Sunday, 28 June 2015

Student Sundays: Accommodation

Hello everyone! Time for another Student Sunday post! Last week's post(link here) was really, really popular. One of my most read posts ever and I had about 4 times the amount of page views I usually get the day it was published! Amazing! So glad that people are enjoying this series and finding it helpful! Today's post is about the accommodation. I'll be talking about the different types of accommodation available to students and discussing the pros and cons of each option. I've only stayed in one type so far so the pros and cons of the others are things that I've been told by friends who tried out that type.


So I thought I'd start off by explaining what I did for accommodation in first year. Livingston, my home town, is right next to Edinburgh and its really popular for students to live at home and travel to Edinburgh/Glasgow for uni every day. This is what I had planned to do but decided to apply for accommodation. I just decided that I wanted the independence and freedom of living on my own at university. Being quite shy, I was worried that I wouldn't fit in in halls but wanted to push myself and try it. I'm so glad I did because this last year has been the best year of my life and I wouldn't change my first year experience at all! I stayed in the East Newington Place accommodation which is a great inexpensive halls in Edinburgh. I've linked it for any prospective Edinburgh students who want to have a look. It was a a shared bathroom which was completely fine so I wouldn't recommend paying extra for an en-suite if you are considering uni accommodation.


Stay At Home

Pros: If you live close enough to your university then living at home and travelling to uni every day is an option. This can definitely be a lot cheaper and you can still enjoy your home comforts. You'll be able to do all your laundry at home for free and still eat meals with your family. You don't have to leave the dog/cat behind either!

Cons: You will probably miss out on a lot of the social aspects of university and you might find it harder to meet people and make friends. For example you might not be able to make parties or nights out if you have to make the last bus/train home. The time that it takes you to travel to uni each day also might be quite long. This is the main thing that put me off staying at home. I'm from a town near Edinburgh where most people stay at home but I'm so glad that I didn't.

Things to consider: Research into how much money it would cost you to travel to uni every day. Also take into consideration how long it would take you, how early you would have to get up in the morning and how traffic would affect your journey. Would also be a good idea to ask your parents if they would like you to pay dig money if you were to stay at home. I know most people don't think their parents will want dig money but they might surprise you so its definitely something to take into consideration.



University Accomodation: Self Catered

Pros: One of the best ways to meet new people and gain the independence of living alone. Normally electricity and heating are covered in your rent as well so you don't have to worry about paying those bills separately. Also you will get to meet a lot of international semester-abroad students whilst living in uni halls. One of my flatmates in the second semester was visiting from America. You're going to have to learn to cook and clean for yourself eventually so its a good idea to do this in first year when you will have more free time to figure things out.

Cons: Can be pretty noisy when people in your building have parties. From my own experience though this wasn't very bad unless it was at the weekends and people would turn it down if you asked. There's also the chance that you might not like your flatmates although if this happens you might be able to chance flats. Generally the accommodation services will be as helpful as they can be but sometimes its just impossible to get a flat change because there are no spare rooms available! If you aren't a very confident cook then having to cook all your own meals may be a problem.

Things to consider: Have a look online at the accommodation your uni offers. Generally I've found from looking around my friend's accommodations that the bedrooms are all pretty similar. So look out for ones that have nice kitchens and bathrooms. Also avoid the virtual tours as they often don't like the rooms at all. The one for mine was uploaded after I'd accepted my offer and it made the rooms look horrible. Mine was nothing like it was in the tour! It was so much nicer.


University Accomodation: Catered

Pros: You still have the independence of living away from home but don't have to worry about cooking your own food or doing dishes or anything. And you won't have to deal with your flatmates leaving the kitchen in a total state because you won't actually have a kitchen. If your parents are worried about you getting on by yourself then staying in catered accommodation might put their minds at ease.

Cons: This option is usually much more expensive than self catered. At my uni it costs about £50 more per week and lunch is not included. I only spend between £10 and £20 a week on food whilst at uni so I know this definitely would not be worth it for me. Also if you don't like the food then you're in trouble!

Things to consider: Is the extra cost for the food actually worth the money? Speak to your parents if they are paying for your accommodation and see if this is an extra price they are willing to pay.


Privately Rent

Pros: Generally much cheaper and you can get a lot more for your money. You have the full independence of living by yourself and you will most likely get to choose your own flatmates. So you could stay with your friends if you wanted to. Privately rented flats that accept students are often close to the university but close to the night life of the city too.

Cons: It will be harder to meet people who are at the same uni as you, especially during Fresher's week. Also generally for private flats you have to pay the electricity and gas bills as they aren't included in your rent like most university accommodations. This might be intimidating if its your first time living by yourself. You'll also probably have to arrange for your own wifi and it might not be set up until a few weeks after you move in. Say hello to scrounging around in the library to use their wifi.

Things to consider: Who would you share with? Bare in mind that staying with 'friends from school' might not be a great idea as you will all change a lot over the course of the year. Also research into letting agencies in your university city and see who does the cheaper flats that are still nice.

So those are just some things to think about when deciding what sort of accommodation is right for you. I really enjoyed my time in a self catered university flat but that's not to say I wouldn't have also enjoyed the other options too! Also just a reminder that if you haven't gotten accommodation sorted yet then you should really get round to doing that sooner rather than later!

Previous Student Sundays posts: 
IntroGetting StartedAccommodationCooking For YourselfMaking Halls HomeWhat To Pack For UniversityFriends & FlatmatesWhat's In My Uni BagSaving Money On FoodFresher's Week Survival Guide, What To Expect From Classes

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