"I worked for two periods of six months in a frozen food warehouse assisting the manager, and then as an assistant in personnel for a chain of newsagents.
"The money really made a difference to me. I was getting the equivalent of pounds 9,000- pounds 11,000 a year. I had to live at home in my fourth and final year because I was in so much debt, and earning something like a reasonable wage was essential. I had to buy clothes for work, and there were travel expenses, too. I managed to buy a car at the end of the second six months. Getting back into writing essays and revising was a hurdle, but I managed it.
"Working while you're a student - even in a field you're studying - means you have to overcome some prejudices. I certainly came across the attitude, `Oh, another student - what do they know about anything?' But I overcame it, and I learned a lot. It's helped me get a permanent job, there's no doubt about that."
"Newcastle is a good city for students. There's a varied student population of all ages and nationalities."
Colin Telford (right), 22, is at University College, Warrington, studying for a BA in business and media
"I come from just outside Belfast, and I decided to come over the water to study because of the particular course on offer here. I've really never regretted it.
"University College is on three sites, and while that means not everyone feels part of the community, those of us on the main campus know each other really well.
"You walk into the bar and you know every face there.
"I've had to work in term and in the vacations from the beginning. In my first year I worked at the student union bar, and in my third I was bar manager.
"There are more chances now to work part-time in the surrounding area, as well as in Warrington itself. The college has links with an industrial park nearby, and students can take casual contracts there. Many media students take a year out and work at Granada studios in Manchester.
"I've worked in the summer vacations in Tesco, and I've been a passenger escort for Servisair, too, at Belfast airport - yes, wearing a blazer and a smile at 6 o'clock in the morning, with a hangover..."
Interviews by Heather Welford