The loop

I finally have some spare time so I thought I could contribute something to the website as well. I assume that some people already know I am from Poland but for those who did not know that – here you go – I am Polish. And that’s where the problems begin.

That might sound a bit provocative but I truly am disappointed with the information flow around here. I expected to have everything sorted out in my first two weeks. Guess what – I don’t have anything sorted out yet (apart from my bus card and mobile).

Thanks to the Internet, I have ‘gained the knowledge’ of what should I do first when arriving in Edinburgh. That is: get a bank account and the National Insurance Number, as they are crucial. It’s not that easy though. I don’t understand why would UCAS or Napier University spam my post box (and my e-mail as well) with so many useless leaflets, rather than make a package of decent information.

The loop begins
The National Insurance Number went quite smooth. Apart from the fact that no one told me I would need to make a telephone appointment and would need an UK number.

Getting a bank account is a bit harder. I went to the HSBC. No documents required (only the acceptance letter from the Uni). 8 pounds a month for having the account. Way too much for a student. I’ve decided to find a free one. The Royal Bank of Scotland offered me that. They told me to get any document with my new (Edinburgh) address on it. I’ve taken a confirmation letter from my landlord. Not enough. Nobody informed me that I would need a letter from the University that I am a student. Another day wasted.

In the meantime I tried to find a job. I’m 19 years old, with no work experience (you have to be adult to get a job in Poland, otherwise no one is going to give you any references). I’ve worked part-time in ‘Co Nowego’ (a local newspaper) during my last year at high school. No references at all. A friend of mine gave me a contact to Gusto (restaurant on George Street). I’ve worked there for three days. I had to manage two kitchens at the same time, imagine how impossible that was. For those three days I had about 7 hours of sleep because my shifts were at the opening time, peak times (really busy there) till closing time. For the lowest salary. I gave up. Never going to be a kitchen porter again. Especially a part-time one.
The loop ends
I am aware that I sound frustrated but that’s the truth. I am a little bit frustrated. Skint, left without support, not eligible for student loans, without a bank account (so my family can’t send me any money right now).  I’ll manage though. It got a bit personal and I’m sorry for that.

Avoiding the strife, not giving up, looking ahead, it’s my new life.

6 Responses

  1. This sounds such an unfortunate and frustrating situation to be in. I think the university and ucas should have perhaps gathered or put together a package of information for you before you arrived letting you know the things you needed to get a job, national insurance, bank account etc. Perhaps you could put this forward to them, or create a brochure/blog yourself?

  2. Reading your blog really upset me. I know exactly how it feels to land in an un-familiar country and be expected to survive on your own. Have you spoken to the student support team or researched what help the Uni can give you? I’m sure they could atleast send you in the right direction. In the mean time, if you need any help with anything, I’m sure everybody on the course would be willing and I certainly I am!! Good luck!!

  3. yeah if you need anything just ask. Glad to help, I empathise with your predicament.

  4. Im with you there Bart. I have had the same difficulties coming from Ireland. Anyone up for a bit of protesting?! Or perhaps as always, we should do it ourselves, and make up something to help incoming international/EU students?

  5. Let me know if I can do anything to help. But I’ve already said that. Hope you get everything sorted soon and if you need ANYTHING at all, I’m here. 😀 x

  6. Bart, this is shocking. I know how daunted I felt starting uni and I live 8 miles away and have the support of my family and friends, the security of my own home and the luxury of knowing where I can get information, financial support etc. as and when I need it. I think it’s awful that you are having to encounter all these hurdles and to feel as if you are not getting any further forward. It’s a disgrace that you should come here to study and be faced with such insecurity and anxieties. I hope things improve soon, let me know if I can help in any way.

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