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May 2009



Not impressed, Citibank

Written by , Posted in Adventures

Since I’ll be living in London for at least a year, I’ll need to open a bank account there. I believe that a friend of mine was able to open an account in the US in british pounds, although I’m going to have to confirm that with her later this weekend.

I bank with Citibank. While yes, they are having some financial issues right now, I like them because they have branches in NYC and my hometown, and ATMs in Seattle. Plus, they have a big overseas presence. So, silly me, I thought that since they are part of a global network of banks under the Citigroup name, someone, somewhere, might be able to help me figure out how to open a British account and have it be connected to my US account. I’m sure there are some issues – the accounts would have different rules, and be based somewhere else – but it seems quite silly that I would need to have two entirely different banking systems set up to be able to have accounts at what is represented to the public as the same bank

I’ve spoken to many nice Citibank people today (and amazingly haven’t come close to losing my temper), and not a single one even knows where to begin. I live in NYC; I can’t be the first person in the history of Citibank to have this question. 

I also tried HSBC. Fun fact: HSBC phone customer service won’t speak to you unless you are already a customer. So no option to get answers from them, or get transfered to someone who might know, unless I already have an account. Excellent.



May 2009





May 2009



Oh Holy Crap

Written by , Posted in Adventures

These are the kind of decisions that I am lucky to have to make, but man, I’m kind of freaking out a little right now.

After I got back from my trip to London this winter, I decided I would apply to graduate school in the UK. I did it as a bit of a fluke, but also becaue I really like the UK, I’ve never lived outside the US, and I’d love to get another Master’s degree.

Well, I got in! To both programs to which I applied.

1. Queen’s University Belfast – Master of Arts in Violence, Terrorism and Security

I found out about this one last week. It’s about 24,000 pounds all together, or about $36,000 (I may be rounding poorly, but that’s a good estimate). It would allow me to really focus on the Northern Ireland issues that interest me so much, and possibly lead me to a more academic career, or one focused on security back in the States.

2. London School of Economics – Master of Science in Philosophy and Public Policy

I found out about this one this morning. Oh man. It’s about 34,000 pounds, or about $50,000. Of which I have . . . not a lot. I don’t think I could really afford it, but at the same time it’s probably a better option for me in terms of career opportunities. I also have really good friends in London.

Ack! I don’t know what to do. I don’t have to decide today, but I do need to decide pretty darn quickly.