While travel tends to be fun, moving to a foreign country for extended periods of time can be rather worrisome, even if it is just for studies. Now, if you’re reading this, you’ve probably made the leap and are happily enrolled at GCU. Granted, however this is only the first step, with many more to come, until you can call yourself a proud Glaswegian. As a scarred veteran (of three years no less, ho-hum) and survivor of all the trials and tribulations of this northern pearl, I do have some advice to offer for the initiates.
The first, rather obvious, matter to deal with is of course accommodation. A place to crash after a long day of studying. This is followed by a dignified savoring of naught with the highest offer of intoxicating beverages. A place to invite friends or awkward, shameful Tinder dates too. A place one can, dare I say, even call home. Now, for most new students the main two options are either uni halls or renting a flat/room, unless you have any relatives or acquaintances living in the city, willing to offer a place to crash. University halls are great for meeting new people and even forging friendships that can last beyond graduation. True, but there’s no guarantee you’ll love all of your roommates, however that’s a gamble that could be worth taking for all the unforgettable (or hard-to-remember, amirite?) parties. Now, the catch is, it’s actually quite possible to find a flat or a room not far from the city center which is considerably cheaper the £400 price tag most halls ask for (my own took me back about 270 a month, bills included). Thus, if the ka-ching and privacy are a factor, I’d recommend scooping through Gumtree religiously. Also, in my experience, private landlords tend to be a better bet. Since they can be more lenient with the occasional missed payment or you leaving for the holidays. Remember, besides paying the rent, bills and the deposit, you are not legally required to dish out for anything else; so don’t let any flat owners or tenement agencies try to bamboozle you.
A few more caveats. Job hunting can be a bit of a pain, if that is the need, but larger store chains like Lidl or Morrison’s, or companies like G4S are a good bet. They’re always in need for new blood. None of these are dream jobs, but can serve as good starting points and a good starting block for your CV.
By the by, you might have heard it rains in Glasgow. From a wee drizzle to full on The Day After Tomorrow type weather, it’s pretty hard to stay prepared. You must try to pack a jumper or a windbreaker with yourself, if you can. And don’t forget about that vitamin C, for those unavoidable sniffles.
Lastly, you probably won’t care about the downpour too much if you’re a football fan, because this city is indeed the Mecca of all things soccer (yeah, I went there). If you, like me, couldn’t care less, well…I’ll pray for you.
Featured image credit – Flickr user Sam Klein