It's my first post - and how better to start than by writing about my favourite hobby: Travelling.
This is part of a series of posts that I dedicate to my current most favourite place on earth, Istanbul. In this series I will pretty much publish something similar to a diary, as well as a guide, my personal thoughts and opinions of how things are. The guide will include tips and tricks and all the money related stuff. You can do Istanbul for 8 days in June, for under 300 Euros!
After a year of hard work, everyone deserves a break. I feel it is important to do something outside of town, get a feel for a different place, see how things are somewhere outside of your comfort zone.
Imagine how different it felt being out of Europe? I was wary but at the same time excited about going. I was wary because I have not been to anywhere near Asia in over 15 years! And excited for I have always wanted to see what the fuss on turkey is about!
I was lucky enough to receive the bursary that Kingston University offered. I received full £3,000; £2,000 was a tuition fees waver whereas the other £1,000 went straight to me. I used that as my budget.
I felt it was important to travel on a budget, especially as a student. For this reason, I booked my tickets well in advance, in fact about 6 months prior. Good times to search are straight after Christmas, as I read, and Tuesdays and Wednesday (I cannot remember the reasons). It is also important that when comparing tickets websites like Kayak and Skyscanner are used to give an overall feel for how much you'll be spending. I ended up getting my tickets for £139 without the 25kg luggage allowance and flew with British Airways.
Similarly, I booked my hotel around the same time, 6 months prior to flying, and found a decent one in the Sultanahmet area which was about 7 minute walk from the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque. I shared the room with my cousin who travelled with me. We spent a collective 280 Euros on the Hotel which included breakfast. So for flight and hotel I spent £250.
What to look out for in the next post: Planning an itinerary, travelling from the airport to the hotel, eating out, travelling around in Istanbul.
*excluding ticket and hotel
I really enjoyed the last three years of my undergraduate degree and now that I've had some time to reflect, I've found that aside from the academic education, Kingston has enabled me to learn many things I didn't know before and work on a few weaknesses. I used to avoid most group projects and prefer individual work, but being at university has required me to adapt and work on my team-working skills. I was reluctant at first (and in some modules group work was very stressful and some people put in more effort than others) but it is a good skill to have and very important in many jobs. I was also able to build an understanding of different cultures and how this influences work style. Ultimately I gained a lot of self-confidence, mainly through my work as a student ambassador, as I was able to do a lot of presentations, campus tours and talks and that helped me in approaching new people and situations.
Now that I have completed my Bachelors and am enjoying my summer I am already looking forward to the next step - a postgraduate degree in Marketing Strategy and Innovation at Cass Business School in London, starting in September. The course is one year long and very intense but I look forward to the challenge. After that I hope to find a good graduate position in a company in London and work there for a few years to gain practical experience and build on the skills I have learnt at Kingston.
So many things have changed throughout the last three years, I truly believe university is one of the most influential factors in evolving and finding out what your strengths and weaknesses and interests are. When I started my course at Kingston I was convinced I would move to Paris after I finished and study a course on Luxury Fashion management. My focus has drifted to another city and another subject, almost without me realising this had happened until it was time to apply to future courses. Initially I was open to go either along the business or the law route, as my undergraduate degree offered both options. However throughout the last three years I have always found that marketing and strategy have captured my interest and that all of my internships have been connected to these fields. Therefore I chose not to follow a legal career path and focus on something that I really enjoyed. The final decision to do this came from one of my last year modules - Strategic Management - where we got to direct a fictional company through an online simulation and make strategic decisions to increase its stock price and performance.
Posted 17 Sep 2014 by Abigail
When I accepted my place at Kingston University, over three years ago now, I assumed I would live in halls for my first (fresher) year. It didn't even enter my mind that maybe I wouldn't be offered a room in halls because at sixth form we were told that this is the norm and coming from boarding I was happy that halls wouldn't be that much of a drastic change for me. So when I got the email saying that unfortunately as places in halls were limited I would have to find private accommodation or commute from Hertfordshire I went into a state of panic. Commuting wasn't an option so I set about finding a room in a town I had never been to before with people I didn't know yet - a very daunting challenge!
Basically it was a bit of a mess, I spent a fortune on Travelodge's, missed out on my induction week and ended up in a total dive of a flat completely stressed out. It was an experience I learnt a lot from, but in case any of you have found yourself in a similar predicament read on for some of my Do's and Don'ts when it comes to finding private accommodation in your first year...
DO go straight to Cooper House and speak to the accommodation team who can help put you in touch with landlords and other students.
DON'T panic if you don't find something straight away, estate agents tell you there are limited places but there are plenty of houses and rooms available locally, people are moving in and out all the time.
DO get on Facebook - join all KU groups and post messages, you may find housemates or even a house or spare room!
DO have your deposit ready - usually six weeks rent (approx. = £600+).
DON'T forget to ask landlords key questions e.g. Is the house furnished? Does it include all white goods? Is the boiler safe?
DO try and get around Kingston on foot or by public transport (DO buy an Oyster - you'll need it!) this way you'll get a feel for the area and how long it will take you to get to campus or the town centre from your perspective home.
DON'T agree to living with someone before meeting them. Go to the house viewing and grab a drink together after. If you think you won't get along with them then it's time to find someone else because enjoying university is as much about liking the people you live with as the people on your course.
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Uploaded 11 Nov 2014
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