2018 marks the fourth year that I have spent living in student housing. Living in a different house each year, I have experienced my fair share of accommodation nightmares. Here are a few things to be aware of when choosing a student house:
Student houses are renowned for having damp and mould problems so make sure that you keep your eyes peeled for any dark marks on walls. Letting agents often try to hide mouldy walls behind furniture so it is always a good idea to look behind sofas or wardrobes.
Make sure that you are getting a fair deal and read the contract fully. Letting agents will aggrandise the quality of the accommodation and they may offer things verbally but not include them in the contract. Don’t be afraid to ask friends or family members for help if you are unsure about certain things.
It may be tricky to spot the signs straight away so keep your eyes open for any slug trails on the walls and floors. Another thing to look out for are any slug pellets, mouse traps, or anything that would indicate that the house has a pest problem.
When moving into a student house it is always a good idea to do some research on the safety of the area. Get to know your neighbours and make sure that your house is fitted with an alarm and suitable locks.
Life as a student can be a struggle. Tuition, rent, food, clothes, transport, books… These things are not free and can eat away at your budget. Here are two alternative ways to make money:
Online paid surveys are a simple and easy way to make a bit of extra money. My favourite company is Valued Opinions as they always have surveys available and they require barely any effort to complete. Brilliantly, most of the surveys do not actually take as long to complete as indicated. The Surveys available to me today:
It is perfectly possible to make about £60 a month by doing just 10-15 short surveys a week. The money earned can then be redeemed in the form of voucher.
This method of money making is risky so it is important to do a lot of research and watch the market extremely closely before making any investment. You must be aware of the risk of losing all of the money that you originally invested. However, I am going to share a story of when investing can go right, from a fellow student that would like to remain anonymous.
“I used an app called cex.io and made an original investment in Bitcoin of £200 at the beginning of March 2017. I then bought and sold about six times over the course of the year. At the beginning I lost some money but at the end I made money selling 0.24 bitcoin for $20,245.56. I made around £4000.”
On my first trip to Germany, the city I most wanted to visit was the capital, Berlin. I will admit that beyond awareness of the existence of the Berlin Wall, my knowledge of the city’s history was shamefully poor. Though I learned a great deal in the four days that I spent in the city, I realise that I had only scratched the surface of Berlin’s rich cultural heritage.
One of the first monuments I saw was the Holocaust Memorial in the Friedrichstadt district. Walking through the memorial, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the sombre atmosphere and experience isolation as one becomes lost.
I then visited one of Berlin’s most iconic landmarks of the Cold War Era, Checkpoint Charlie. This was the main crossing point between East and West Berlin. My ignorance of Berlin’s history became apparent when I visited the Checkpoint Charlie Museum. The museum played a large role in the fall of the wall as its founder protested against it.
“Be as near as possible to injustice, where human size is the strongest.” – Dr Rainer Hildebrandt, founder of the Checkpoint Charlie Museum.
Finally, the Berlin Wall. I walked for hours alongside sections of the wall that were still standing. In particular, the East Side Gallery which consists of over 100 paintings from 1990 that feature political ideas.
A link to the Gallery can be found here: East Side Gallery
While bullet holes still scar the older buildings, it is impossible to overlook the magnificence of Berlin.