International student fees
Andrea has spent nearly half of her 20-year-old life writing, while simultaneously trying to build up a shoe collection to rival that of Imelda Marcos. Her passion for science fiction and good food has resulted in a huge oyster sauce stain on her brand new Arthur C Clarke paperback.
Andrea Tejokusumo gets annoyed about the cost of studying as an international student in the UK. If anyone has a spare £50,000 her bank account could do with it, ta.
The day before our nerve-wrecking Contextual exam, some of my fellow classmates who are notorious for skipping lectures and extenuate assignment deadlines asked to borrow my essays. When I said no, I was given a look that read what a swot.
It's not that I'm being stingy, but suppose they were in my shoes and had to pay as much as I have to pay each year then they'd probably get the idea. It's just my luck that I am an International student and my BA (Honours) Journalism course costs me an (honourable) £7,300 each year. In worst cases, the degrees can cost around 10 grand per year. Top that up with accommodation and living expenses, and you'll come up with as much as £50,000 for three years of education.
Now, then, can my dear classmates understand why I choose to spend most of my days in the university library, trying to stuff as many quotes in my face as I can from long boring textbooks, while some of them prefer to chill out in the local café/at Oxford Circus/under the duvet instead?
I often complain (with some pretty good reasons) about being an International student. However, thinking about it, it is apparent that all these problems are my own creation. After all, it was my decision to come to study in the UK. Had I chosen to study back home in Jakarta, I would have saved sacks of money.
"In worst cases, the degrees can cost around 10 grand per year."
But I wanted to be a bilingual journalist. I wanted to excel my English. You see why my life choices have now given me a life-long financial problem. PLUS we don't get student loans where I come from. Apparently the corrupt Indonesian government is so busy trying to suck the whole nation dry that they can't provide any support for the youths who will inherit the country in the future.
Looking at the calculations I've made, there's no way I could have come up with enough money for my education on my own, not until I am middle aged, at least. And starting a BA degree in my forties is just too absurd an idea that I discarded it right away! Luckily I have generous, well-off parents who don't mind paying for my tuition fees or else what other choice have I got?
Don't get me wrong, though. Having my parents pay for the whole thing does not mean I won't have any future debts to settle. After finishing the degree (and getting over feeling so gutted spending £50,000 just on a piece of paper), I will have to find a proper job and start saving to pay for my future children's education. Strange as it may seem, this vicious circle is very common in my part of the world.
To come back to my classmates, I generally like them and we have a laugh together. I just hope they can be just a bit more considerate towards me, especially with the pressure I'm under. When some of them took part in the anti top-up fee demo some months ago, I fully acknowledged the concern. All of us are against universities or other educational institutions taking yet more money from students.
Personally I think education should be free for everyone. But then again, nothing in life is free. Not just time and money: our very existence itself is borrowed. I'm not by nature a Darwinist, but I'd lift my hat to the old man for giving us a fundamental lesson of natural selection. When it really comes down to it, life is probably the survival of the richest.
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