Students can struggle with budgeting at the best of times, and there are so many social opportunities at University that sometimes the price of doing all these activities can really add up. However, given that non-academic and social activities at University will form a really important part of your UK study experience, you really should take advantage of them. University is the perfect time of one’s life to go out and meet a variety of (mostly) interesting and like-minded people. Here, then, we have collected a selection of ideas of the ways that you can still have a good time at University, without locking yourself in the Halls of Residence and without spending too much money.
The Students Union should be your first stop, whether you want a subsidised drink or a relaxed environment to meet people or hang out with friends. It is a safe and student-friendly space, and often has free events, discounted drinks and even student-friendly priced food. The walls of the Union will most likely be packed with posters offering even more ideas of how to spend your evenings.
Join a Society
There will be loads of societies at your University - no matter what your interest, from bee-keeping to books; from real ale to Warcraft there will probably be a group of like-minded individuals who share it, and who will welcome you with open arms. The societies can be found by word of mouth, and by looking out for posters. These societies are nearly always student only clubs, and it is understood that everyone is on a student budget and keeping the costs of activities down to a minimum is normally prioritised.
Go to the Park or head to the Countryside
The local park is a great place to get together with friends, as you can take your own food and drink as a picnic. All you have to do is invest in a couple of flasks and a cool box, get your hands on some tasty food and you should be able to entice others.
Alternatively, why not use your student discounts on train or bus travel, to make the most of visiting the beautiful British countryside?
You can use the Visit Britain website for information on the beautiful National Parks, Gardens and Coastlines on offer in the UK.
Although Britain is famed for its bad weather, it honestly doesn’t rain all of the time. And, when the sunshine does shine, you’ll just appreciate it even more if you make sure that you get out and about in it in. Plus, some outdoors activities, such as hiking and mountain biking, are actually a lot of fun when there is a bit of drizzle!
Museums and Art Galleries
On rainy days, you should check out your University city’s museums and art galleries. One of the things that is really wonderful about the UK is that so many of the museums and galleries here are free, especially in London. And when they are not or when there is a special exhibition on, there will still be a good discount available for students. Very often they also hold regular events that you can get involved in, such as historical re-enactments and special days linked to major events or new exhibitions. You can find a listing of all of the free museums and art galleries in the UK online.
Vouchers and Discounts
Always carry your NUS card with you, and ask everywhere if there is a discount for students. You would be amazed at how many places will knock a percentage off their price when asked politely - even if they do not advertise a student discount. You should also keep your eye on sites like studentmoneysaver.co.uk and Student Beans, for discounts on activities such as cinema and theme park trips.
So there you have it, some free and low cost opportunities to socialise that don’t need you to delve too deep in to a student loan to do, and that aren’t just about propping up the local bars and nightclubs. Even if you have to be slightly savvy and stick to student organised activities, there is so much on offer for students on a budget – so, no excuses, get out there, have fun and make the most of your student experience in the UK!