Written by Kaloyan
2019 - 2021
BSc (Hons) Games Software Engineering
Coming to Bournemouth University from Bulgaria has been the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced. I remember adjusting to my new lifestyle – the first month was an absolutely surreal experience. Not only did I now have to live on my own, but I also had complete control over my monthly budget. Additionally, the sheer amount of novel (and pricey) experiences available to me didn’t make it easy to budget wisely. The first couple of months were quite hectic whilst I acclimatised to the new environment. Any attempts at budgeting back then were futile as I had not yet developed a consistent financial routine which I could follow.
Fortunately, in my first semester, I managed to become a Student Ambassador for the University which, in my opinion, is the best part-time job you can get as a student. It consists of fun light work and some amazing opportunities for networking. Working at University-organised events has provided me with not only great friendships but also professional prospects. On top of all that, I have complete freedom over the hours I work – if I am in an exam session, I usually don’t take any jobs. The only downside is that work is not consistent and can be spread out.
Additionally, I was eligible for the BU Maintenance Bursary which adds around £120 to my monthly budget. I encourage all Bulgarian students to check if they meet the eligibility criteria and apply for it, since it is money you don’t have to pay back. Unfortunately, due to Brexit, this is the last year EU students have access to funding support, so if you are planning to study in the UK, it is definitely better to start this year, instead of deferring.
Anyway, back to my financial struggles. I’ll spare you my awful spreadsheet budget plan and simply direct you over to the Living Expenses section of the BU website. It is pretty in line with my budgeting experience. It is important to note that food expenses will vary from person to person. To elaborate, when I came here, I got on a sports team, so nutrition was very important for me. However, I couldn’t rely on my mom’s exquisite cooking skills anymore, and quickly realised that the ready meals my peers were having were not very nutritious. Takeaways were also simply too expensive. So, my biggest financial recommendation for future students is simply learn how to cook. Food is an unavoidable expense; if you make it healthy and enjoyable, it will set you up for a much more fun university experience.
Cook-off with friends
In my observations, finances are always a very demanding issue for Bulgarian students in the UK. And yet, we always persevere thanks to our amazing determination. I am sure anyone who is hesitant is more than capable to come to study at Bournemouth University. Good luck, dear reader, in your journey.