Summer survival tips for the broke and bored student

As I embark upon my final blog for the time being, I thought it would be useful to do a little piece on how to get the most out of this summer if you’re on a budget (which most students are). I have a mixture of free and cheap activities and excursions for you, so keep reading!

Dine in – with a twist4919149291_fec3a667a7_b

If you can’t really afford to eat out but you want to jazz up your evening of eating in then how about a friends Come Dine With Me? Obviously this won’t be completely cost free, but you can set a spending limit. Gather a group of probably 4-6 friends, and pair up. Each pair will host a Come Dine With Me evening! If you’re trying to cut the costs then make it an alcohol free evening, otherwise you can’t go wrong with some Aldi wine! You could also choose to cut out the starter in a bid to save those pennies. Giving the night a theme could be fun – Spain, India, USA or whatever. After you’ve all hosted your dinner, you’ll do the vote to see who is victorious. Due to the budget, the prize will be pride. Or maybe a small box of chocolates from Poundland.

Days outVictoria_&_Albert_Museum_Entrance,_London,_UK_-_Diliff

There’s lots of ways to spend a fun day out without splashing the cash. Most major cities are home to at least one free museum. Be it Edinburgh’s National Museum of Scotland, London’s V&A or British Museum, The Manchester Museum, or any of the hundreds of other free museums nationwide, you are bound to enjoy your day of culture. If, by some miracle, the weather is decent, then a walk or a bike ride is great. If you don’t own a bike, then I’m sure you know someone who does. Bike around the city or find a nature trail and explore the surrounding countryside. You could even find a biking group and join them on an adventure. There are often walking groups on Facebook who welcome new members. If you’re a dog owner then find some other pooch lovers and go on an exploratory walk!

Nights outRum,_Manhattan,_Tequila_Old_Fashioned

If you are desperate to get out on the town but are worried about the cost, then how about looking for places that offer a good happy hour? Happy hour deals can be considerably cheaper than normal, often offering cheap beer or 2 for 1 cocktails. Likewise, most pubs and bars have special deals on any given night – e.g. Margarita Mondays. It doesn’t take long to find out what’s on offer where, and it can save you several pounds. Find a pub quiz – often free or cheap to enter – and if you’re lucky you might get a free drink or two out of it. The past few I have been to the minimum I’ve got is a free beer and once I won money to spend at the bar (what could be better?), but you might even be lucky enough to win more!

Quick cash

If you’re desperate for money but can’t find a job (or don’t have the time) then try offering dog walking or babysitting services. Put out a few flyers and see where it gets you. Babysitting isn’t for everyone, but if you have the time one or two evenings then you could be a lifesaver to parents who are in need of help. Often people will pay decent money for a dog walker, especially if they work during the day. Plus, who doesn’t want to spend time with a canine companion?!

Lily Whitcombe is a third year American Studies student on a Study Abroad programme at the Univeristy of Colorado, Boulder, USA.


The EU referendum: why students must vote, and vote to stay

On 23rd June 2016, the citizens of Great Britain will cast their vote as to whether or not we should remain part of Europe.

There is no clear cut prediction for the outcome, and every single vote will matter. I know a staggering number of people who say that they aren’t going to vote because “it’s only one vote, it won’t affect anything” or “I don’t really know what I think so I’m just going to leave it.” It seriously will make a difference, probably more than any other political decision that has occurred in recent years.6004.item Continue reading

Reasons why the University of Colorado is the best place to study

Considering the fact that I am now into the final stretch of my time at CU (which saddens me greatly), I thought it would be fitting to write this month’s blog on why this place is so great. I could honestly tell you over 100 things that make it amazing, but I’m limited by a word count (and I don’t want to bore you) so I will select just a few things that I find to be particularly appealing!pic3 Continue reading

Student life in the States v the UK: Pros and cons

I thought this month I would do a slightly more informative, hopefully useful blog for anyone who is interested in the variation between student living in the good ol’ US of A versus back home.  Having conversed with a fair few friends at different US universities I can say with some certainty that supermarket food is more expensive here than at home. Particularly when it comes to fresh produce, the prices differ quite substantially. Even in the cheapest supermarket here, the average price for a pepper, for example, is $2.50. $2.50!! Yeah, OK, that translates to a little less in pounds, but seeing as you can get a pack of 3 for a quid in Sainsbury’s, I’m gonna go ahead and say that they’re ridiculously expensive.1123 Continue reading

5 things I wish someone had told me before my year abroad

1) Culture shock is a very real thing – even in Americapoint 1

I (somewhat naively) thought before I arrived in the US that it probably wouldn’t be very different to the UK. Because we speak the same language, and because I’ve been very exposed to America through popular culture, I presumed it wouldn’t be a big deal. I was wrong! Obviously it depends where you go. NYC, for example, is somewhat similar to London, but if you go from home in Edinburgh to Colorado, there’s many a difference! Everything in the US is SO, SO, BIG. I’m talking supermarkets way bigger than Tesco Extra, with offers like 10 for $10. Walking from one end of the store to the other is a workout in itself. Also, (now I don’t wish to generalise here but it’s just the truth) Americans tend to have a bit of a different sense of humour. Be prepared for favourite TV shows like Peep Show to be under-appreciated and misunderstood. Continue reading