You’re a mom and want to study abroad? Here’s what you need to know

Hi there! My name is Nadia Atmaji I am an Indonesian student mom, currently studying Master of Digital Media at UCL, London. In this blog post, I would like to share with you five things that you need to know to prepare for your master’s.

Here are the steps for future student moms out there. I hope it can be useful for you:

1. Build a master plan with your partner

The first thing that you need to do is to talk it out to your husband or partner. You need to make him part of your plan. Tell him why you want to do this and why is it so important for you. You can say that you want to develop your skill, or you want to pivot a career, and for your personal fulfillment. There is research that said if both parents are smart, the happiness of the family will increase.

And then it goes to the next question: will your husband and child go abroad, accompany you studying?

There is no template for the answer to this question, really. The answer differs from one family to another. Some families think they can not be separated even just for a year, some families think it would work best if the mother who studies can go alone and focus on her study. The latter is my family situation. I will tell you the reason at the end of the blog.

The most important thing is to never compare your family’s situation to others. There is no better plan. Remember that you know your family best, not your mom, your dad, not other people.

2. Set financial plan for pre-departure and living cost

Even though I did not bring my family, I initially wanted to bring them along with me. So I already did some research about the financial matter. There are several components that need to be taken into account during the pandemic for departing to the UK:

  • Tuberculosis (TBC) Test +- 47.5 pounds
  • Visa 475 pounds
  • Health Insurance 700 pounds
  • PCR +- 23.5 pounds
  • Quarantine Hotel 2275 pounds
  • Airplane Ticket +- 3 million pounds

So, per person, you need around 1500 pounds. That is quite a lot amount of money.

PS: I travel from Indonesia, a red-list country when I departed to the UK, hence the hotel quarantine.

And then you need to also consider the living cost in the UK. Every city has a different living cost, so you might want to think about living in a more humble city rather than a big and expensive city like London.

3. The partner’s plan

Happy Husband and Wife Discussing Future Plan. Man and Woman Married Couple Planning House Purchase and Pregnancy Beginning. Newlyweds Sitting at Table in Home Living Room. Vector Illustration

If the money to fly to the UK is secured, now you have to think about what will your husband do when he and your child go abroad with you? Will he take a master’s program too, like you? Will he take a short course?

And then, let’s say the scholarship money that you receive will not be enough to survive in London. For accommodation, groceries, electricity, wifi. Therefore, will he work in order to support the family’s finance?

Ok, if he wants to work, what kind of job that he wants to apply to? Formal or informal? If formal, he can seek job vacancies at websites like LinkedIn, Indeed, Reed, Seek, etc. These types of jobs usually need more time to acquire because your husband is competing with locals, Europeans, etc. To get the job faster, there is another option which is informal jobs, your husband can knock on restaurants for vacancies. It definitely needs perseverance.

4. Childcare plan

If your husband gets a job, or he studies a master’s as well, then who will take care of your child? Will you drop your child in the daycare? How old is your child? If he/she is 3-4 years old, good news! They are entitled to free daycare (read here). But, if your child is under 3 years old, you need to give full payment to the daycare. How much is the daycare will cost you?

According to National Charity for Pregnancy UK (NCT UK) the cost for part-time childcare to full-time childcare is:

Part-time childcare costs

Type of childcareHow much does it cost? (UK average)How much does it cost? (inner London average)
Registered childminder (25 hours for a child under 2)£118 per week£164 per week
Day nursery (25 hours for a child under 2)£138 per week£180 per week
Part-time nanny (25 hours)£250-£400 per week including tax and NI contributions 
Au pair‘Pocket money’ of around £70-£85 per week plus room and board 
Source: Childminder and nursery costs from Family and Childcare Trust, 2021; part-time nanny guideline wages from Nannyplus.co.uk; au pair pocket money rates from GOV.UK

Full-time childcare costs

Type of childcareHow much does it cost? (UK average)How much does it cost? (inner London average)
Registered childminder (50 hours for a child under 2)£228 per week£303 per week
Day nursery (50 hours for a child under 2)£263 per week£321 per week
Live-in nanny (50 hours)£400 – £650 per week plus:
tax
National Insurance
room and board
£433 per week plus:
tax
National Insurance
room and board
Daily nanny (50 hours)£500-800 per week plus:
tax
National Insurance
room and board
£616 per week plus:
tax
National Insurance
room and board
Source: Childminder and nursery costs from Family and Childcare Trust, 2021; part-time nanny guideline wages from Nannyplus.co.uk.

5. Look for a family-friendly campus

You also need to consider the campus that you are applying to. What is the method of teaching like? Does it acquire you to go to campus all the time every day? Or does it allow you to study hybrid with online classes as well? Some of my student mom friends that bring their families are very grateful to have their classes hybrid of offline and online classes. Therefore, they will be able to cut the daycare cost and be with their child at home while paying attention to the lecture.

This list may not be conclusive, it can grow, depending on the situation of each family. In my case, I initially wanted to bring my family but the situation did not allow us to be. The reason is the combination of financial issues and security measures during the pandemic. Remember, every family is unique. There is no need to be discouraged if you can’t bring your family abroad. I hope more moms can pursue their dream of reaching higher education.

Thanks for reading the tips.

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