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Why I Returned to Halls for 3 Years

15 November 2022

3 mins

Every time I say I returned to halls for all of my undergraduate studies, people seem surprised. I lived in Cayley for all 3 years, based on this you can only assume how much I enjoyed my stay.

My name is Ayfra, I’m 20 years old and I’m from Azerbaijan. I studied Media and Communication at Loughborough University. I graduated in July and am now staying to complete a Masters.

I was accepted into Loughborough University when I just turned 17 years old. As an international student, it was a BIG change. It was my first time visiting the UK and there I was arriving completely by myself, without my parents (miss independent). I remember stepping off the coach that picked us up from Heathrow Airport and the first people I met were the Cayley sub wardens. They helped me with my luggage and welcomed me to my new home; I instantly received the support I really needed. However independent I thought I was, it was always nice to know there were people who wanted to help me. Being underage, the wardens even made extra effort to see how I was settling in, sending me invitations for sober events. I remember one of the events in Cayley was the international meet and greet, held in the dining hall. That was the evening I met my closest friends, we still laugh and talk about it to this day.

Cayley is a catered hall and being someone that strongly dislikes cooking, being catered for was a blessing. Food was all included during weekdays with 3 meals per day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For breakfast, I would get hashbrowns, baked beans, an omelette, orange juice, pain au chocolat and a cappuccino (free coffee machine = UNLIMITED coffee). For lunch, I would usually get a tuna mayo sandwich from the salad bar (quick and easy in between lectures) but nothing beat dinner. Particularly the lasagne with garlic bread, so good! On the weekends I even had a chance to practice and improve my cooking skills, which was fun even if I’m not that much better now. It really was the best of both worlds.

Moving into second and third year I knew that I still wanted all the benefits of living in halls. I wanted the convenience of being on campus and the feeling of safety. Being in the centre of everything, having a hall community around me and best of all…rolling out of bed and getting to a lecture in 5 minutes. I filled out my application and was relieved that I knew exactly where I would be staying and how much it would cost the next year. Some of my friends did decide to live off campus and were shocked by the amount of research they had to do to find the right accommodation to suit their needs.

If someone asks me why I stayed in halls for all 3 years of my undergraduate studies, I tell them it’s because there is an accommodation type suited to every student out there. You don’t want to cook? Return to a catered hall. Want to improve your cooking skills? There’s also self-catered. Living in halls made the student experience just a little bit more manageable when the workload increased in second and third year and I wanted to avoid any additional stress.

So looking back, I guess the reason I stayed in halls was because it was exactly what I was looking for when I came to university.

Written by Ayfra Mang-Benza Dit Manthota

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