Studying architecture requires hard sacrifices for little return. So why do it?

crop-Simeon Shtebunaev (3)

A campaigner against the hidden cost of studying architecture tells his own very personal story

I chose to study architecture in the United Kingdom because of the prestige of the education system, the reputation of the RIBA and a curiosity about life abroad. My family was a typical middle-class Bulgarian family, with income which in Bulgaria would be considered comfortable and in the UK, sub-standard. Nevertheless, using savings and grandparents’ goodwill I managed to secure enough finances to supposedly fund me throughout my bachelor. Little did I know about the hidden costs of an architectural course and the time-consuming tasks that would restrict my ability to earn as I learn.

It was in the summer of 2011, between my first year and my second year, that I started to worry about my financial situation. Costs were much higher than expected. Printing, model making and travel were essential parts of the course and I was starting to doubt my ability to progress. When financial worries take over, there is little space in one’s mind to prioritise creativity.

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