Before I left, I applied for a lot of grants, so that I didn’t have to get a job in London. I was sponsored by the IB-Groep, the Van Haersoltefonds (LUF), the Curatorenfondsen, The Outbound Study Grant and I got the Study Abroad Award from the Leiden University Faculty of Philosophy.
I made a calculation of how much I could spend in a day on average. In England, I have always asked for a receipt, and written every purchase down in a little notebook. Sometimes, I couldn’t help but overspend my daily allowance, for example during my work placement in Central London. But by keeping track of how much I’d spent and on what I’d spent it, it was easy to compensate the next week.
Life is expensive in London. For example, to get from the Brunel Campus in Uxbridge to Central London and back by tube costs seven pounds. There are corner shops everywhere, but they are terribly expensive. Everyone told me Tesco’s was the cheapest supermarket, but this was anything but true. Sainsbury’s sells more expensive brands, but also has a range of ridiculously cheap products called “Sainsbury’s basics”. The slogan on their bath soap (20 pence for a litre) is “less bubbles, still a good soak”.
I saved a lot of money by getting a bicycle (yes, the flash Bianchi on the left!). I didn’t always have to take the tube anymore, and I found out that I could get fresh, cheap fruit and vegetables on the markets in Ealing and Acton, which are boroughs between Central London and the Brunel Campus.
One thing I never had to cut back on was my cultural nourishment: there are over 240 museums in London, and most of them offer free entrance!