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There’s more to life than working or studying. Things like travel, finances and accommodation are just as important as where you go to university or what career you choose. Get the lowdown on these issues, deals and listings in the Springboard Common Room.
Beat the bank-manager
Taking control of your finances can be daunting. Your bank can give you advice on how to manage your budget wisely. However, if you aren’t used to dealing with banks, the following jargon-buster should help you make sense of banking terminology:-
The current amount of money in your account.
A record of your account over a given period of time, usually a month. It lists all money deposited, withdrawn or taken out by standing order as well as any charges or fines the bank has given you. Carefully read all of your statement and keep them all together in a safe place. If there are any mistakes on your statement contact your branch immediately.
A plastic card that allows you to take money from your account using a cash point. When you receive your card from your bank you will also be given a personal identification number (PIN) to use it. Your cash card, cheque guarantee card, and debit card are usually all combined in to a single card for convenience.
Cheque guarantee card
A plastic card that allows you to write cheques up to the limit printed on it. See cash card.
A plastic card that acts like a bank account. You can pay for goods on it or withdraw cash from a cash point with it. You can transfer money to it and be in credit but most people use it as a type of loan or overdraft. Interest rates can be very high, especially after an initial trial period, and hidden fees can add up. Try not to get a credit card at all but if you do always pay off what you have spent and the charges on it every month. Do not spend anything with it if you will not be able to do this.
A common bank account that does not pay interest on savings but allows immediate withdrawl of your money and lets you write cheques.
A plastic card that allows you to spend money directly from your account without withdrawing money or writing a cheque. See cash card.
To put money into an account.
A savings account that earns you interest on your money but often requires you to give notice if you want to withdraw any money (often a month). You cannot write cheques with this account.
Direct debit and standing order
An automatic regular payment to a particular person or company. This is a good way to ensure your rent and bills are paid on time but make sure there is enough money in your account to do so or you will be fined.
Either money paid to you by the bank for the amount of money you have deposited or the fee charged to you by the bank for loans or an overdraft.
An overdraft is an agreed limit that you may spend of the bank’s money when yours is gone. It is best not to rely on this too much and only use it for emergencies as you have to pay interest on what you spend. To overdraw is to spend more money in your account than you have and without permission. You will be fined for this, sometimes for each £10 you spend over the limit.
Your PIN or personal identification number is a four-digit number that allows you to use your cash card and your debit card. Memorise it, do not write it down and do not tell anyone else what it is, even if someone contacts you claiming to be from the bank.
An account only for students that provides an interest-free overdraft. Banks will offer a lot of free gifts for you to open a student account with them. Choose one that is quite local and has the best services and interest rates. This will save you time and money in the long term.
To take money from your account with a cheque or cash card.
It is likely that you will have to find a way to supplement the costs of your studies. Temporary or part-time work is a good way to earn cash while giving you time to study. The following tips might help you find a part-time job.
Most students try and take work that they can easily fit around their study. This usually means shift work, such as working in a bar or restaurant, which can be changed around week by week. Call centres are another popular choice. Competition for these sorts of jobs will be fierce so if you think you will need to work it is always best to organise a job as soon as possible.
During the holidays the free hours that you can work are obviously a lot more and this is when most students take on full-time but temporary work in places where they can earn more money, such as in offices.
Factories and warehouses also take on many students although the work can be very hard. Again, competition means that you should organise such work quickly, preferably before the holidays begin so that you can start work as soon as your studying stops.
Find out some of the more unusual jobs to that students have taken to earn that extra cash!
Depending on when you are looking for work, getting a job can be very easy or very hard. Here are your choices:
University careers service will have information on any jobs available both on and off campus.
• Recruitment agencies.
• Local newspapers classified section.
• Noticeboards at the university.
• Signs in the windows of shops, restaurants, bars, etc.
• Word of mouth.
• Simply going to an employer and asking.
For holiday work, you may want to consider pursuing a job that will provide you with some experience for your long-term career goals. The careers service should have contacts in a variety of industries and can help you organise a placement. Employers are increasingly looking for evidence of such dedication to your future career.
You will have to fill out form P86, which can be downloaded from the Inland Revenue’s website.
As your work is only meant to supplement your funds you may not actually need to earn that much. If you earn under £5,435 within one tax year (April 2008 to April 2009) you will not have to pay tax. Check the above website for further information or alternatively call the Inland Revenue Centre Helpline on 0151 472 6208.
Regional guides - Cambridge
With some of England’s most breathtaking monuments, we explore the city of Cambridge. Academia aside, you’ll also find a wide range of eateries, night spots and shops in Cambridge, along with an entertainment calendar that makes living here a paradise for arts lovers and socialites.
Silver Street Tel: 01223 353554 Student watering hole and ideal spot to watch the punters collide on the River Cam under the Silver Street Bridge. Serves pub grub all day.
15 Market Passage Tel: 01223 519224 Recline on floor cushions and enjoy Moroccan-style ambience and Latin sounds. Arrive early to avoid entry fee.
Clifton Road Tel: 01223 511511 This music/theatre/dance venue turns into a club at the weekend, and hosts live bands and discos. Also holds a monthly gay and lesbian night. Charges apply.
54 King Street Tel: 01223 355711 Popular with locals, and it’s not hard to see why. Welcoming staff serve a delicious menu of cakes, toasties and hot meals, from £1-6.
22 Chesterton Road Tel: 01223 351880 You would be forgiven for missing it, but not for eating here. This former house is now home to just eight tables and a seriously exclusive dining experience.
1–2 Mill Lane Tel: 01223 363471 This noodle bar serves enormous portions, some vegetarian, drawing on East Asian influences, all for around £6 and in under five minutes.
The Shopping Forum
18–22 Jesus Lane A maze of small, funky stores that have a huge pull for both the people of Cambridge and visitors alike.
Tel: 01223 316201 The Grafton Centre has over 72 shops including the main high-street stores and also boasts a cinema.
Tel: 01223 350608 Another modern shopping complex situated between shopping street Petty Cury and the market. The centre is pedestrianised and has more than 40 shops and a library.
Located in the heart of the city, the market is Cambridge’s vibrant trading hub, bursting with character, charm and variety. Open seven days a week, with a Sunday farmer’s/arts and crafts market for you to sample local produce and artwork.
King’s, Trinity, St John’s, Clare, Christ’s, Jesus and Magdalene should be top of your list. All are breathtaking and historic in their own right and open to the public, with some charging a small fee.
The River Cam
Take a student-punted tour along ‘the backs’ to see the Colleges from an even more beautiful perspective, or punt your way to the leafy village of Grantchester. Hop on at the Silver Street bridge.
Trumpington Street Tel: 01223 332900 This Neoclassical building is filled to the rafters with Egyptian, Chinese, Japanese and Greek antiquities, as well as works by European artists, including Monet.
97 Tenison Road Tel: 01223 354601 Relaxed and welcoming with 100 beds from £16 per night. Good kitchen, laundry, luggage storage, TV lounge and Internet access.
Camping and Caravanning - Club Site
19 Cabbage Moor Tel: 01223 841 185 Rooms are scarce, expensive and often low-quality in Cambridge. This site has excellent facilities, is only a few miles out of town and open March to October. Pitches from £4, plus a non-members charge of £4.60.
Tenison Towers Guest House
148 Tenison Road Tel: 01223 566511 This gem is a sensory delight with its fresh flowers and home-made bread. Prices start at £20 and it’s only 10 minutes walk from the train station.
What the people who live there say about Cambridge
‘The picturesque village of Grantchester is only a short walk away – or punt, if you’ve got the energy! It’s a haven for relaxation, and you must visit the Orchard Garden Tea Rooms.’
‘I’m studying performing arts and am a regular visitor to venues like the beautiful Corn Exchange and ADC theatre. The outdoor summer Cambridge Shakespeare Festival is a stunning spectacle.’
‘I’m a third year student at King’s College and still marvel in the beautiful Evensong that is held in the Chapel. It’s an inspiring place to be.’
‘I work in Cambridge and it can get touristy in the summer, especially around the river, but don’t let that put you off!’
‘I visited Cambridge for the first time this year. I was particularly impressed with Trinity College and after just one visit, I’ve decided to apply to study there next September.’
Higher ed in Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is one of the oldest universities in the world and one of the largest in the UK with a worldwide reputation for outstanding academic achievement.
There are 31 Colleges, and each is an independent institution with its own property and income. In addition to submitting the UCAS application form naming Cambridge as one of your choices, you must also submit a Cambridge Application Form (CAF). For admission to Cambridge, it is necessary to be accepted by a College and only one form may be submitted. Applications to more than one College, or to a College and also an open application, are not allowed.
More than 28,000 students span two campuses, one of which is in Cambridge. Courses include undergraduate and professional qualifications through to postgraduate and research degrees.
If you’re thinking about getting a job after you leave school, this section is for you.
There are lots of different paths you can follow into work. You could study for a qualification, go for training on the job or just find a job now.
If you want to broaden your horizons and take time to think about your future, a gap year before university or work will help build your confidence.
Taking a gap year between school and university is an increasingly popular option – but what sort of gap?
Employers and universities do want to see that you have used your time wisely. However, there are hundreds of challenging opportunities out there waiting for you.
Use your time
Employers look for applicants who have the skills to be able to adapt to the work environment, and are mature and confident. Taking a gap year gives you the chance to be independent, to travel or work away from home in the UK.
Many students return feeling mature and responsible, having learned more about themselves with time to reflect away from parental and school pressures. The break from study prepares you for the new challenges of university and an enhanced CV will give you an edge in the marketplace if you’re looking for a job. Realise your potential
The time you spend working on a gap project can vary from a ten-week expedition to a full 12-month commitment. Many people plan their gap to include a period of work and then travel. There are many companies who can help you organise a gap year, including BUNAC, Raleigh and BSES.
Going abroad for a gap year requires careful planning.
You may need to get a passport if you have never been abroad before or organise a visa for the countries you want to visit. Whatever you want to do, it pays to get organised as soon as you can.
Here are some tips on what to do in advance:-
It’s difficult to underestimate the value of taking certain precautions for the sake of your health before you travel abroad.
If you get ill or have an accident, access to treatment may be difficult or too expensive for you to afford to pay yourself. So don’t neglect to get travel insurance before you go abroad; it’s probably the most important thing you can do before you set off.
You can make life a whole lot easier for yourself if you apply for a European Health Card which entitles you to free medical attention in Europe. Pick up a form at the post office for more details.
If you’re travelling to, or passing through, a country that requires you to be vaccinated against certain diseases, you may need to produce certificates of proof before you’re allowed in. Check with your doctor’s surgery, who will be able to advise you.
Insurance - don’t leave home without it!
You will need insurance to ensure that you are compensated financially for any loss, damage or injury that may occur. Insurance can provide short-term income if you are unable to carry on working because of an accident or illness, and can reimburse for the costs of being unable to travel.
It’s remarkable then that nearly 50% of all travellers carry no insurance when they go abroad, a situation that leaves some in great difficulty.
If you become ill whilst travelling, don?t forget that medical treatment abroad can be expensive, so it’s vital you are insured before you go. Financial payment cannot lessen the effects of losses, theft or accidents, but it contributes to financial security and can help you out of difficult situations.
Check what your policy offers - many do not cover sports or activities that many travellers enjoy taking part in.
The safest way to take cash abroad with you is in the form of traveller’s cheques.
Cash, if lost or stolen, will never return but a traveller’s cheque can be refunded to you if it goes missing.
Each traveller’s cheque has a unique serial number, and you’ll be asked to sign each one when you buy them. When you exchange them for cash you’ll have to sign for them again, and show your passport. You can exchange traveller’s cheques at banks, bureaux de change and most large hotels.
If your traveller’s cheques go missing then you can phone the company that sold them to you (they should provide you with an emergency phone number) and quote the serial number of the missing cheques.
Obviously you need to keep the receipts showing the serial numbers of the cheques and quote them. Keep these numbers in a separate place from the cheques themselves!
If you’re planning travel abroad, you’ll need a passport at the very least.
Get an application form from your local post office or visit the UK Passport Service online. You will have to have your form signed by a professional who has known you for two years, for example a teacher or doctor.
Take the signed form back with a copy of your birth (or adoption) certificate, two identical passport photos and the standard fee of £42.
Instead of sending it yourself - and to check for errors - if you pay an extra £6 to the Post Office, they will check your form, send it off for you and get your passport back to you within two weeks. Couldn’t be easier!
You can contact the Passport Agency on 0870 521 0410.
Many countries outside Europe ask you to produce an entry visa as well as your passport at immigration, before you’re allowed in. If in doubt you can visit the Foreign Office website.
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t break the law.
If anything, this is even more true when you’re abroad, as it’s probable that you will know little, or nothing, about local law, custom or convention. However, ignorance of the law will probably not help if you do find yourself in trouble.
The best advice is to respect the country and its people and stay well clear of anything that may seem illegal or suspicious. Above all - use your common sense. Follow these simple principles, relax, and enjoy your time abroad!
However, if you do end up in real trouble abroad, you can get in touch with the national embassy that represents you. Their powers are limited but they can help if you lose your passport, and they will help you deal with the local authorities to some extent, if needs be, and help you get a lawyer.
Be warned however, that embassies cannot solve all your problems abroad for you, and they won’t pay for your flight home if you get really stuck.
Crucial items on your travel checklist should include:
• Travel visa (if needed)
• Work permit (if needed)
• Driving licence (if necessary)
• Certificate of Insurance
• Details of British embassies abroad
• A good guidebook
• Traveller’s cheques
• European Health Card (if travelling within the EU)
• Health insurance (do not leave home without it!)
• Immunisation and vaccination certificates
Staying in the U.K.
Think gap year and you automatically think about travelling to exotic locations. But that’s only one possible option.
You don’t have to even leave these shores to enjoy the benefits of a gap year.
While many of us associate volunteer work with travelling abroad, there are plenty of voluntary gap year options in the UK.
Community Service Volunteers (CSV) matches the interests, experience and skills of 2,000 young, full-time volunteers with people throughout the UK who need their help.
You are placed in a range of settings, perhaps working with homeless people or enabling students with disabilities to live independently at university. You are provided with free meals and accommodation and an allowance each week. Being a CSV volunteer offers some of the toughest challenges you can face and can be just as stimulating as working overseas.
Getting some decent work experience under your belt can really help you break into the job market as it proves to employers that you are determined and are comfortable working in an office. Work experience is more than just a qualification.
In order to land yourself that dream job in your chosen field you need more than just a qualification. You need experience!
Each occupation requires a different range and mix of skills. In order to improve your skills, you’ll need to know your own personal level of ability. This will enable you to improve as a professional and also help you know whether or not you actually want to do a particular job.
Often CV's are kept on file for long periods so any contact details you give have to remain accurate in the long term. A daytime phone number is most important, include your mobile number if you have one. Include an e-mail address, a Hotmail address is good because you will have it for life. If you have your own URL domain name put it down for added class, for example [email protected]