The 19-year-old will put her career on hold next month to enrol at an Ivy League college, thought to be Columbia University in New York.

While other young actresses in her position would head for Hollywood, Watson said she was thrilled at the thought of spending the next few years in academia. She has played Hermione Granger, a pupil at Hogwarts, since the age of 10

“At the end of August I’m going to university in the States, which I’m very excited about. I’m looking forward to a bit of normality for a while,” Watson said on the eve of the world premiere of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth film in the franchise.

“I don’t want to put a negative light on it, as if I’m escaping or anything like that, but I’m just looking forward to being a normal teenager for a bit and meeting people my own age.

“I’m going to sound really like Hermione Granger, but my comfort – my way of dealing with all of this if I’m ever really stressed – I will go and open a book and sit and read, and that will de-stress me. For me, learning has been my comfort. This is so geeky, but it’s what got me through. I love learning and I don’t really want to stop. It was always my dream before I did the films, so I didn’t see why that had to change.”

Watson said she hoped to fit in the odd acting project during her holidays. “There seems to have been a lot of confusion in the media, because I’m going to university, that university and acting are mutually exclusive – that I can’t act as well as study at the same time. I seem to have managed it up to this time!”

The teenager was recently unveiled as the face of Burberry and is a regular at fashion shows. “As I get older, I’m aware people care about what I put on my body, which is strange,” she said, explaining that her foray into modelling is a way of distancing herself from her role as Hermione.

“I’ve been trying to play different characters in each of the fashion shoots I’ve done and I hope that people can look at me differently. It would be very naive of me not to be aware that it will be hard for audiences to separate us from these characters we are so identified with, so I think that has been my way of expressing myself.”

Watson was joined by Radcliffe and Grint at a press conference for the Harry Potter film, which opens nationwide on July 15.

Grint was recently diagnosed with swine flu, but has made a full recovery. “It was quite scary when they first told me I had swine flu, after what’s been in the press and stuff. I thought, ‘Am I going to die?’ But it was just like any other flu I’ve had before. I just had a sore throat,” he said.