I’m that girl that wants everything. ( Unintentional Quote from Disneys’ Little Mermaid (1989).) I’m sure you know of one or are one yourself.
I’m a person who came to the UK for one reason only – to follow my gut and get a degree in what interested me at that moment the most. I’m not the first nor I’m the last person to do that. Even if that means leaving everything I know behind I believed it would pay off. I decided to go for Computer Animation. I’m not going to lie and say that was my dream job from childhood because it wasn’t. But I felt I needed to take this risk and go study abroad. Thing is – at home there wasn’t a university who teaches it. So it was a matter of what you want to do – there you go.
Side note: Actually, I wanted to be a ballerina. Did classes for a few years– it was enough. Tip Nr. 1 – try it and you’ll know. You’ll regret it far less then if you don’t even if it doesn’t work out.
Something else I’ve always loved to do was travelling. My mom took me everywhere with her when she wanted to travel. Now I can’t imagine my life without those get – away trips every once in a while. For me travelling is feeling free and being yourself like nowhere else. No expectations for myself or from others. Just going with what feels right. Having experiences you never even know existed until someone looks at you in a hostel lobby and says – have you ever been to / seen this..?
Also a great thing about the UK – plane tickets here are cheaper than the bus from one city to the other. So if you can choose between the city 3 hours away from you on a bus or take a plane for the same price and wake up in Spain tomorrow… I don’t know. For me it just makes sense to take the plane.
Tip Nr.2 – London has the cheapest tickets. You just need to compare between different airports and decide which one is going to be cheaper including getting to the airport.
I know friends who take flights from closer cities (like Bournemouth or Southampton) but I haven’t yet been lucky to try it myself. Figuring the right timing to buy it tickets is challenging but if you get it right that’s when you save the most.
Tip. Nr. 3 – Figure out the pattern – save big.
There’s not a lot of free time in my course so you need to be smart about it. For me best times to travel were 1st and 2nd year, and the summer. 3rd year that is not a good idea because you need to prioritise. Then again I say that but I was in Italy for 4 days in Oktober in my 3rd year. So maybe don’t listen to me. If I didn’t have to think about not missing lessons or having time to finish projects to a deadline then travelling is way too easy in the UK really. Pay here is good. You just need to prioritise.
Also side note: I travelled 85% on my own – you can get friends on the travel. And you can do everything you want to do without compromise. When I travel with others then again it’s a great way to bond and have fun and takes off the pressure a bit at times.
Tip Nr. 4. If you’re flexible with time use it to your advantage. Sometimes if you take a trip 3 days later it can save you a lot. It’s easier to do it alone.
Also, when I write ‘’travelling’’ when university year is on I don’t mean 2 months hiking. That’s something to do in the summer, ok?
During active study my travels were from 3 to 5 days long. It’s long enough to get the vibe of the city and see the key places. If it’s not enough that means it’s a good city for you and you should go there again one day. I have a small list of places I know I’ll visit again one day. And a longer list of what I’m happy I saw but don’t feel the urge to see again. That’s normal. Countries and cities are like people – with some you click. With others you don’t.
Personal experience –I went to Milan. It was okay. At the same trip went for a day to Bergamo – a city an hour away from Milan - and couldn’t get enough of it. Same country, 1 hour away - but such a difference.
Travelling is great like that – it’s interesting to find out about different cultures and vibes, and you can find out a lot about yourself in the process as well. I’m sure if you have traveled before I don’t have to tell you this.
Good things about travelling for just a few days?
Cheaper costs on living
Cheaper costs on sightseeing because you can’t do it all in 3 days – so you see what you really want to see
It’s enough to get the vibe and know if it’s the city for you
Nothing really is going to change in those 3 days back at home as long as you do most important things before you leave
Some recommendations –
Look for hostels. It’s cheaper and more interesting. If you’re not planning to stay all day in your fancy room then why would you want to overpay for it? Don’t be afraid to change them every night if you find bargains. I’ve been in some hostels that are better then hotels I’ve seen for far better prices. I just needed to jump from one place to the other.
Also reserve them early – then there’s better bargains. And check that you can cancel without extra cost in case you find something better when looking.
Bigger chains with hipster wibe are my personal preference. Service is better from what I’ve found, also less awkward because they aren’t so curious about you. Small private ones can be nice too but it can be disappointing sometimes or too personal for my taste. But then again thing about travelling is – they know you are a visitor and they want to leave a good impression on you so everyone tries their best no matter what accommodation you choose.
Lastly. Tip nr. 5(?) When you come to the city first thing I recommend is find an travel information booth – most places have it. There you can find all the main information about possibilities around the area and I’ve very often found out from them what there’s on offer for free and really you don’t have to spend money on everything you do. Things like museums or excursions are great things to visit and not all of them cost. Just walking around the city and seeing the different environment is already the planes cost worth. Remember that.
I’m not an organised person – I’m sure you can see that by my writing. But if someone like me who wants everything – studying, traveling, whilst part – time working - can do it..
I believe you can too.