I'm a second-year student in International Relations at the University of Edinburgh, hailing from Finland. This September I got in a complicated situation that annihilated my savings, and what I'm doing here is raising funds to get at least some of it back. So here's the story!
I flew back to Edinburgh from my summer holidays on 1 September, with the intention of just dropping all of my stuff in my new second-year student flat before leaving for a seminar on the 2nd. As I arrived on the first day of the contract, one of my two flatmates told me that our landlord seemed a bit too keen on us reconsidering our decision to rent the flat for the year. She had emphasised the flat's mouse problem, of which we had heard earlier but which we had decided to try and tolerate. Fearful of the idea of another round of flathunting, I left for Italy for the seminar hoping that we get to stay in the flat.
On the 2nd, as I was changing flights, I received a message from the other flatmate of mine, who was seriously angry with the former. My flatmates had got in a fight over which of the two rooms that weren't mine should go to which one of them. I was away so I don't know precisely what happened, but there clearly was a rapid escalation, as the two were reluctant to agree on who owed how much money to whom, and over who was stealing stuff from whom. I tried to mediate to the exent that I could from distance, but there was no conciliation. I arrived in my destination, a remote Italian island, after 30 hours of travel and two filled sick bags on the ferry, though.
While I was at the seminar, it became increasingly clear that there was no way my two flatmates could live together, and they were enraged enough to make take quick action on that point. Combined with the fact that our landlord wasn't keen on us staying - this for a reason which hasn't been explained to me to date -, this meant that the contract would be cancelled within a few days. The problem: I was attending a seminar in Italy, wasn't prepared for flathunting, and wasn't coming back until a few days before the contract finishes.
As I was travelling back home (again an overnight stay at an airport, so it was two all-nighters in ten days, plus that last-night-of-seminar party where I left the dancefloor at 5am), I was sending out lots of panicked messages to people who had posted on flat share groups. There was no luck - of the people who had something to offer, one had a vacant room in a flat where two people were "stoners ahahaha", and one was quite an obvious scam attempt by a man(?) whose Facebook cover photo was a close-up of his chapped palm. The description on his Facebook profile says "I am a normal man looking for a serious date I am sincerly looking am divorced and have two chlds", but I didn't concur either on "normal man" or on "sincerely looking".
At this point, because of the party and the stay at the airport, I hadn't slept in a bed for more than three hours in the last sixty hours or so. It was Saturday night, and it turned out that I had to move out of the current flat on Monday, not Wednesday as I had thought. There was around 40 hours left before moving out, and I had no flat to go to. What I found was a private student studio close to where I had lived in my first year, available immediately and some £2,000 a year cheaper than any of the comparable offers of private accommodation that could be found at the time. It was £8,820 a year, and having calculated that I just had the money on my accounts thanks to student loans, I decided to go for it. After that it was bedtime!
The student studio is modern and spacious, and definitely fits my needs. A friend accommodated me for a couple of nights while I was waiting for the paperwork to go through with the new flat, but getting into the new room and doing laundry after a long while was certainly relieving. That was after one night in an alternative but identical room in the halls, as on the move-in day my room was being used as a packed storage that strongly smelt of old rags, but after sincerely looking normal men, that wasn't a big deal of course. There also was a suspicion that my previous landlord was in fact subletting the flat illegally to me and my two flatmates, so maybe I dodged a legal bullet by moving into a well-established provider's place.
The problem here is that living in the new place, despite perhaps being cheaper than in a comparable studio elsewhere, still costs me £3,300 a year more than what the old flat would have ended up costing. Moreover, since I had no UK-based guarantor, I had to pay for the entire year's rent upfront. Thankfully I had savings, thanks to which I nearly broke even, though I did have to ask my mother (who has her own financial problems) for €600 for covering the difference and for living. Anyway, the savings of around £3,500 I had are now essentially gone. Even though the Finnish state is generous, the monthly student benefits don't exactly make you rich, so the savings would be a nice safety net to have. I have applied for funding from Finnish foundations dedicated to students, but even if these applications are accepted, the funds would only arrive later in the autumn.
That was a lot of info packed into one story, and didn't even include the time when I got food poisoning at the seminar, or when I hit my finger in an Italian ceiling fan while Can't Hold Us by Macklemore was playing (the ceiling did hold me, the wound on my finger was pretty deep). Anyway, hopefully it was moving and amusing, and it would be great if you wanted to help me out so I wouldn't have to dread my bank statement anymore!