Living abroad – ooh, looks expensive!

We were looking at he cost of living today and how the UK compares with abroad.

I’d expected this country to be quite expensive, but it seems that we have it good. I’ve just been doing some poking around and found this study that was sponsored by the visa experts IXP Visas who asked over two thousand British ex-pats whether they thought life was dearer wherever they are.

Not surprisingly Japan came out top of the study with 72% of people claiming that life was most expensive, or a lot more expensive. I can’t believe that 28% didn’t seem to think so as everything I’ve read makes it sound crazy costly.

Switzerland and Norway were also cited as being very expensive. You can see that though can’t you? Both are immaculate, with very strong social support for workers. In Norway even the blokes get a years’ paternity leave, so you have to pay for that somehow. They are so well paid though. I’ve a Swedish friend who’s a teacher, yet she goes to Norway in the two big holiday sot work in hotels as she can stash a whole lot of funds.

Perhaps I should talk to IXP Visas about doing a stint abroad? I can’t see it happening, although the trip to South America is still a real possibility (note the slight downgrade from a certainty as it was a few weeks back, that’s just me being realistic).

Spotify has just served up Damien Rice’s 9 Crimes. Oh god, the song is so poignant, even without really understanding what it’s about. But that’s Damien Rice I guess. The girl, Lisa Hannigan, could sing to me all night. And I’d happily go live in Japan for her if that’s what it took.

More and More Essays

It seems that ever since I was about eleven years old I have written essays week in week out, yet strangely I enjoy it more now than I ever did. Just the fact that I bother my hole to write this blog testifies to the fact that I quite enjoy a bit of writing now and then. I even fancy the idea of learning about commercial blogging and starting up something about Newcastle bands or some such as that.

Today we have been working on something for a business that sponsors the college called Marked By Teachers, they offer help to students in all sorts of subjects, especially the Top 5 A Levels taken by students.

The top 5 are Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and English. Blimey! That’s at A Level! I only took one of those and that was English. But then I’m a bit of a dunce when it comes to the logical subjects, as I see Maths, and the sciences.

I did take French, Geography and Religious Studies too, so it’s not as though I’m completely stupid, just that I don’t do very well when it comes to rules.

I started to enjoy English more after I started to study French, at that point we needed to learn grammar properly and that helped my interest to kick in and I got heavily into the existentialists, in particular Sartre and Camus, I used to go around with French copies of Sartre – god knows what people must have thought of me, but hey, they survived, I survived.

I’m quite up for the principles of Marked By Teachers. I might even approach them to see if I can do a placement there next year. But then again I may have launched a band by then and have riches within sight.

Example essays

Writing an essay has to be one of the most difficult parts of the university experience.  I’ve struggled to write essays before and found out how difficult it can be when it’s not one of your better subjects.  Luckily, I found out about example essays from Marked by Teachers.

One of the things I like about using this site is that they have essays to review for all different levels.  The teachers have provided annotations that offer loads of help.  I can clearly see which areas of my writing I need to improve since I first started using this site.  A better grade is always helpful, isn’t it?

The price is just right too: for less than the cost of a cheap meal, you can have the assurance of better grades.  It’s really a small price to pay if your grades get better and you’ll be able to get a better job after school.  This is such a brilliant idea that I think every student ought to check it out.

It’s really quite easy to use.  If you don’t have loads of free time, you won’t need to spend ages trying to work out how the site works.  There’s so much great information on there that you’ll find what you need for an excellent essay the next time you need to write one.

You might wonder whether you’ll get a quick response if you need help.  There are absolutely no worries there! Just send them an email and expect a fast response from their customer support team.  That’s what my experience was like.  Don’t forget to pass this site along to your friends.  They’ll definitely thank you for it.

My business rivalry

My best mate, Rob, and I went to the same primary school, high school and college. I sort of assumed that we’d both head to Newcastle University, without ever really discussing it.

We both studied the same things and love business, so I was pretty sure we’d end up on the same course at uni.
Anyway, one day I mentioned that I’d applied to some universities and Rob told me he wasn’t bothering. He didn’t like the idea of racking up a load of debt.

I could see his point, but I was pretty sure uni was the right move for me. I was a bit disappointed that he wouldn’t be there, but after a while I decided it would be a pretty interesting way to see how effective uni really is.

Rob’s started his own business and it’s going pretty well for him. He’s certainly earning more than I am at the phone shop.

I want to start my own business eventually and I’m pretty competitive, so I can’t wait to see which one of us can make the biggest success out of our company.

Anyway, Rob’s doing well, but he lacks some of the helpful business knowledge that I’m picking up from my course.

He told me that he was having trouble with getting paid on time by some of his customers, which was causing real problems with his cash flow. They paid eventually, but if he needed the money quickly – to buy more stock – he was in a bit of trouble.

Coincidently, I’d just been studying invoice finance options. It’s pretty difficult to get a bank loan at the moment and invoice financing is an easier – and safer – way to get the money you’re owed quickly.

Basically, you can take out short term loans whenever you issue an invoice and pay them off using the funds from the invoice whenever the customer pays. When I told Rob about this, his eyes lit up.

We talked to some invoice finance brokers who helped him to get the best deal and now he’s back to achieving steady growth with his business.

If he keeps on growing it, I might scratch my idea of starting my own business and simply get a job from him!

Studying becomes a little easier

Some very clever guy or another; he is probably dead by now, once said that if you wanted a difficult job done quickly, you should give it to a lazy guy, because he would find the quickest way to do it.

Now I’m in no way implying that I am lazy, but when it comes to studying I’ve always tried to achieve the maximum with the minimum of effort.

That is why, when I recently saw an advertisement for a memory improvement course in the local paper, I immediately signed up for the free introductory seminar.

The guy was absolutely amazing. He was introduced to about 50 members of the audience and afterwards they all stood up, one by one, and he could remember their names. He also knew the 50 states of the USA by heart; he could even recite them backwards.

I was so impressed I worked some overtime at the phone shop and signed up for the actual course. It stretched over four evenings between 6pm and 8pm.

I have to tell you, the techniques I learned in those two hour sessions will probably be useful to me, even when I’m eighty years old; perhaps especially then. I am now also able to recite the 50 states of the US, in any order, and can memorise a list of facts much easier than ever before.

To be honest, remembering something is one thing, but understanding it is quite different. So while the techniques I learned during the course are very handy when it comes to something like Economic History, it doesn’t help me much with Statistics or Economics.

I will never forget my mum’s birthday again though.

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