Daughter going to college in Glasgow

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ccieemeritus
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Daughter going to college in Glasgow

Post by ccieemeritus » Fri Apr 05, 2019 11:08 pm

It is likely my 23 year old daughter will be going to college (Vet school) in Glasgow starting in September. We have a campus visit planned shortly. Here's what I've figured out so far:

The school/program is on the right list so our 529/coverdell plans will apply.
First year she will likely be in campus housing.
If she opens a bank account in Glasgow, she needs to report it in the US...or else.
We'll need to get her iPhone on a local provider.
We'll need to get a multiyear student visa, and pay the $400/year health insurance contribution.

At this point I'm sure there's a ton of things I don't know. For example I haven't figured out the mechanics of paying the school. Write a check? In pounds or dollars? I'm sure the school will be "happy" to help me with that one ;-)

I'd appreciate any general tips for a US citizen living in the UK as a student.

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: Daughter going to college in Glasgow

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Fri Apr 05, 2019 11:17 pm

Count your lucky stars she is going to the UK when the pound is at $1.30, instead of $2 like when I was a student there in 2007.

dcabler
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Re: Daughter going to college in Glasgow

Post by dcabler » Sat Apr 06, 2019 7:08 am

ccieemeritus wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 11:08 pm
It is likely my 23 year old daughter will be going to college (Vet school) in Glasgow starting in September. We have a campus visit planned shortly. Here's what I've figured out so far:

The school/program is on the right list so our 529/coverdell plans will apply.
First year she will likely be in campus housing.
If she opens a bank account in Glasgow, she needs to report it in the US...or else.
We'll need to get her iPhone on a local provider.
We'll need to get a multiyear student visa, and pay the $400/year health insurance contribution.

At this point I'm sure there's a ton of things I don't know. For example I haven't figured out the mechanics of paying the school. Write a check? In pounds or dollars? I'm sure the school will be "happy" to help me with that one ;-)

I'd appreciate any general tips for a US citizen living in the UK as a student.
Yep, the school will help you. Across the pond, it's pretty common to use wire transfers, but I'm sure they'll let you know what needs to be done.

livesoft
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Re: Daughter going to college in Glasgow

Post by livesoft » Sat Apr 06, 2019 7:12 am

I moved to Europe at about that age. My advice: She's an adult. Let her figure it out on her own and tell you about it.
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keri
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Re: Daughter going to college in Glasgow

Post by keri » Sat Apr 06, 2019 7:22 am

You can probably do a wire transfer or an ach. I use transferwise for sending dollars to my English account, great rates, no fuss. She will have to declare the overseas account if at any point in the year it contains more than 10,000 in us value. Otherwise not.

mageedge
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Re: Daughter going to college in Glasgow

Post by mageedge » Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:16 am

When my daughter spent a year at Durham University in England she used a Charles Schwab debit card rather than open a UK bank account. (The university students union folk could have assisted with process for opening a local account if she needed it).

I'm not familiar with Glasgow's options but you may be able to pay fees online using debit/credit card, otherwise - as others have noted - ACH transfer. Transferwise offers some of the best exchange rates if going that route.

For phone, pay as you go SIM's are almost universal in the UK - challenge is sorting through all the deals on offer - again getting recommendations from students union when she gets there is probably simplest. If you're concerned about having a connection immediately on landing Amazon offers various UK 30 day sim cards (from providers such as Three) that you could get ahead of time to get her started. (BTW, if you're not familiar, in the UK incoming calls/messages are all free).

I expect your daughter will have a great time. Adjusting to the differences is part of the fun. Ironically, since we're all supposed to speak the same language, her biggest challenge may be getting used to the Glaswegian accent!!

FireProof
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Re: Daughter going to college in Glasgow

Post by FireProof » Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:31 am

N26 is a good free bank account that can be set up in minutes, with TransferWise integrated and (a limited number of) free ATM withdrawals. Fintech is pretty advanced in the UK, so there are other options, too, though not sure how they compare. Charles Schwab should be adequate, too - I've managed to get by using it exclusively for the last 6+ years living outside of the US in South America, Asia and Europe (I do actually have a German N26 account, but never use it except for depositing on poker sites, which is not a common need).

Phone service is much cheaper and more convenient outside the US, and there will be many cheap prepaid SIM card options that are fairly interchangeable.

No need to report bank accounts unless value is over $10K.

Always pay in the local currency! You want to choose the exchange rate, not the payment provider.

But as mentioned, if she's 23 and going to grad school, I'm sure she can handle everything, except maybe putting up the cash!

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ResearchMed
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Re: Daughter going to college in Glasgow

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:34 am

Don't forget about the "Two Countries Separated By A Common Language" issues :wink:

You might suggest that she spend a bit of time reading about some of the "same words that are NOT the same", to avoid some embarrassment.
Some of those differences are just funny or confusing, but a few can be embarrassing, possibly a bit more so for a woman. (Ah, memories of my post-doc in the UK...!)

She should have a fantastic time, and it will be an invaluable experience.

RM
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SrGrumpy
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Re: Daughter going to college in Glasgow

Post by SrGrumpy » Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:40 am

My cousin's thinking of going to med school in Edinburgh. Most important thing is the, er, language barrier. I told her to watch Scottish TV shows on Netflix, e.g. Shetland (which does have some Glaswegian characters, bad guys of course). It can be a challenge. P.S. I guarantee foreigners make up a significant minority at the university, so the infrastructure will be in place to help them at every turn.

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Bogle7
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Re: Daughter going to college in Glasgow

Post by Bogle7 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 1:41 pm

1. It was $2.08 to the £ when our daughter did her semester in the UK.

2. Watch this and cringe
https://www.hgtv.com/shows/house-hunter ... in-glasgow

Rams2go
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Re: Daughter going to college in Glasgow

Post by Rams2go » Sun Apr 07, 2019 3:57 pm

Eat breakfast here: Singl-end Cafe & Bakehouse Garnethill

You won't be disappointed.

Valuethinker
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Re: Daughter going to college in Glasgow

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Apr 07, 2019 4:05 pm

SrGrumpy wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:40 am
My cousin's thinking of going to med school in Edinburgh. Most important thing is the, er, language barrier. I told her to watch Scottish TV shows on Netflix, e.g. Shetland (which does have some Glaswegian characters, bad guys of course). It can be a challenge. P.S. I guarantee foreigners make up a significant minority at the university, so the infrastructure will be in place to help them at every turn.
West Coast Scottish is a lot more impenetrable than East Coast Scottish. I don't have much trouble with the latter, but after nearly 30 years in the UK, the former ...

"Taggart" comes to mind if it is shown in the UK.

edudumb
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Re: Daughter going to college in Glasgow

Post by edudumb » Sun Apr 07, 2019 4:32 pm

HSBC is big in UK. Back when I lived in London, I used HSBC international acct. You can check it with HSBC in US.

Valuethinker
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Re: Daughter going to college in Glasgow

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Apr 07, 2019 4:34 pm

ccieemeritus wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 11:08 pm
It is likely my 23 year old daughter will be going to college (Vet school) in Glasgow starting in September. We have a campus visit planned shortly. Here's what I've figured out so far:

The school/program is on the right list so our 529/coverdell plans will apply.
First year she will likely be in campus housing.
If she opens a bank account in Glasgow, she needs to report it in the US...or else.
We'll need to get her iPhone on a local provider.
We'll need to get a multiyear student visa, and pay the $400/year health insurance contribution.

At this point I'm sure there's a ton of things I don't know. For example I haven't figured out the mechanics of paying the school. Write a check? In pounds or dollars? I'm sure the school will be "happy" to help me with that one ;-)

I'd appreciate any general tips for a US citizen living in the UK as a student.
You will pay by wire transfer. Americans use SWIFT, I think Europeans use IBAN. Or probably best - wire transfer to her account then she pays the university by cheque or electronic transfer (the deposit for tuition you will need to make).

If she is renting then first and last month's rent deposit is normal. There is a tenant deposit protection scheme.

(Some things are different between Scotland, which has its own government & England + Wales, which tend to have the same laws - Scotland has a different legal system. I've never actually lived in Scotland but I am fairly certain of what I say here).

Cash and cheques are fast dying out. In truth I almost always use touch & pay. However the legal protections on a credit card are greater than on a debit card. I would hope she could get a credit card via her bank quite quickly, and then use that, even for small transactions. I almost never use my debit card except 1). where there are extra charges on a credit card (and for big things like holidays, even then - I'd rather pay the 2.5% and have some recourse if things go wrong) 2). to withdraw cash.

Because you can go overdrawn right away on a bank account (and thus could commit a fraud if you skipped out) opening your first bank account can be something of a challenge, and there will be a FATCA related form to fill out -- because of American nationality (W8BN is the one I fill out to deny American nationality, from memory). Again the university should be able to give advice.

As bank branches are open restricted hours (like 10-5), it's helpful to get a bank account at a branch near the campus -- you often have to go and queue up to sort something out.

All banks are equally mediocre, I think. Bank of Scotland (Lloyd's) is one possibility. Royal Bank of Scotland has had some awful computer systems problems - unless they have a special arrangement for foreign students - I'd tend to avoid.

There's no problem using BOS or RBS currency notes in Scotland (of course). However they are not so readily accepted in England if she travels south of the border. Legally they are 1-for-1 with Bank of England notes, but not everyone will accept them (and I think the legal position is they do not have to).

Phones are best on prepaid. Students Union or overseas students office should have some recommendations. moneysavingexpert.com has some good tips on that sort of thing.

Check Home Office website (& university) re visas.

The waits for specialist appointments in the NHS can be a real bore (you can jump the queue by going private). Not sure what the insurance arrangements are for students under a visa. That said, the NHS is free at point of dispense so there is not usually the paperwork hassle that confronts someone in an American ER ("Casualty"). If it is something serious then the NHS usually reacts with speed and quality of care-- the hospital ward may be nothing to write home about, but the acute quality of care is usually pretty good. Chronic on the other hand it is hit or miss ...

If you are seriously ill or injured it's actually better to go to hospital by (free) ambulance, because they will triage you immediately, whereas you can sit in Accident & Emergency for 5 hours before anyone sees you.

The Glaswegian accent is thick and they have their own words for lots of things -- it's the one accent in the British Isles I still struggle with. Glasgow does have some of the worst slums in Europe, but there's no particular reason to go there.

The weather runs to the seriously depressing - grey and (check the latitude) a lot longer winter nights than the lower 48 US states. Scotland (perhaps not coincidentally, the medical link is unproven) has the highest level of Multiple Sclerosis in the world. It is suggested (by the Chief Medical Officer of Scotland, among others) that one take vitamin D supplements (the milk does not have Vitamin D added, AFAIK) at least in the winter months.

Climbing Ben Nevis is often attempted (you can walk to the top). It also seems to kill climbers every long weekend at least - the weather is seriously changeable up there, should only be attempted by those with expertise and preparation.

Rangers v. Celtics game is "the Old Firm". Rangers is the team traditionally associated with Protestantism, Celtics with Catholicism. Historically it has included violence between the fans (you don't walk into a pub that supports one side, in the colours of the other; but that's true of any football game in the UK). Interestingly incidents of spousal abuse spike when the Old Firm plays -- the police have posters about it.

Glasgow was an industrial city that fell a long way (at one time 1/3 ships in the world were built on the River Clyde). Some of its slums still bear those scars - one of the worst drug problems in Europe. It has a rough edge a "Glasgow kiss" is to punch someone on the face. The city has had an amazing renaissance in the last 25 years and the downtown is beautiful, historic and lively. Glaswegians are themselves "in your face" but also loving and warm.

Edinburgh is great for a weekend jaunt - much more touristy and middle class, but also historic. There's so much to see in Scotland - beautiful countryside (the midges (biting insects) on the west coast are fearsome, however).

It's a great veterinary school, and a fine university. The people up there are amazing. She will have a great time there.

Valuethinker
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Re: Daughter going to college in Glasgow

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Apr 07, 2019 4:36 pm

edudumb wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 4:32 pm
HSBC is big in UK. Back when I lived in London, I used HSBC international acct. You can check it with HSBC in US.
Might a bit less visible in Scotland - not sure (it was The Midland Bank, which was an English bank).

If they can genuinely make the international links work, that would be good (historically I experienced that the non UK and UK networks of the same bank were totally separate and could not exchange information).

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