“I’ve been accepted!”
After the initial excitement of earning a place on the Advanced Materials MSc course at Cranfield began to settle down, I started to feel anxious about how I would deal with funding and living expenses for the year, especially as a student with no income.
Accommodation, food, travel, tuition fees – it was all getting a bit too much for me. I was so stressed that at one point I contemplated declining my place on the course and staying in France to avoid that much expense.
However, after doing some funding research, I realised that I could get some help from ERASMUS (the European Union programme for education) who could give me a grant towards my tuition fees. But it wasn’t going to be enough. I would also need money for a year’s worth of accommodation, food, travel and other living expenses. So I made a big commitment and got a bank loan of several thousand pounds.
I was really afraid to begin my professional life with a loan. I would need to find a job very quickly after my studies, but overall I knew I was making an investment in my future and my career. Some people invest in real estate… I decided to invest in my studies. But I needed to figure out what was going to be a realistic budget for the year, and although I didn’t have a clue at this point, I can now give you a first hand account of my expenses for my year at Cranfield.
I live in a flat that I share with my boyfriend, for which my contribution is £350 per month. After rent, my biggest expense is food. I eat a lot but thanks Lidl and the Bedford market, which are both really cheap and local, I spent around £25-£30 a week which covered breakfast, lunch and dinner. For travel, a return bus ticket to the local cities, Bedford or Milton Keynes, costs only £3. I also spent around £10 a month for 4 laundry sessions – an important addition to the budget!
From the basics to leisure, I travelled a lot during my year in Cranfield, and visited somewhere new at least once a month. I went to Edinburgh, Bath, Cornwall, Wales, Cork, Peak District, Lake District, Paris, Nimes, Copenhagen and of course London a few times. For each trip, I spent at least £100. And finally, I budgeted around £60 each month for pleasure which included having drinks, hanging out with friends, going to parties and shopping.
So in total I spent between £7000 and £8000 for the whole year, but believe me I have enjoyed every minute and travel a lot. It was an incredible experience that I am so pleased I didn’t miss out on. Cranfield equipped me with all the tools I need to get a good job and pay back my loan quickly. As a bonus, I have met a lot of good people and discovered so many different cultures which has given me a better and nicer vision of the world.
Read my previous blog about coming to Cranfield as a couple, and how I managed to find couples accommodation.8