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August 26, 2016

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» Students' Union Expert Guides for Freshers!

Where it all begins

USWSU Expert Guides: The Plan

USWSU will help you get ready for your University adventure…

Expert Guide Number One

In this week’s guide, Sam, VP Pontypridd will be sharing his expert knowledge on everything USW, from activities and events to getting the most out of Freshers 2016.

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» Freshers' Guide to... Budgeting

One of the most useful things you can do is to make a budget, otherwise you might be having a miserable time towards the end of term.

There are many budget calculators out there, but really, you’re better off making your own budget – and making a new one at the start of each term.

How to plan

Step 1: Incoming Money! :-)

Start looking only at the first term. Add together all your known and confirmed incomes for this term:

  • Student Loan / Maintenance Loan
  • Any scholarships payments
  • Any salary from a job (if you have one)
  • Any allowance from parents
  • Any other certain income
Step 2: Outgoing Money! :-(

Then, add together all the fixed expenses for the whole term.

  • Accommodation
  • Any utilities, bills, insurance (internet, electricity, gas, water, etc.)
  • Transport costs
  • Any other fixed costs
Step 3: Maths!!! O.o

Then, calculate:

  • Subtract the total fixed expenses from your total confirmed income. The result is the money you have available.
  • Count the number of weeks you’ll be on campus
  • Divide your available money by the number of weeks. That gives you the maximum weekly budget.
  • To be on the safe side, take at least 20% off. Better yet, 30%.
  • That gives you a ballpark weekly budget you can use for food, clothes and socials.

Why take 20%-30% off? You’ll need more money around Freshers’ Week, Christmas, and perhaps around Halloween. You may need to travel home to your family unexpectedly, or have other surprise expenses. If you don’t plan to put some money aside for such occasions, you’ll end up in debt, or struggling to get by. Even in Freshers’ Week and at Christmas, you’ll still have to watch the pennies – but if you budget correctly, at least there will be some pennies left by the time Christmas comes around!

Step 4: Stick to the budget!

Once you know the weekly budget you can afford, you’ll have to find a way to stick to your budget that works for you. Here are three different methods that can help:

  • take out cash at the start of the week and then leave your bank card at home, using only the cash you’ve already taken out. (Don’t cheat by using your smartphone to pay for things!)
  • use a spreadsheet to keep track of your spending and your budget.
  • if you’re very organised, try piggybanking: set up several different bank accounts, each fed by a standing order and each storing money for expected costs. Storing this money separately from the money you can use for everyday living means you’ll always know how much you can safely spend. (If you do set up more than one bank account, do not choose accounts that can have overdrafts – multiple overdrafts are a road to certain financial doom! Open only one student bank account – but choose carefully.)
Step 5: Remain Vigilant! O:-)

Monitor your spending during term. Keep track of your money and, if your circumstances change, make a new budget!

Step 6: Redo From Start.

Repeat Steps 1-5 each term!


Money Tips

  • Read through MoneySavingExpert’s Supermarket Shopping Tips
    • Why not try menu planning and cooking and freezing some things in advance? (Just don’t hog the entire freezer: your flatmates also need it!)
    • Forget the “finest” food brands. These just add a dollop of fat, sugar and/or salt for a big price hike. Use discount products instead.
    • The late afternoon is a great time for bargains wherever perishable foor is sold!
    • Learn to cook a few budget meals (thanks to inflation, these will set you back more than 50p today – but the recipes will still be budget friendly!)
  • Keep away from take-aways – A well-planned shopping trip at the supermarket once a week will save you money. Make a shopping list and stick to it, and never go into a supermarket while you are hungry, or you will buy ALL THE FOOD.
  • Student Discount Cards – Student Discounts are not always advertised. If they don’t have a visible sign, ask at the checkout about student discounts. An NUS card is often worth the investment. All shops with student discount recognise it, and it includes discounts at The Co-Operative groceries and Amazon (on some product types)!
  • Think hard before signing long-term contracts – You may have money now but before you sign a monthly contract (e.g. for a mobile phone or broadband) ask yourself if you will be able to afford it in 3 months’ time. Many contracts last up to 24 months, and your circumstances may change in that time. Some contracts (especially broadband deals) include hefty charges if you need to cancel early.
  • Don’t go mad in freshers’ week. Lots of shops (and bars / clubs) raise prices early in October, in order to make the most of students who just received their loans. You don’t need everything that is on offer, and you don’t need it immediately. Shop around and compare prices. When buying personal purchases such as clothes, think about what you can afford, rather than what you want.

discount shop

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August 25, 2016

Glamlife News from SS News Application
Glamlife News from SS News Application
News for tag - unilife
» Blackboard – unavailable Saturday 3 to Sunday 4 September

Following the recent Blackboard upgrade some additional essential maintenance is required.

This will be scheduled from 19.30 on Saturday 3 September until 07.00 Sunday 4 September during which time https://unilearn.southwales.ac.uk will be unavailable.

IT Services would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.

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Unilife News from International site
Unilife News from International site
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» Telephone Frauds and Scams

We have, again, been made aware that a number of students have recently been contacted by fraudsters saying that there is a problem with their visa and then trying to extort money from them.

Please be aware of their tactics and know that the Home Office or legitimate organisations never contact students to insist they pay money at very short notice. For details, see the UKCISA item on telephone frauds and scams.

If you are contacted by someone purporting to be from the Home Office or other government agency, please ask for their contact details and tell them you will ask the University’s Immigration & International Student Advice team (IISA) to speak to them on your behalf. If they refuse to accept this, then it is likely to be a scam, state you will contact the UKVI via the University for verification and then hang up. Please then contact the IISA immediately.

Glamlife News from SS News Application
Glamlife News from SS News Application
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» Freshers' Guide to... Meningitis

  • Meningitis is a dangerous illness. If not diagnosed very quickly, it can kill or result in permanent harm.
  • Freshers at universities are at an elevated risk of catching meningococcal meningitis compared to most other demographics.
  • There are various types of meningitis. Some, but not all, can be prevented through vaccinations.

  • Protect yourself and your friends by learning which symptoms to look out for.
  • Protect yourself by making sure you’ve had the correct vaccinations. In particular, make sure you’ve had a vaccine that includes protection against Meningitis W.

Protect Yourself and Your Friends: Know the Symptoms

The most common type of meningitis in the UK is Meningitis B. There is no vaccine for adults against Men B, and babies have only started receiving the newly developed vaccination in 2015.

Therefore, the only protection against meningitis is knowledge of the symptoms and vigilance.

Symptoms include:

  • high fever
  • headache
  • very fast progression of the illness (the fever rises within a few hours to a point where the ill person can become disoriented and unable to realise the seriousness of their condition)
  • vomitting
  • neck stiffness
  • fear of bright lights
  • cold hands & feet
  • a rash that does not fade when pressed with a glass

Not all symptoms may present themselves – do not wait for the rash to appear!

If you feel ill after starting at university, please contact friends and family and ask them to check up on you every couple of hours during the first day. If you think you may have meningitis, phone emergency services and ask for an ambulance.

If a friend or flatmate falls ill (or appears to have a bad hangover!), please check up on them after an hour or two. If they have a high fever or other symptoms of meningitis when you check on them, phone emergency services and request an ambulance.

Protect Yourself: Meningitis ACWY Vaccination

Most people have had a vaccination against Meningitis C as a young child but protection falls over time. Since 2015, additional vaccinations against Meningitis W are recommended in the UK.

Meningitis W used to be extremely rare in the UK. However, the number of cases has been growing rapidly. Therefore, since summer 2015, young people about to finish secondary education are routinely given Men ACWY vaccines (rather than just Meningitis C vaccines).

  • UK students: If you’ve had a meningitis booster vaccine since August 2015, then you were probably given the Meningitis ACWY vaccine. Please check your vaccination record! However, if you were born between 1st September 1990 and 31st August 1996, you are unlikely to have had the Men ACWY vaccine. If you haven’t had the Men ACWY jab and you are under 25 years old, please contact your GP to get vaccinated.
  • EU / international students: if you’re under 25 and a first year student, you should get a vaccination against meningitis if you haven’t already done so. Specifically, please get the Men ACWY vaccine.

Why do I need to have the vaccine?

The risk of Meningococcal disease is increased in the first weeks of starting university, so it is important you make sure you are protected.

This is the result of mixing closely with lots of new people, some of whom may unknowingly carry the bacteria which causes meningitis. Meningitis can spread quickly in areas where people live in close contact with each other, such as university halls of residence or shared accommodation. Those returning to university to continue their studies are not at increased risk.

How do I get the vaccination?

Call your GP surgery and say you need to have the Meningitis ACWY vaccination because you’re starting university.

More information

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August 24, 2016

Glamlife News from SS News Application
Glamlife News from SS News Application
News for tag - unilife
» Furry Friends and Student Life

In the past few years, the university has received anecdotal reports that some pets have been poorly cared for and, in a few cases, abandoned by students.

Please don’t get a pet while you’re a student. If you already own a pet, please think very carefully before deciding whether to take it to university with you.

Pets are not allowed in student halls. Most tenancy agreements with private landlords also prohibit the keeping of pets.

Even if you move into accommodation that allows pets, caring for an animal is a big commitment which may not be compatible with student life.

Many pets have a longer life expectancy than the duration of a university course. Anyone getting a pet has to be able to care for the animal permanently.

Abandoning a pet is cruel and illegal under UK law, as it is the pet owner’s responsibility to ensure their pet 'has somewhere suitable to live’.

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August 23, 2016

Unilife News from International site
Unilife News from International site
News for tag - unilife
» Drop In Reduced Hours

Due to staff training Drop In will run on reduced hours for the rest of this week.

Wednesday 24th and Thursday 25th – Drop In will close at 1pm

Friday 26th No Drop In

We will still be available by telephone and email and apologise for any inconvenience caused by this closure. We will open – as normal – next week.

August 22, 2016

Glamlife News from SS News Application
Glamlife News from SS News Application
News for tag - unilife
» Freshers' Guide to Finding a Student Job

A student job can be useful to avoid debt, gain valuable work experience and help you achieve a nicer lifestyle.

The Careers and Employability Service have pulled together information that can help you land such a job:

  • Join up with the USW Careers Facebook and Twitter accounts to keep to-to-date with the service.

Pro Tip: Beat the rush and start looking & applying for part-time jobs as early as possible!

Part Time Jobs Fair Banner

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August 17, 2016

Unilife News from International site
Unilife News from International site
News for tag - unilife
» Drop In Closure

Due to internal office moves Drop In will be closed on Friday 19th August

We will be available by telephone and email so you will still be able to contact us if your query is urgent.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused and will be available, at our normal opening hours next week.

August 16, 2016

Glamlife News from SS News Application
Glamlife News from SS News Application
News for tag - unilife
» Freshers' Check List

There’s about a million things for you to do. But fear not, you can break things down into smaller manageable tasks. We’ve put together two check lists – one listing things you should get sorted before you arrive on campus, and the other for things you should do in the first few weeks of term.


You can download the checklist as a Word Document and change things to suit you. Perfect for printing!

Before you get here

Things you must do:

If you are a Home/EU student and haven't enrolled yet, go to the Getting Started at USW website and click on "enrol online". However, non-EU International students enrol on campus during induction week.
If you pay your own fees, decide which payment plan you want to use, and arrange payments.
Good accommodation can make a big difference to your time at university. Have a read through our House Shares pages.
Attending inductions is very important – you’ll probably be allocated into Student Groups for the rest of the year during academic induction sessions. Early in September, find and download induction timetables. There will be links on your UniLife homepage to take you to induction information for your campus.
Plan how and when you’ll get here. If you’ll be living in halls, see the Moving In page to find out when you should aim to arrive.
If you’re an international student, make sure you read the pre-departure information (which includes several additional to-do lists)
Make sure you have enough money in your bank account to last you at least two weeks, just in case there are any delays in receiving your student loan.
Make sure all your vaccinations are in order. Please double check that you have had the correct Meningitis vaccination, especially if you were born between 1st September 1990 and 31st August 1996.

Things you should do:

Get an overview of your finances for the first term and plan a budget.
Don't leave it to the last minute - you don't want _all_ your stuff to be in bin bags rather than boxes & suitcases! Here's a list of things to bring to uni with you. There's also a separate list of things to bring for international students.
Check UniLife regularly: at least once a week!
If you are already living in the UK, apply for a student bank account well in advance, so it's ready to use before you get here.

Things you might want to do:

Apply online for an NUS Extra Card to get discounts in shops, online and offline.
Decide which social events, parties and club nights to buy tickets for. Some freshers' events sell out in advance.
Find fellow freshers on social networks (but please don't reveal too much of your personal information online).
Practice how to cook one or two meals (and if you want to make friends quickly, learn how to bake a simple cake, brownies or cookies!). If you're not au fait with laundering clothes, you might want to ask your parents for a few pointers, too!
Make a list of regional things and places to see: sometimes, a day trip or a weekend away can be a huge boost to morale!
Give any pet you may have a big cwtch. Ditto for parents / family. Promise them you'll call them regularly – and keep your promise!

international students jumping for joy

After you’ve arrived on campus

Things you must do:

Attend your induction sessions in freshers' week. There, you'll probably get allocated to a student group, which determines which Timetable you'll be using all year.
Get your timetable sorted and make sure you understand how to read it.
Register with the University Health Service and also with a local GP clinic. Don't wait until you're ill - that's the worst time to have to sort out which clinic to go to!

Things you should do:

Find out which books you need to read for your modules. You might need to buy some of them and get others from the library.
Register to vote: having a continuous record will be good for your credit rating.
Collect your NUS Card (if you have ordered one) from the Students' Union on your campus.
Get a TV Licence if you have a TV, or if you watch live TV or BBC iPlayer online.
If you are a full-time student and eligible, get a Council Tax Exemption Certificate once teaching starts. With this letter, you won't have to pay Council Tax.
Keep track of your bank balance and check it against your budget on a weekly basis.
If you live in the private sector, find out what the rubbish & recycling collection schedule for your area is. Avoid upsetting your neighbours and incurring a fine!
Decide whether you need home contents insurance – burglars target student houses especially because of all the gadgets and students' sometimes lax attitude to security! (If you live in halls, insurance may already be included in your contract)

Things you might want to do:

Book yourself onto some Taster Sessions organised by the Sport Centre and clubs and societies – a unique chance to have a go at something new!
Browse through UniLife Connect, USW's careers portal. The vacancies database includes student jobs, summer jobs and graduate jobs...
If your neighbours know you, this'll make them more likely to approach you in person (rather than calling the authorities) if there's ever a problem.

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