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Where Should I Live After First Year of University?

Updated: Jul 25, 2021


Where should I live after 1st year of university? It feels like your friends already have their accommodation finalised for next year, but it’s completely normal if you’ve not decided yet! It is a big commitment to make after all! We hope this post will help guide your decision as we share our considerations when making this decision last year.


The main choices that you have for accommodation in 2nd year and beyond are living at home, University halls, renting a house and private accommodation.


As we are international students, living at home isn’t an option for us so we won’t be covering it in this post.


For All Accommodation, Try to Check:


  1. Is there a lift there? If you’re staying in a flat, trying to move in with all your suitcases (especially as an international student!) is going to be extremely difficult without a lift. Jean had to do that in her first year and it was torture.

  2. Do you get your own bathroom? Or will it be shared? How many people will be sharing one bathroom?

  3. How many flatmates will you have (if any)?

  4. Is it single sex or co-ed? For people with religious requirements, this is particularly important to consider.

  5. What is soundproofing like in your room? Consider sounds from your neighbours, flatmates and outside.

  6. How far is it from campus? Are transport links adequate? Would you prefer somewhere close enough to campus that you can walk there?

  7. Does the surrounding area feel safe?

University Halls


For international students, accommodation is usually guaranteed for the entire duration of your course. University halls usually include other facilities that can be used for free/at a reduced price, such as a library and gym. There are also regular social events where you would get the chance to meet new people.


Pros:

  1. Guaranteed for international students at most universities

  2. Rent includes utilities and WiFi

  3. Security surveillance and maintenance support

  4. Regular social events

Cons:

  1. Might not get the place you want to stay at since you will have to include a shortlist of halls you would like to stay at when applying

  2. By the time you find out which hall you have been allocated, it is quite late in the year already. This limits your other choices eg renting a house if you aren’t happy with the allocation.

  3. You might get separated from friends you would like to live with. This is the case for Manchester where the accommodation team tries to make sure there is a good balance in each flat so that 1st year students can integrate well.

  4. Some university halls are not located at a good distance to the university. So, you might have to use public transport to get to campus. (For Manchester, some halls are located at the North campus so if you need to go to the main campus, you’ll have to take a bus to get there. Buses can be crowded in the morning so it’s definitely worth considering this.)

Renting a House


Most university students end up renting a house with a group of people. We think it is quite difficult because you need to find enough people and good houses often get rented out quickly. You might not have met people that you would be happy living with yet, especially in the world of COVID.


Pros:


  1. Suitable if you have a group of friends you want to live with

  2. Can be cheaper than private accommodation and sometimes university halls if you share the house with a lot of people

Cons:

  1. Issues when dealing with landlords

  2. Your friends may not turn out to be good housemates!

  3. Cost: you usually have to pay rent for the summer months at the full/reduced price and utilities are not included in the rent.

  4. Broadband will not be included. It takes 2 weeks for it to be installed so take that into account if you need an internet connection soon after moving in.

  5. If one or a couple of your friends decide to move out of the house after 2nd year, you’ll have to find new housemates and might end up having to live with strangers for the following years.

Private Accommodation


This is when you rent a place from a private company, usually a studio apartment or room in a flat. Rent often includes WiFi and utilities and there is also some form of security and maintenance support.


These properties rarely organise social events for people living in the same place so it will be quite difficult to meet new people.


Pros:

  1. Range of properties available

  2. If you want to live with your friends, you can usually specify who you’d like to live with.

  3. WiFi and utilities included in rent

  4. Security and maintenance support available

  5. Some places also have other facilities eg a common room.

  6. You get lots of freebies throughout the year. (This is how these companies try to entice you to continue living with them in the future!)

Cons:

  1. Little opportunity to meet other people living in the same place

  2. Often more expensive than university halls or sharing a house

Conclusion


We hope this post was helpful! Remember, none of the places discussed here are perfect, they have their own pros and cons. It is best that you consider what your priorities are: cost, proximity to campus, etc.


Our final piece of advice is: ALWAYS MAKE SURE TO GO VIEW THE PLACE BEFORE MAKING ANY DECISIONS. This is not possible for university halls but a viewing is the best way for you to understand what a property is truly like; you also get the opportunity to observe the surrounding area. If you know someone living there, even better! Ask them what their experience has been so far.


While you’re still here, why not check out our recent blog posts on applying to Australian medical schools as an international student and mock interviews? Also make sure to follow our Instagram, do let us know what you’d like to see next!

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