Produced by Manya Deora
MA Advertising student from India
Studying abroad is an exciting and life-changing experience. However, with the excitement comes a range of challenges, including adjusting to a new culture, language barriers, and homesickness. One of the most significant challenges faced by international students this year was the cost of living and accommodation crisis. Such costs in the UK are much higher than what students are used to in their home countries.
In September 2022, I moved to Bournemouth to begin my master’s programme in advertising. I was quite eager to visit the UK, but when the time finally came, I became anxious since I was unable to find accommodation. Thankfully, I was able to locate a short-term private residence with incredible live landlords. The only drawback was that the university was a one-hour, thirty-minute bus ride away from my residence which was in Verwood. I had a hard time getting to and from the university every day. I had an evening lecture once a week that lasted until 7:00 pm, and the last bus that would take me home left at 6:50 pm. That was quite terrifying because if I missed the bus, I would not have a place to stay. I am so thankful for such supporting landlords and Bournemouth University who understood the situation and helped me out.
On my fourth week here, I received a letter from the university. The email stated that the students are qualified for an accommodation bursary* from the university. All I had to do was reply, outlining my circumstances and providing documentation proving that I am staying in a temporary place. I received a response within a week confirming that I am qualified for the bursary outlining the next steps in submitting a claim. The assistance that was covered in the accommodation bursary is listed below.
Priority Waiting List for Accommodation
One of my main concerns was being able to find an affordable permanent accommodation. I reached out to the Student Accommodation team at Bournemouth University, who placed me on a priority waiting list for accommodation. This meant that I was given priority when it came to securing a room in university accommodation, which helped to alleviate some of the stress I was experiencing.
The Accommodation Bursary* was a monthly financial assistance program that helps students contribute to the costs of living. A monthly bursary of £350 per month was given to contribute towards some of your living costs until the university offers you a place in University accommodation (these payments will be paid on a pre-paid Visa card). I received £350 on my prepaid card for the first month and the next month an offer was made to live in one of the university accommodations. I was fortunate enough to receive this bursary during my time at Bournemouth University, which helped me pay for my groceries and other bills while pursuing my studies.
Free BU UNIBUS Pass
As part of the Accommodation Bursary, Bournemouth University provided a free BU UNIBUS pass for the duration of the bursary which in my case was for a month. This allowed me to travel to and from the university without incurring any additional costs, which was a significant relief.
Overall, the support provided by Bournemouth University during my cost of the living crisis was invaluable. The priority waiting list for accommodation, monthly bursary, and free BU UNIBUS pass helped to alleviate some of the financial strain I was experiencing and allowed me to focus on my studies without worrying about my finances. I am grateful for the support that Bournemouth University provides to its students and would recommend the university to anyone who is looking for a supportive and caring learning environment.
*The Accommodation Bursary was available to new students who started in September 2022. This bursary is no longer available.