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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 3:30 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2010 7:00 pm
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Should a teenage Anglophile go to college (sorry, university) in the UK? His older brother says he'd be happier attending school in the States.

Judge John Hodgman Episode 153: God Save the Teen


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 10:42 pm 
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New Kid

Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:51 pm
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Location: Canada
I had to laugh when Calum pointed out that there would be no culture shock between Wisconsin and Scotland; especially when he pointed out that the two places speak the same language. I don't know many English people who think that the Scots speak the same language as them!


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 4:23 pm 
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Esteemed Donor
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Heh, yup.

And despite his later clearing this up to the contrary, I continue to believe that the reason Calum sees a $3500 trip to Scotland a waste of money compared to a $100,000 four-year university commitment is that he figured his parents plus loans would pay for the university education, while he'd have to work and grunt and save money to pay for the shorter trip himself.

I know the Judge and Bailiff covered this, but the big brother's concern about debt was my biggest concern, too. I went into some debt to pay for college, but I went to an inexpensive school in state, worked for the school and literally signed my paychecks back to the school, had help from my parents and still graduated with a few thousand in debt. My wife and I had about $18,000 in school debt when we graduated, which wouldn't cover a semester at Cornell then or now. We also both had degrees we could use in our chosen field, and we knew what we wanted our careers to be. I didn't get rich, but I did pay off my loans, and the difference in quality of life convinced me that it doesn't make sense to take on massive debt. I don't know how people like Calum's brother do it, and I thought it was clear that he was trying to save his brother from going through the same mess.

My twins are graduating from high school this year, and one will probably not go to college no matter what. Academics are not his thing, and he's been training as an EMT. He had planned on the military, but I think that's up in the air now. Anyway, I don't expect him to have to worry about whether to borrow money for college.
The other one is sure he wants to go to a four-year university, and that he wants to go out of state (no mention of Scotland or Wales so far, thank goodness, despite his Dr. Who obsession.) He's got nothing saved, we've got a little . . . and he knows we won't co-sign loans. We'll help cash-flow his education all we can, and he's welcome to live at home for free if he wants to go to school locally, especially if he needs to start at the local community college and establish a higher GPA to get into the school he wants, which seems likely.

In the end, Calum's got to make his own mistakes, but Calum, if you're reading this, the UK has been around for thousands of years and seems likely to continue to exist for some time. Don't get caught up in the idea that you have to go RIGHT NOW or that you have to justify going there by attending one of their universities. Take your time and do what seems best, not just what you feel compelled to do. And I'd also encourage you to learn from your brother. He has acquired wisdom about college and debt the hard way. He's trying to help you learn it the easy way. To learn from others is true wisdom.

(Also, remember that I guessed at your name's spelling based on the OP, so if it's wrong, they're really to blame.)


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 10:53 pm 
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New Kid

Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 6:12 pm
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Agreed. Some Scots’ accents are just charming, but others can be nearly incomprehensible, even to other Scots. I feel that comedian Kevin Bridges speaks slowly for a Glaswegian, but everyone I rave about him to still needs a translation on occasion.

But I created an account to post this for Callum, so hopefully he see this:

As a Midwest-born dude with Anglophile inclinations who majored in English Lit, I completely empathize with Callum. That being said, I've lived in Scotland for almost two years just now, and the judge is completely correct: it’s impossible to wrap your head around that many years abroad before actually making the move, especially if you've never even lived outside your home state. The experience can change after six months, twelve months, etc. in ways impossible to predict—as can you. Two years isn't a trifling amount of time to have to wait should you discover that, after two years overseas, you can’t stop reminiscing about thunderstorms or squeaky cheese or what sunshine feels like or whatever.

With its mild winters, contour lines, incredible seafood, and rich heritage, Scotland’s a fantastic change from the Midwest USA and I've really enjoyed living here, but I just wanted to note this in addition to what the judge advised: if money’s a determining factor and you’re torn between 1) a single holiday or 2) a four-year commitment, don’t underestimate how much you can gain from even one year abroad—there are great junior-year exchange programs which let you pay overseas tuition to your home school, or you could wait to earn a master’s degree (in just one year) in the UK/Scotland and then use your bonus year to travel using the money you didn't set on fire in 2015 when you exchanged four years’ worth of dollars to sterling and wired it overseas. You might have to wait a few years longer, but I've only just realized myself how much you can do in your 20s.

I second the above post wholeheartedly: follow your ambitions, but don’t feel compelled to acquiesce to urgency, either—spend just a year in Edinburgh and you might have an inkling of whether or not it’s your place in the world—if you find to your surprise that it isn't, then at least you’re free to keep looking.

Anyway, sorry this is so lengthy, but hopefully it helps. Cheers.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 6:33 pm 
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I was so happy to hear that Peter Cook monologue quoted at the top! This monologue - or rather the version on the "Original Broadway Cast" recording of Beyond the Fringe - was the first comedy thing I fell in love with on my own. I would recite it at length to anyone who would stand still. It made me absolutely insufferable for most of 5th grade.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 1:57 pm 
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Friend of the Family
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Study abroad can be learned can be used to learn about another culture or to study a subject from a different angle. It is also a good way to be introduced to a new country while still having a comfort of a liaison with your own. My first trip outside of the US was to England and Scotland because they "spoke English". In spite of the language similarities I encountered almost as much culture shock and Scotland and England as I did when I lived in Mexico. I say that he should do a study abroad that coincides with the festival that he wants to go to.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 11:59 pm 
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I'm only halfway through the episode and I am ready to murder Callum every time I hear him say "Edinboro". It's like nails on a chalkboard.


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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 7:03 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2009 2:59 pm
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA
I feel like I'm taking crazy pills. Unlike the goodly Judge and Jesse, most working adults in the US don't ever travel abroad. At my place of work, not even the top people can get approval for more than a week or two weeks at the very most. Those of us who don't need to take all our time for taking care of kids and loved ones, can only take one week and even if we can afford it, it's a waste of a vacation to spend such a huge part of it traveling and so much extra money spread out over how long you spend there to go abroad for a week. Americans do not get 3 and 4 week vacations like Europeans do. Just like parents don't get parental leave. It's a quality of life issue that is not addressed in our society. So you either get a special job, get a different career (which I have to chance, honestly, I may go to school to be a teacher and hate it or not be good at it just for the chance to travel before I die, which may be before I retire, after all), be wealthy or travel during your college years. Once you are over there, it's much cheaper to travel. I buy Callum's argument in the sense that the worst impediment to traveling to Europe is air fare (certainly in his case where time off is not an issue yet). Once you are in Europe, you can take a train to any number of countries for much cheaper than flying there and back every time, especially if you don't have the time off or money to do it. I may not travel until I'm retired, assuming I have more money than I only need to survive. I'm going to be in debt forever anyway. I wish I had had the courage to travel abroad when it was feasible.

I studied in Germany for a month and I kick myself to think I'll never have another month off until I'm old. Plus it cost a FORTUNE. Compared to isolated trips, staying abroad the whole time is cheaper. Not as cheap as staying in Wisconsin, but he has his whole life to stay in Wisconsin if he, like most Humanities majors right now, has crappy job prospects and will likely be staring at a computer until he's 70.


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