I am an American possibly interested in studying in the UK. I'm looking to study for a Master's in something political science related. In addition to the UK, Canada is also a possibility.
My main concern is that, with the closing of the PSW visa, dropping 35,000+ dollars for a UK degree probably isn't advantageous. Despite this, I've always loved the country and its educational institutions. Even so, being forced to leave after dropping that much money just seems really painful and counterproductive.
A consultancy firm I've been talking to whose job it is to place international students into UK universities assures me that there will be plenty of opportunities for international graduates under the employee sponsorship system, but I don't buy it - it's their job to say that, that's what the universities contract them for.
Are there any advantages to studying there even without the prospect of being able to stay? Do any other international grad students have any insight into employment post PSW closing?
This is a really tricky question. I'm from Canada, and I love UK institutions, having studied there on exchange. This being said, it depends largely on where you go and the programme that you are taking. If you can get into a good university there with a good specialization in your field, then it could be worth it, because it will be recognised if you do have to go back home.
You can also consider that studying abroad always looks good in general on a resume, on top of being a really good personal experience.
I have the advantage of the Youth Mobility Visa, and getting into UCL, so for me, it is worth it. I have heard of people getting sponsored by companies, but it always depends on the company. Some companies are always sponsoring people, and are used to this process. I would say though that with so many graduates looking for jobs there right now, it may be tough if they have to go through that extra trouble for you.
What universities are you looking at in Canada? I went to Queen's… definitely one for you to consider.
Another thing to keep in mind, with Student Visas, you usually need a lot of the money up front, it’s ridiculous. I’m going on a Youth Mobility Visa, so I only needed 1800 pounds in my bank account, but for a Student Visa, you need all of your tuition, and nine months worth of maintenance, which is almost 1000 pounds for each month, and this has to be sitting in your account for at least 28 days leading up to your application… that is, unless you get a letter that you have a loan, or some other type of funding that covers the whole amount. To get a Student Visa, I would have needed 36,000$ up front in cash or loans, which is difficult to get when you are going international, especially when you are only going for a MA… and not some medical degree.