How is it nearly a new semester? Didn’t I start university yesterday?
It feels very weird thinking back to moving in to Faraday Halls in Fresher’s, to moving to Australia, to moving back to Loughborough, to moving to Watford for my drama placement.Come to think of it, that’s quite a lot of moving!
Recently, one of my friends said to me “it’s crazy how you went to Australia by yourself, now you’ve moved to Watford and you don’t seem to care that you don’t know anyone”. I never thought of it as a big deal, but when I heard that, I gave myself a metaphorical sticker. But come to think of it, moving can be a little difficult and I get why people might think it’s scary. You need to look for places to live, work out how you’re going to finance everything, find friends and just start a whole new life!… Easy peasy right?…
When arriving in Australia and when moving down to Watford I said to my dad “Why do I feel like I’ve borrowed someone’s life”, to which he replied “It’s change, change can be difficult but it doesn’t have to be”. And he’s right – there are ways to meet new people and there are ways to find the best accommodation that suits you.
How, when and where to look
Student halls are available to all Freshers
If you put Loughborough as your first choice you will be guaranteed accommodation.
If you visit ‘Loughborough University Accommodation’ online, you can download a list of facilities and prices. I found this really helpful when comparing accommodation myself.
Now how do you decide which hall is best for you? First, decide if you want to be catered or self-catered and if you want an en-suite or don’t mind sharing a bathroom. This will narrow down your options, so you can then focus on the financial aspect. Another thing to consider is where things are located and their distance. You may want to look on the Loughborough campus map. Consider how far your halls are from your department, from the library, the student’s union and the gym.
Some people say Catered Halls are more sociable, but I have lived in both catered and self-catered halls and I don’t necessarily think there is too much difference. You meet people in your flat and your block anyway and then there are things like Hall Days which everyone gets involved in.
Returning in Second Year
After studying abroad in my first semester of my second year, I was too late to start a housing contract. Luckily I was able to come back to halls as a returner. And you can too, if you’re coming back from study abroad, a gap year or placement, or even if you just fancy living on campus. Just make sure you meet application deadlines, which you can check online.
It’s worth noting that you can also change halls each year unless you’re glued to the whole ‘hall rivalry’ fiction. I personally decided I preferred self-catering so switched from Faraday to William Morris in my second year after study abroad. Applying for accommodation is fairly straightforward, I just had to fill out a quick online form.
I often get asked ‘how did you find coming back to Loughborough from study abroad and going back into halls?’ The answer is I was worried, but I knew everything would work out and I was right. My tutors were helpful getting me back on track. I got lucky and met some great new flatmates. I made even more friends coming back and still kept my old friends from year one. You just have to make sure you stay in contact. Sign up for new clubs and societies to meet new people. Ask your flatmates out for lunch. Why not?
So for my placement year, my parents and I toured Watford and we made a day of it to say the least. It was 7pm and my mum was asking ‘can we leave now?’, to which I replied ‘no we have one final viewing!’. Being persistent (sorry for dragging you around, Mum), but you know I’m glad because I found the best accommodation.
I started by searching housing online near my workplace, I compared prices and how each place looked. I also checked out the street on Google Maps, as I thought it was best to check I’m not heading anywhere dodgy. After selecting a few possible choices, I called up the directory and booked house viewings. I aimed to get as many as possible in the same day, so we didn’t waste too much time and money travelling down.
When I arrived at each house/apartment I asked about prices, about the other people who lived in the building and what the contract includes. It’s also a good idea to try and suss out your landlord, how do they handle maintenance, how do they want paying, does the price include bills. After all the searching I finally decided that an apartment was best for me rather than shared housing. Now I have a large double bed, my own little kitchen space and my showers so big you could fit a small conference meeting in there. Not that I would ever do that…
Sorting out accommodation for study abroad is a little different because physical viewings can prove difficult. This is why arranging accommodation through your university is probably best. I filled in an application, stating my preferences such as en-suite and self-catered. I listed my first, second and third options down just to be safe and did a virtual tour online to get a feel of what the campus was like. Good job I did apply for more than one accommodation because I got my second option, which I was pretty happy with. After all, I ended up with another girl from Loughborough just living across the road from me.
I met people in my block, in my “village”, both international students and Australians. I met people in my classes, friends of friends, then people at socials and clubs. There was really nothing to worry about. My apartment had a large kitchen area, sofa and TV shared between six. I had my own room and a shared en-suite between two.
I’m not 100%, but next year I am thinking about moving into shared housing in Loughborough with three of my friends. I thought why not, it’s my last year and I want to try a new experience. The first thing about moving into shared housing is deciding who you want to live with, decide which of your friends you get along with the best and ask them if they are thinking about housing themselves. If you can’t live with someone who is messy, don’t live with the girl who never cleaned her room that time you went over.
I’ve been searching places online that are close to the university. One of my friends wants to keep her rabbit in the garden; some landlords don’t allow this so you will have to look around based on your requirements.
Who can help?
The Student Accommodation Centre offers advice specifically on student living for both halls and housing. The Accommodation Centre can also help you when it comes to getting advice if you’re looking to change flats halfway through the year.
The Student Advice team can help you with managing your finances.
The student accommodation brochure offers advice on where to look for housing and what to do.
Loughborough online also makes suggestions on when and where to look.
- Loughborough’s Housing Fair is where you can meet reliable landlords who have been in contact with the university. A safer option, so this is where I’ll be going!
Best of luck with researching!