How I fund my studies: Rhianna
20 September 2022
We know that funding your studies is a significant factor when you are deciding if Norland is the place for you.
More than one in four of our students (27%) were awarded a bursary from Norland to support the costs of their study in 2021/22. One of those was second-year student Rhianna (Set 45). She recently participated in a Q&A to discuss how she funds her studies with the assistance of an Emily Ward bursary, working while studying, budgeting as a student and more.
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Rhianna and I am 22. I am a first-year Norland student in Set 45. I’m bilingual, originally from Spain, and I moved to England in 2008 and have lived in Grimsby ever since. Prior to Norland, I was babysitting and nannying privately while also working as a care worker for the elderly.
How did you hear about Norland and why did you choose to study here?
I found out about Norland through my tutor towards the end of my first year studying a Level 3 childcare course. I had previously mentioned to them that I was interested in nannying and looking at different agencies within London. However, I still felt underprepared to start full-time nannying. This is when my tutor mentioned Norland to me and encouraged me to research the college and see what I thought. Upon researching Norland and reading everything about it, I just fell in love with everything about the place.
How was your first year? What were your highlights?
My first year at Norland and in Bath was really exciting. Getting to move out and be completely independent was really thrilling for me! I had a lot of fun being able to walk to new places and get lost in a new city. My highlights so far have been the jobs I have had, even as a student, participating in open days and my new life in Bath.
How do you fund your studies?
Before coming to Norland, I worked for a care company for about two years. I was able to save up about £2,000 to put towards the costs of living away from home.
I use all my student finance to fund my tuition fees and the rest is covered by earnings from my jobs. I’ve had a few jobs since starting at Norland. These have included jobs through the student job shop such as nannying at weddings and stepping in for other students when they haven’t been able to work their shift.
The family I work for mainly require help with night shifts due to their child needing 24-hour care. Occasionally I do day shifts, but only during holidays. My working days are Friday and Saturday nights during term time, while in the holidays I will either work five nights and have two days off or if the other carer isn’t around, I will switch between nights and days during the week. My other job is based at Norland as a student helper in the library where I will do a shift on Tuesdays and if any spaces are available during the rest of the week I always ask if I can do them. Occasionally I pick up babysitting jobs, meaning a third job, but only if I know I can do it and will have the energy.
I fit my work around my timetable. Helping in the library on a Tuesday is good as once I’ve completed all my jobs for the evening, I can sit and do a bit of my coursework. It‘s the same with the night shifts – I can work on my assignments through the night when I have time. I keep my Sundays free to catch up on sleep and then during the afternoon/evening I will do the rest of my assignments.
Some people may be lucky and have parents that are able to help cover some of their study costs. My parents would prefer I ask them for help if I’m really struggling, which thankfully I haven’t needed to do yet. I use my maintenance loan of around £9,000 per year to support living costs and if I have any spare, then I put it towards my tuition fees. I also receive a bursary from Norland.
My current accommodation is £500 for rent plus roughly £50 for bills. I eat later in the day, due to being used to late dinners from living in Spain, so I don’t share meals with my housemates. However, sharing the cooking is a great way to save money, but you need to consider if any of your housemates have any allergies or intolerances.
How important is the bursary in helping you fund your studies?
I receive a partial Emily Ward bursary. I tend to put it in a backup savings account and then when it’s the beginning of the month I move across the overall amount of money I need for things such as rent or food. Anything I have spare at the end of the month, I keep in my savings as backup money to then either put towards tuition or travelling to placements.
My advice is to complete the bursary application as soon as Norland sends the email to you saying you can begin the application. It’s a lot less stressful with the bursary and is a huge help in covering lots of things. I’ve always thought of it as an extra bit of income to help provide help in any situation without panicking too much about how much you have left in the bank to cover your rent, bills and any other expenditure. Whatever money you earn from working (if you decide to work) can be spent as you need, as long as you make sure it fits in with your budgeting.
What advice would you give to prospective students about overcoming the financial hurdles of studying at Norland?
Try to work before coming to Norland. Save up as much as you can so you have some backup money just in case. Go to the cheaper shops for the uniform or other items required for the course. For example, I bought men’s brogues from a supermarket quite cheaply, and bought my tights in bulk. I also wear the blazer option and I’ve since seen a lot of sand-coloured trousers in cheaper high street shops that are good value. My bag, which I bought from a supermarket, is really sturdy and has lots of pockets! There’s also a Facebook group for Norland students, so keep an eye out for posts from students about any uniform items they’re selling. I definitely will be offering some of my items on there.
There’s nothing wrong with stocking up on dry food to keep you going throughout the year, rather than buying fresh and wasting it. Rice, pasta and canned goods or anything like the simple foods are all under £1 and have long shelf lives which is better than buying fresh food which goes out of date quicker. Try to think of things along those lines and it’ll make life easier.
Do you consider the benefits you’ll get once a fully-qualified Norlander are worth the fees?
I do need to constantly remind myself that the end will be worth all the money being spent now, although for the time being I need to get through to third year first before I can think about being financially stable. The future is always uncertain, so I’d rather not think about it yet. A family will see each person shine through in their own way and reward each of us differently. I’m more interested in helping families and children in need around the world, so I’m not expecting to have a high paid job. However, it is reassuring to know that we have the support of our own employment agency.
What are you looking forward to in the future?
Overall, I’m excited about pretty much everything. I can’t wait to develop my cooking and sewing skills on the Norland diploma as well as all the new experiences in placements and working with families. I will be thrilled when I am finally fully qualified, out in the world as a Norland Nanny. At the age of 18, I wasn’t ready to go into full-time work and I wanted to remain in education to further my knowledge. I’m very much living in the moment.
My advice to future students is to take as many pictures as you can throughout the years before, during and after Norland… time goes very quickly here!