Steff’s UK Scholarship Tips
The whole trip has given me depth of experience and expanded my horizons to new ideas, cultures and what can be achieved by the Cultural and Creative Industries.
On a recommendation from a friend, I signed up for the Trusted Housesitters website. It was the best thing I’ve ever done.
Trusted Housesitters is a website where you pay to make a profile and get verified, then apply to look after others’ property and pets whilst they are away from their homes. It gives you the opportunity to stay in real homes, in unique places that one might not have considered. Also, being completely funded through BBM, it was a way to stay overseas for 3 months, have all the experiences I wanted and stay mostly funded by the award (except from getting a VISA, more on that later).
Another reason this is such a good way to go for accommodation, is that it makes your trip feel more homey, connected and personal. No one is going to meet the same people I met or have the same experience. Additionally, as a homebody who really values their own space, it made me feel more settled and in control. Not to mention, getting to look after adorable pets! This aspect of the trip also taught me a lot about responsibility, preparedness and taking each opportunity.
All in all, with just under 90 days spent abroad, I only paid for about 22 days accommodation by using the Trusted Housesitters website!
In terms of actually getting from place to place, the UK has very expensive trains! Being organized and booking in advance will save you a huge amount of money as well as purchasing a 16-25 rail card. This gives 1/3 of the price off train tickets – use this combined with the Train line app for the best prices. If you’re in London, walking is often quicker than buses! So download the CityMapper app (it’s genius) and look at the options. Oh, and there’s no service in the Tube, so make sure you download some music or TV before you get on! These are all things I wish I had known before I arrived.
The power of emails: even if you can’t meet up with someone, ask them if they could either pass you onto a colleague or if it’s okay to ask them some questions. Be specific and know what you want to learn from the interaction and people will help.
Book less things: look into as many things as possible. Then book your absolute musts. I had a few other things planned but when it came to time and place it didn’t work out and I replaced it with other experiences/conferences/shows etc. I was glad I didn’t book my full itinerary otherwise I feel I’d have missed out on what was right in front of me.