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KU student’s extreme commuting

By River Reporter Oct 30, 2013

Money problems are leading more KU students to live at home while studying, including third-year student Maria Bergem – who saves travels over 700 miles from Oslo to Kingston.

Bergem, 20, a psychology and criminology student, saves money by spending £50 on a return flight with Ryanair, compared to the £120 she used to spend on accommodation in Kingston.

“Due to having very few hours of university every week, I decided to live at home and follow the lectures on Study Space to save money and to concentrate on university work without all the temptations London has to offer,” said Bergem.

She lives at her parent’s house rent-free and commutes instead of renting locally because of the high living costs in Kingston.

Bergem has five hours of classes a week and only attends them when she is in the UK. She said: “When you are at home, with no lectures to go to it is very easy to be tempted to watch TV or go out instead of studying.

“A student needs to have a lot of self-discipline in order to sit down and get just as much done as you would if you were going to lectures.”

She admitted that she spends too much money on socialising. “I miss going out with my friends to have drinks and eating out in Kingston, it’s not the same in Norway,” she said.

   Maria Bergem: Extreme Commuter. Credit: Sara Linnea

“In one week in Kingston I can easily blow between £100-200 as I get tempted to shop and enjoy luxuries such as eating out.”

When she is in UK, she stays with her boyfriend house at Ponders End in London. She explained that it can be hard to have a long distance relationship.

Her boyfriend, T’shan Warner-Noel, said: “I feel a bit down that she is no longer a train ride away, but I know how much this will benefit her and her studies.

“Right now our communication is stronger than ever, we know we will have to work through it and make time for each other.”

The British Council has estimated that students need up to £1,050 a month to live in Kingston.

Bergem is not the only student who has chosen to commute from home this year. Luke Savidge, 20, a third-year student at Kingston University, travels three times a week from Essex to Kingston, saving up to half of what he used to spend on accommodation.

He said: “Overall I feel that commuting has allowed me to save money, although I did have one night where I missed the last train home and ended up spending £90 on a motel. It was not the best but it was memorable.” 

Savidge feels that living away from campus has been a good thing.

“Staying at home has allowed me to see old friends more often than I would if I was living at university,” he added.

However Vice President Student Life, Elizabeth Carse recognises that all commuting students can find it hard to get the community feeling of Kingston University.

“It may be more difficult to commit to many extra-curricular activities if they are outside of academic hours,” she said.

A normal day coming back to Kingston

7.00am – Leave the house

7.30am – Check in at the airport

9.15am – Board plane

11.15am – Arrive at Stanstead

11.40am – Get on train to Kingston

12.40pm – Arrive in Kingston

1.00pm – Arrive at first lecture of the day at University

5.00pm – Meets up with friends

7.00pm – Go out for dinner and drinks

12.00pm – Stays at her boyfriend’s house for the night.




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