I am wondering if anyone can offer some assistance or advice with my current situation. I recently got my acceptance letter from the London School of Economics (LSE) to begin a masters program in September 2011 for International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies. Needless to say I was shocked and thrilled at this dream come true. I truly was not prepared for such wonderful news and all of the complexities that go along with studying in another country as a diabetic, or financing my education there.
I decided kind of at the last minute to apply at LSE. Now that I have been accepted, I have been exhausting every opportunity to find a way to finance my studies. I was able to pay for my undergraduate studies with a combination of scholarship funds and loans, but graduate school scholarships and grants are limited. Because I applied late, unfortunately most deadlines for these opportunities have passed. Despite sincere efforts I can't seem to find any institutions, donors, or organizations who can offer me financial support.
This is the biggest (and possibly most life-changing) thing that has ever happened to me because it is my goal to work in international development to solve global inadequacies. An education at such a prestigious institution will allow me to move towards that goal.
My medical costs have, as many of you know, been a financial burden. I want to prove to myself that my disease cannot hold me back, but I also want to send that message to others. I studied abroad in Spain for a semester but even that showed me how challenging this disease can be. I want to go to London to further my dreams, but I am afraid it may be at the cost of my health. I will work hard to stay healthy while there, but It's scary to think that something could happen in a foreign place and that I will be there for a whole year.
So I'm asking for two things. Advice on how to handle this great opportunity as a diabetic and any ideas about financial assistance. I've already tried emailing a lot of the diabetes foundations about funding, but to no avail. I know that I can make the greatest deal of positive change if I am able to seize this opportunity and finance my education. If I am able to take this step I will be able to help so many people.

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well at least the healthcare is free over here :) good luck with everything
Ask to defer your admission for a year and then do the scholarship and grant apps.

I'm surprised that medical issues are not a barrier to getting a student visa. I mean, it's got to be expensive for a welfare state to take on the care of a foreign diabetic who hasn't contributed to the system.
I have thought about deferring, but some programs don't allow that, so i'd like to see if it is at all possible to go this year before taking that option.
I have not yet tried to get a visa but I assume since the school accepted me, knowing about my condition, it wouldn't be impossible to get a visa.
Just curious, but will your medical costs have to be covered by your U.S. health insurance, or will the National Health Service (NHS) in the U.K. pick up those costs? I am just curious.
I'm waiting to hear from the school about that. I know that students with a visa to study for longer than six months (which i will be) are eligible for national health care services. I don't know how being diabetic will effect that option, but hopefully they get back to me soon about it.
Congratulations! That is a huge account accomplishment and I laud your goal. You should join the UK group here: http://www.tudiabetes.org/group/unitedkingdom?commentId=583967%3ACo.... I bet the members of that group would have some valuable advice.
If you are a student or are diabetic, if you register with a doctor as soon as you get there, all your medications are free! How is that for good news? Anyone who has a chronic disease gets free medication, no matter what it is for.

I am from the UK on 17 different medications and I get everything for free. You will be given a prescription form by the doctor with all the medications that you need and you just go to the pharmacy (it is better to go to the same one each time, especially if you are on something unusual, and then they will order what you need if you do not have it and continue to order it while you are in the country. I am on pork insulin and not all companies can get it, but once my pharmacy knew that I would be a regular they always stock it in their fridge), and you need to tick the box on the back saying that you have a medical exemption certificate and Bob's your uncle.
Hi Eliza,
Hope you've worked out about coming to London. Just to reassure you I think you'll be fine. I'm from UK but did the same masters programme at LSE a couple of years ago (really enjoyed it). There is a doctor's surgery you can register with on campus that is NHS. They have loads of foreign students there that would be in the same situation. I got quite sick with ketones my first term and saw the doctor at that surgery who had me admitted to the nearest hospital and wrote letter to take with me etc. I also missed 3 weeks of term and my professors in DESTIN were very supportive in helping me catch up. The great thing about UK is it's all free on the NHS. Hope you really enjoy it, since graduating I've been working in UK, Uganda and asia in communications for humanitarian NGOs. Good luck and let me know if you need to know anything about the course or diabetes. Laura
Laura,
Thanks for your input here! I'm glad to know that DESTIN is pretty supportive and understanding. I've spoken with the disability and well-being office and they seem to be pretty accommodating! Can you tell me more about what you thought of the program and if you agree with Lila insights that the school is "masters factory"? I hope it to be more than that but want to heed her words and see what others think!
Thanks again,
Eliza
Well I think I can offer a few helpful tips, having done a Master's at the LSE myself.

I'm sorry about the funding problems. Unfortunately, many funding deadlines are very early in the year. Once the deadline is passed, there is not much you can do about it. If you still can't find funding, your best bet is to defer admission and start applying now for funding for the academic year 2012-3. Unfortunately there will always be more people needing funding than funds.

I wouldn't be too overwhelmed by the 'prestige' of the LSE. To be honest I disliked the place immensely. Their masters' programmes in particular are money-making machines. The school is a master's degree factory to be honest. And one of their most lucrative target audiences are starry-eyed Americans who love the idea of living in London. Sorry to sound harsh but unfortunately this is the truth.

Class sizes are large, and a lot of the course is actually self-study. Good luck trying to find a seat in the library; the campus is small and cramped and dingy and there is nowhere for students to hang out other than a cigarette-strewn alleyway and overpriced coffee places.

And I won't even get started on the ludicrous cost of living in London.

On a more positive note, being diabetic is completely irrelevant to your academics, to any funding decisions, and to any visa decisions. As a student on a legal visa, you are entitled to full NHS rights. You can see your GP as many times as you like for free, hospital care is free, and all your basic diabetes kit is free. You won't be able to get a pump or a CGMS but the insulin, needles, lancets, test strips and all the other basic kit you need to keep yourself alive is free. You will need to complete some easy paperwork but that's relatively painless.

It is an incredible relief not to have to worry about buying all the basic and vital diabetes kit. So that is one worry settled at least. Good luck on the hard part, the academic funding!
Thanks for your response and thoughts, Lila! May I ask, were you coming from America to do your masters there? I'm sad to hear that you think that LSE masters programs are just out to take your money. I've heard such great things from other students and professors, so i'm taking my chances in going there, and hopefully its worth it.
I'm also excited that i'll be under the health care system and don't have to pay for supplies. I already have an insulin pump so i wonder if my pump supplies will be covered?
Thanks again!

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