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Top tips for American graduates studying in London

As an American graduate moving to London for the next phase of your educational journey, you’ll want to learn how to make your move a success. Our three top tips will pave the way to an enriching experience in the UK capital.

Top tips for American graduates studying in London

Are you an ambitious American graduate seeking to create a foundation for your career and gain an enriching life experience by enrolling on a postgrad course in London? The reasons for studying in one of the world’s truly great cities are compelling: top schools, access to prestigious employers, high salaries, short programmes, lower fees than the US. And when you’re not writing essays, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in London’s energy, history and diversity – plus the rest of Europe is practically on your doorstep.

You’ll have lots to organise once you’ve secured a place on the right course – not least your finances, accommodation and visa – but not a lot of time to do it. So, here are three top tips that will take the hassle out of planning your move to London.

Pay your rent upfront

As an American graduate, you won’t have a salary to fund your life in London – so you must be practical with your money. Paying your rent upfront is often the best way for overseas students to manage their finances effectively. With this major expense taken care of, you can budget accurately for the rest of your outgoings.

The sum amount paid upfront can be anywhere from six to 36 months’ rent – this is dependent on your tenancy length and subject to the owner’s approval. Landlords are usually happy to accept this arrangement because it minimises their exposure to non-payment rent arrears.

Agree in writing that the money being paid to the landlord is advance rent, not a deposit. Deposits must be protected by the landlord in a government-approved scheme. Make sure your landlord is aware of this, so they don’t mistake your rent lump sum for an unprotected deposit.

Open a multi-currency account with Wise

Moving across the pond as an American graduate isn’t cheap. To fund your stay in London – from bills and social costs to tuition fees – you might have to transfer money from your US savings to the UK, or you might receive money from your loved ones. This exposes your finances to currency market risk as you attempt to navigate the dynamic world of exchange rates.

Banks and money transfer services often mark up their exchange rates and charge high fees for sending money overseas. By opening an account with Wise, you can rest assured that you will receive the real exchange rate with transparent, upfront fees. And you can manage your money anytime, anywhere using the Wise mobile app, which tracks your transactions in real-time to help you stay on budget.

Arranging your student visa

As an American graduate hoping to study in the UK, you’ll need to apply for a Student Route visa. According to the UK government, you can apply for a Student Route visa to study in the UK if you’re 16 or over and you:

  • Have been offered a place on a course by a licensed student sponsor
  • Have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course – the amount will vary depending on your circumstances
  • Can speak, read, write and understand English
  • Have consent from your parents if you’re 16 or 17 – you’ll need evidence of this when you apply

The earliest you can apply for a Student Route visa from outside the UK is six months before you start your course – and you’ll usually get a decision within three weeks.

The amount of time you’re permitted to stay in the UK depends on the length of your course and any study you’ve already completed in the UK.

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