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Monday, 14 March 2016

Top student-friendly events for 2016

With the cost of tuition fees, textbooks and accommodation, life as a student in the UK can certainly be prohibitive. And if you’re looking to let off a little steam after a day at university, the options can often seem out of most of our budgets.

Thankfully, there are certain institutions and businesses who are more than willing to give you a helping hand in getting out and about. So from discounts on sporting events, to cinema attractions that can entertain and even provide you with some fun betting options, here are some ways to enjoy yourself in 2016 without breaking the bank.

There are plenty of online resources such as StudentGems, StudentBeans and UNiDAYS who can highlight which UK shops provide a discount for students so that you can enjoy a little retail therapy. In addition to this, escaping the confines of the halls of residence can be made a lot cheaper thanks to a 12% discount on a 16-26 railcard and 25% off National Express coach tickets.

We all know that a lot of sporting events can be prohibitively expensive. But if you’re looking to attend a top-level football match, be aware that many clubs such as Nottingham Forest offer a free student membership scheme so that you can gain access to the ground on a much more student-friendly concession rate.

Thanks to the ever-reliable NUS, you can get 25% off cinema tickets at Odeon cinemas across the UK between Mondays and Thursdays. This can be a good way of killing time in the summer months where many of the big blockbusters comes to our cinema screens. And now you can even take bets on which movies will be the biggest hits of the year, so see for more details on some great tips for the world of cinema, sports and beyond.

Many other entertainments offer some tempting student discounts too. Although the majority of big music venues will often scoff at the thought of a special student rate, certain more forward-thinking venues such as the legendary Parish rock club in Huddersfield have introduced their own student discount card. This not only gives you money off selected shows, but you can also get a discount on food and drink at the venue too.

So whether you’re adding some excitement to your cinema discount by having a bet, or just checking out the best cutting-edge sounds at your local music venue, with a bit of research we can all enjoy some great discounts that make life as a student a little easier.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Studying abroad can give you the edge in today's competitive jobs market

A university or college degree is a must-have qualification in order to stand any chance of jumping onto even the first rung of a meaningful career ladder in the UK. But in the economically straitened and fiercely competitive times we all find ourselves in, when even degrees from the best business schools of the UK barely cut it with some of today's ultra-choosy employers, what can give you an edge in the jobs market?

In other words, what can make you stand out from the crowd? A high GPA, a polished CV, smart and tidy appearance, and the ability to sell yourself without sounding overbearing? Yes, to all of that, except that'll likely be taken as read by most prospective employers, particularly if the interview process has more than just the one stage.

International Experience

According to the Institute The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) in the UK, globalization is changing the way the whole world works. So, more and more employers are looking for people who have international skills and experience. And there you have it, in a nutshell. There's how you stand out. Be one of the less than 10% of the 1.1 million British students graduating with associates or baccalaureate degrees each year that have actually studied abroad.

QAA Chief Executive Douglas Blackstock said, “International experience is one of the most important components of a 21st century education, and study abroad should be viewed as an essential element of a college degree. Learning how to study and work with people from other countries and cultures also prepares future leaders to contribute to making the world a less danger place.”

But the QAA plans to change all of that over the next four or five years through their Generation Study Abroad campaign launched earlier this year. And as well as putting millions of pounds into the project, the QAA has already made contact with hundreds of educators and educational bodies both at home and across the world in a bid to double the number of British studying abroad by the end of the decade. But it's a huge challenge.

Fastest growing region

Latest data from the QAA's 2014 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange shows a total of 289,408 British students studied abroad for academic credit from their UK colleges and universities during the 2013/2014 academic year. In the 1989/90 academic year, for example, the figure was a mere 71,000. So a fair amount of progress has been made over the last quarter century.

Meanwhile, the number of overseas students choosing to study undergraduate and graduate courses in the UK continued to soar, increasing nationally by 8% in 2013/14 to a record high of 886,052 students. The fastest growing region proved to be the Middle East and North Africa, with an increase of 20% in student numbers enrolled in UK higher education. There was also an 8% increase in students from Ireland and the Scotland, and a similar percentage rise in the number of Asian students, driven by a 17% jump in Chinese students. In terms of individual countries, the fastest growing student populations in the UK in 2013/14 were from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Brazil.

So, if the above mentioned all makes sense then don’t wait. Differentiate yourself among the others. Let your essays, assignments be drafted by someone who is expert and has been through this process. Just go to and see how it makes your work different form the others. 

Monday, 7 March 2016

What do I do if I have an accident while backpacking?

Every year thousands of young (and not so young) people set off on far-flung travel adventures toting only a backpack and a passport, hoping to return with a collection of travellers’ tales and anecdotes of adventure. And while it’s an incredible experience travelling to another country and exploring another culture, it still carries risks.

Every year a significant number of backpackers come back from their travels – sometimes before they’d planned to – with a broken bone, sunstroke or food poisoning instead of just the usual souvenir t-shirts and interesting batik scarves.

Research carried out in 2015 revealed that 4.4 million Brits had been injured on holiday in the previous 3 years.

Planning ahead can reduce the likelihood of an accident. Knowing what to do if you or someone you’re travelling with is ill or injured can be a lifesaver.
If you or someone you are travelling with is hurt in an accident, you should seek medical assistance before you do anything else.

Contact the local emergency services. If this is not possible, go to a hospital or other medical centre to get yourself checked out. There may be reciprocal agreements in place between the country you are visiting and the UK enabling you to receive treatment without paying. It would be worth checking out the locations of hospitals and health facilities before you go, so if something were to happen, you know where you need to get to.

1. Contact your insurance provider
You should inform your travel insurer about what has happened as soon as possible. Often the small print includes an obligation to notify the insurer of the accident with minimal delay. Some insurers stipulate that you must notify them within 24 hours. Failure to do so can disqualify you from making a claim on your insurance. 

2. Contact friends or family
You may feel that you don’t want to worry your friends or family unduly. However you may need assistance and putting others on notice will help them help you if you need it.

3. Contact the British Embassy
Depending on the severity of the injury, you may wish to establish contact with the relevant British Embassy. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office are able to contact your insurer and family if you are unable to do so. They can even help with repatriation flights if necessary. The government maintains a list of country specific travel advice that includes contact details for all Foreign and Commonwealth Offices.

4. Get copies of everything
This is very important if you are to have any chance of seeking compensation.
At the hospital, get copies of all documents, receipts etc. It’s particularly important to get a copy of the report from the doctor or other medical practitioner, confirming what has happened and the nature of your injury. Get a copy of the hospital admission report if you are admitted. 

Getting compensation
If you are injured as a result of somebody else’s negligence or recklessness, most countries have a legal system that will allow you to seek financial compensation. You may have incurred significant medical and other expenses as a result of the accident. You may even need ongoing care or medication. Compensation is typically awarded to help injured people to recover and pay for any ongoing treatment.

In the UK, an injured person can usually initiate a compensation claim up to 3 years after the date of discovery of the injury. Many other countries operate on a different basis. For example if you have an accident in Malaysia you can claim up to 6 years after the accident, where in China you would only have 1 year.
This handy injury claim time calculator can calculate time limitation dates in different countries.
Whichever country the accident occurs in, the process of seeking compensation will be broadly the same. It will be necessary to demonstrate that:
  • Another party was negligent in some way,
  • That an injury was sustained and;
  • That the injury was as a result of the other party’s negligence.
It is therefore critical that, if you can, you collate as much evidence of the accident as possible.
Examples of supporting include evidence photographs of the accident scene or cause of the accident, police reports and photocopies of accident books. These will greatly assist your case.
You should also keep all bills and receipts for costs you incur as a result of the accident as these will be reclaimable as part of the claim.