people are fine, but Brexit did bring out the worst in some, mainly older people. I'd like to think you'd be unlikely to encounter any crap, just be aware there are always dicks.

Jobs... Well. Corona's not helping with that. I recently lost my job because of it, and I'm really struggling to get another. Jobs are a big problem right now. I can't really say where things will be at in a couple of years.

As for what people like to do... Pub. XD In all seriousness, there's other stuff to do, but it depends on where you are. I live in a small city, so there isn't much going on, but if you went to say, London, there'd probably be loads to do and see. I mean not right now because of Corona, but provided the relevant industries survive, normally there are theatres, cinemas, clubs, libraries, uh... If it exists in the US there's probably something similar.

Right now we're under a lockdown though so there's pretty much nothing.

Lastly, I feel like food is pretty cheap. You've just gotta know where to shop! Some supermarkets are cheaper than others. Like Aldi, Aldi is good. It's worth doing a little research on which supermarkets have better prices.
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10 days ago, 8:13 PM #5
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Where I live in the UK, the public transport it pretty good, never takes too long to get where I need to go. Not too sure about the rest of the country. Not too expensive, but things like the train can get a bit pricey, I'd definitely try getting a bus card if you can, they are pretty useful if you intend to use it a lot.
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10 days ago, 11:48 PM #6
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JammyTheBirb:I live in Ely, Cambridgeshire. It's one of the smallest cities in the UK, though it does have things like supermarkets and a cinema complex. I like it here, because it has pretty much everything a place needs (shops, train station, etc etc) but it's not too busy, congested or dangerous. There's not much I don't like about it, maybe there's a shortage of places to go. (There are no gay clubs here lol, sad for me.)

Rent, I can't help with, since my friends and I ended up having to get a mortgage instead, since the law makes moving in with friends really really stupidly difficult. ^_^'

Public transport is pretty good! Most places have a train station and there are busses too. In London, the tube's the only way to really get around because driving's a nightmare. I can't drive either, and I go everywhere I need to either on foot or by train, and it's pretty easy.

Attitude to foreigners... Hm. I do think most people are fine, but Brexit did bring out the worst in some, mainly older people. I'd like to think you'd be unlikely to encounter any crap, just be aware there are always dicks.

Jobs... Well. Corona's not helping with that. I recently lost my job because of it, and I'm really struggling to get another. Jobs are a big problem right now. I can't really say where things will be at in a couple of years.

As for what people like to do... Pub. XD In all seriousness, there's other stuff to do, but it depends on where you are. I live in a small city, so there isn't much going on, but if you went to say, London, there'd probably be loads to do and see. I mean not right now because of Corona, but provided the relevant industries survive, normally there are theatres, cinemas, clubs, libraries, uh... If it exists in the US there's probably something similar.

Right now we're under a lockdown though so there's pretty much nothing.

Lastly, I feel like food is pretty cheap. You've just gotta know where to shop! Some supermarkets are cheaper than others. Like Aldi, Aldi is good. It's worth doing a little research on which supermarkets have better prices.


Oh! I've been to Ely! Er... I was like eight so I don't remember much other than the cathedral and a bakery, but it was a nice city! :D

Also oof, that sounds complicated :S (I sure hope rent isn't as bad as here though, because here it's ridiculous)
Good to hear that about transportation! I definitely want to be able to get places and not be stuck x'D

As far as Corona goes, I probably won't be able to go anywhere for another couple years, so here's hoping that things will have calmed down a little bit by then....

Thanks for all the info! :D

Timelapse11:Where I live in the UK, the public transport it pretty good, never takes too long to get where I need to go. Not too sure about the rest of the country. Not too expensive, but things like the train can get a bit pricey, I'd definitely try getting a bus card if you can, they are pretty useful if you intend to use it a lot.


Nice! And that's good to know, I'll make sure to remember that, thanks! :D
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9 days ago, 12:01 AM #7
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Just a general thing: the UK left the EU last year (the aforementioned Brexit), and as such, you'd have a different set of rules and regs applying, also i.e. in regards to further travelling / VISA etc.
It's at the moment pretty unclear as to how the UK rules will change after the one year interim period runs out this December. But it's something to keep in mind regarding mobility, insurance, and passport stuff.
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9 days ago, 2:24 AM #8
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Having lived in the UK and Aus I think that the UK is a good place to be really young. The reason for that is that things are close together. You can walk to the high street in your town, village or city, whereas here you NEED your car.

For entertainment it all seems to be movies, local pub or sports clubs. Some bigger towns have a night club or 2.

It did annoy me last time I went to England and could not buy a bus ticket. They have completely done away with paying for a single ride. I was told I had to find a post office and fill out the paperwork for an oyster card. Major pain. Once you have one the public transport system is good. On time and working but usually shabby.

The price of groceries is super low but the price of eating out is super high. (Again, compared to Aus. Nowhere near as high as France) Over here in Aus you may as well eat out because the groceries for a meal would be the same aprox price but in the UK if you cook at home you save many times the cost of the meal.

There's quite a bit of racism over there from my experience, but you're probably not going to be on the receiving end as an American...depending on the racist they tend to aim at the French, South east Asians and Africans. :(
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9 days ago, 2:27 AM #9
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The Accidental Ninja:Oh! I've been to Ely! Er... I was like eight so I don't remember much other than the cathedral and a bakery, but it was a nice city! :D

Also oof, that sounds complicated :S (I sure hope rent isn't as bad as here though, because here it's ridiculous)
Good to hear that about transportation! I definitely want to be able to get places and not be stuck x'D

As far as Corona goes, I probably won't be able to go anywhere for another couple years, so here's hoping that things will have calmed down a little bit by then....

Thanks for all the info! :D



Nice! And that's good to know, I'll make sure to remember that, thanks! :D


Ha wow, what a coincidence! Yeah the cathedral's the most famous thing there. That and Oliver Cromwell's house.

A little more info on the renting thing, because it's a bit off topic:

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9 days ago, 2:30 AM #10
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I'd agree with the previous comments about public transport being pretty good, although of course it does vary depending on which company's running the service. Compared to most other coutries, though, it is pretty expensive. For instance, in my home town, an unlimited day trip bus ticket costs £5.60, which is a shade over US$7.00 at current exchange rates. Generally acros the board you'll find that services in the UK are on the expensive side, though not as expensive as Iceland...

OTOH, of course, there's the NHS which, in spite of its undoubted flaws, means you don't need to go bankrupt paying for medical bills.
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9 days ago, 2:46 AM #11
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I didn't know you were from the U.K.! Good luck with your move abd sorry things didn't work out. The U.S. isn't in shape ATM, but it's still a little sad to hear things were so bad someone had to leave.
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9 days ago, 3:07 AM #12
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BeeMKay:Just a general thing: the UK left the EU last year (the aforementioned Brexit), and as such, you'd have a different set of rules and regs applying, also i.e. in regards to further travelling / VISA etc.
It's at the moment pretty unclear as to how the UK rules will change after the one year interim period runs out this December. But it's something to keep in mind regarding mobility, insurance, and passport stuff.


Yeah... I am aware, but like you said, it's hard to tell at the moment how things are going to work out :/ It's definitely something I'll keep in mind, yeah


The Letter M:Having lived in the UK and Aus I think that the UK is a good place to be really young. The reason for that is that things are close together. You can walk to the high street in your town, village or city, whereas here you NEED your car.

For entertainment it all seems to be movies, local pub or sports clubs. Some bigger towns have a night club or 2.

It did annoy me last time I went to England and could not buy a bus ticket. They have completely done away with paying for a single ride. I was told I had to find a post office and fill out the paperwork for an oyster card. Major pain. Once you have one the public transport system is good. On time and working but usually shabby.

The price of groceries is super low but the price of eating out is super high. (Again, compared to Aus. Nowhere near as high as France) Over here in Aus you may as well eat out because the groceries for a meal would be the same aprox price but in the UK if you cook at home you save many times the cost of the meal.

There's quite a bit of racism over there from my experience, but you're probably not going to be on the receiving end as an American...depending on the racist they tend to aim at the French, South east Asians and Africans. :(



Honestly I don't think I'd be able to live in a place where I couldn't walk anywhere (I've stayed with relatives in US cities like that, did not like it at all).
Hah, that sounds nice to be able to eat out for cheap! In the US eating out is pretty expensive, I don't do it much. I'm fine with cooking for myself, I just wish groceries were a bit cheaper...
Hmm that's sad to hear about the racism :( (I'm Spanish with a very American accent so who knows what will happen)
Thanks for the info!

JammyTheBirb:It's not money that was the issue, the prices are... eh, ok, it's weird laws. If you want to move in with other unrelated adults, the house you rent has to be above a certain size and come with 'white goods' a fridge, washing machine, etc etc. This is supposed to protect tenants from landlords trying to rent out cupboards, but in practice, it just made it impossible for us to rent anywhere, because literally nowhere in our price range met the size requirements for the 4 of us (despite those places actually being plenty big enough!) It was really frustrating.

In the end, My friend went through a lot of faff to get a mortgage on a place, and because she can't work she had to lie and pretend to be in a relationship with one of the others. Since they're a 'couple' they don't count as unrelated adults anymore, and they can have two 'tenants' so technically those friends are gonna be my (and the third friend's) landlords. In practice we're all going to be paying the same amount for everything.

Yeah it was literally the only way for us to move in together, but at least we found a way.


Yiiikes, that sounds like a huge hassle! D: I'm glad you were able to work it out, but oof :( That's good to know though!

Lee M:I'd agree with the previous comments about public transport being pretty good, although of course it does vary depending on which company's running the service. Compared to most other coutries, though, it is pretty expensive. For instance, in my home town, an unlimited day trip bus ticket costs £5.60, which is a shade over US$7.00 at current exchange rates. Generally acros the board you'll find that services in the UK are on the expensive side, though not as expensive as Iceland...

OTOH, of course, there's the NHS which, in spite of its undoubted flaws, means you don't need to go bankrupt paying for medical bills.


Public healthcare is a great thing

As for transportation... well, it does sound a bit more expensive than here, but I suppose it balances out with other things that are cheaper (like food).
Thanks for the info!

mightguy15:I didn't know you were from the U.K.! Good luck with your move abd sorry things didn't work out. The U.S. isn't in shape ATM, but it's still a little sad to hear things were so bad someone had to leave.


Oh, I'm not from the UK (were you asking me?) I'm from Spain but also partly American, uhh it's a bit complicated x'D
As for wanting to leave, well... I did make it sound a bit dramatic in the original post yeah x'D it's actually something that's been building up over time. I don't hate this country, but it just doesn't feel right for me. I don't think it's somewhere that I really want to stay long-term (I say, even though I've been here for five years now). And the recent events were kind of just the last straw. Even so though, realistically I don't think I'll be moving until maybe two years from now. But now seemed like a good time to start thinking about it.
Thanks for the well-wishes, though!
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9 days ago, 3:19 AM #13
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Ahh, I see. Sorry for the assumption on my part, lol.

I actually have a friend from the U.K.(Great Britian) that used to be my co-worker at an old job i used to have. He is really proud of his home country and I only assume he came here just to see what it's like. From what I have seen and have been told from friends I have made from the U.K. (I have also met a lot of people from the U.K. in the military I also met a lot of South Koreans) the only issue a lot of people seem to have is with the government, although I would argue that that's probably the case everywhere and at the very least I hear healthcare is free in the U.K. There also seems to be a lot of really great schools!

I don't see why you shouldn't at least give it a try! Everyone I know that talks about it has nothing but praise for the place, but that's just my musings for whatever they are worth. I am happy that the others commented and offered much more in depth perspectives than I ever could, but hopefully I was able to offer some useful information. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best of luck!
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9 days ago, 4:29 AM #14
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I don't mean to say there's a lot of racist harassment, I just mean that in my 13 years there I encountered some racists..as I'm sure everyone has, everywhere.

A minor tangent related to going out drinking in England.

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9 days ago, 6:01 AM #15
JammyTheBirb:I live in Ely, Cambridgeshire.


Wat. I was born there and barely moved out of a 5-mile ring around the city almost my entire life. Until now, when I live on the other side of the world. Small world...

Also, my comic Felney is set in a fictional village, which is supposed to be just opposite Stuntney on the A142.

Anyway, as I now live in Japan, my opinion of the UK's public transport is somewhat different to the Americans who move there and think it's great. Actually it's horrendously bad. Trains are regularly delayed, or routed to the wrong station, sit there with the doors closed next to a crowded platform, then take off. Or else are scheduled on the TV screens, then just vanish because the driver / signalman forgot it's supposed to stop there. Outside of big cities, bus schedules are "if, not when". There might not be one at all. When I was unemployed, but driving, there were several times I had to rescue my granny from Ely because the bus that took her there never showed up to take her back.
Also Cambridge only just now got a second train station. My Japanese friends' jaws dropped when I told them that such a famous city only has two. The new station, described as "amazing" by some simpering local councillor in a Google Maps review, actually doesn't even meet minimum acceptable standards, lacking a shop, (apparently) a manned ticket desk, or even a roof.
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9 days ago, 11:29 AM #16
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I'm from the Republic of Ireland (the southern part, or "the part that doesn't like being glooped into the Britsh Isles"!). The main advantage for yourself will be being able to come here with your EU passport as opposed to Britain. And the Republic's pretty attractive, like you said, for folks looking for cheap (and good) education. Met a few from the US who've done it and loved it!

Our go-to colleges for most people are NUIG, Trinity, UCC, UCD, DCU, UL, CIT, LIT (LSAD specifically, though I'm biased) and plenty others. Look em up! I know a good few folks who've been to a lot of them; so I can find some anonymous testimonials if you'd like to hear about a specific college).

Transport's fairly good in cities (don't waste your time in the countryside though. There are local link minibuses, but that's basically it). And... naturally depends on the city (Dublin, you'll have no trouble -- tram and great buses; Cork, grand-ish; Limerick... fair enough).

Like what's been said already, not great for jobs here atm, though. They're there though, but difficult to come by.

Food, fantastic (again, biased!). For meat, dairy, and veg (and well, y'know, potatoes ofc), you're going to get good stuff without spending much at all (provided you opt for the plain, Irish dinner that you're not afraid to boil up yourself!). Compared to a lot of places, you can live very healthily here without breaking the bank.

What I personally love about the two places I've lived (I'm in Limerick, originally Cork): the PEOPLE. Some of us are gobshites (of course we are), but most people will go above and beyond to treat you as warmly as they can, invite you for drinks/tea. There is mild racism among mainly the older crowd, but on the whole it's negligible. Also, if culture is something you're interested in, we're drowned in it, for better or worse. And, naturally, the land and landscape (wouldn't be fair not to mention it).

The rent is expensive in Cork and Dublin -- Galway and Limerick are pretty cheap though!
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9 days ago, 1:20 PM #17
I'm based in Scotland. Honestly, I would wait to see what Brexit does (and potentially Scottish Independance, but that is a lot more unsure since it depends on Brexit). Most likely your European passport won't help too much as we are heading for a hard exit in January so you'd need to go through the normal vetting process for international students. Another thing to consider is price, studying in a UK university is not cheap. I'm pretty sure we're some of the most expensive in Europe? I know we are at minimum double the price compared to Germany at least and that's without including tuition fee costs. I would think Brexit will probably just make thst worse. I would put serious consideration into studying in a different european country. Also, after seeing how our universities have been treating students because of COVID... well, I'd advise looking around and weighing the costs. I'm pretty sure most european counties have plenty courses taught in English if that worries you.

Transport in the UK is stupidily expensive. Train fares are through the roof. I ride a train for 15-20mins for work and it costs me £64 a month. Before I moved, a 50min journey was £189 a month. That was just a bog-standard season ticket. I needed a special one since I needed rail and underground in Glasgow so it was more expensive than that per month. We have a pretty good network, but it's just so damn expensive. If you do use the train, expect train fares to increase every year as they have done since before I went to uni for the first time in 2009.

It also depends on where you plan on going. Scotland is much cheaper than the south the England. London and Oxbridge (Oxford/Cambridge) are bonkers expensive.
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9 days ago, 1:57 PM #18
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Are you sure it would be cheaper in the UK? A degree in England is about £9000 a year, and while private universities in America are definitely more expensive, public university degrees in some states are cheaper, I believe. Alternatively, you could look at Canada, where they're less expensive than England. Scotland meanwhile is similar to Canada - about £3-4000 a year, or free if you're Scottish.

I live in one of the most affordable regions of southern England but there's no university near where I live.

Life in the UK is okay, although perhaps not as good as it would be had Britain not voted to leave the EU in 2016. I'd say that food is for the most part nicer than in the United States - most processed food where you live has a kind of weird metallic-vanilla taste that I don't ever find in British or European produced food.

The overall standard of living between the UK and USA generally seems similar from what I know about America, though homes are definitely smaller in Britain, and generally have a less open plan downstairs. You can cross the road wherever you like in Britain as jaywalking isn't an offence, and can drink at 18 instead of 21, although you won't be able to buy a firearm.

Merged Doublepost:

YunikoYokai:I'm based in Scotland. Honestly, I would wait to see what Brexit does (and potentially Scottish Independance, but that is a lot more unsure since it depends on Brexit). Most likely your European passport won't help too much as we are heading for a hard exit in January so you'd need to go through the normal vetting process for international students. Another thing to consider is price, studying in a UK university is not cheap. I'm pretty sure we're some of the most expensive in Europe? I know we are at minimum double the price compared to Germany at least and that's without including tuition fee costs. I would think Brexit will probably just make thst worse. I would put serious consideration into studying in a different european country. Also, after seeing how our universities have been treating students because of COVID... well, I'd advise looking around and weighing the costs. I'm pretty sure most european counties have plenty courses taught in English if that worries you.

Transport in the UK is stupidily expensive. Train fares are through the roof. I ride a train for 15-20mins for work and it costs me £64 a month. Before I moved, a 50min journey was £189 a month. That was just a bog-standard season ticket. I needed a special one since I needed rail and underground in Glasgow so it was more expensive than that per month. We have a pretty good network, but it's just so damn expensive. If you do use the train, expect train fares to increase every year as they have done since before I went to uni for the first time in 2009.

It also depends on where you plan on going. Scotland is much cheaper than the south the England. London and Oxbridge (Oxford/Cambridge) are bonkers expensive.


Many places in America have very poor public transport though. Car petrol prices are also more expensive in Britain, though.
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9 days ago, 6:04 PM #19
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In terms of higher education, prices in the UK are so low compared to here that it's hard for me as an American to fully comprehend, similar to the fact that if my government cared a hair more I could go to the doctor for some concerns I have rn without spending hundreds of dollars. If you can arrange moving there for university you should imo. American state schools can be similar to the cost of uni in the UK, but generally only if you're a resident of that state, and not all state schools have good reputations so in some states you may not have any that work for your degree and career goals.

If you're a resident of New York (and maybe one or two other states?) and make under a certain amount of money you can now go to state schools with zero tuition which is better than nothing, but that still means you'll have to shell out a ton for room and board and books and all kinds of other little things.

Not super on-topic semi rant about American education costs
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Forum > Mediterranean Avenue > Considering moving to the British Isles in a few years, anybody got thoughts?
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