I’m back! And also, living in private accommodation.



I am now back as a second-year student. Everything is the same yet feels so unfamiliar. I guess 3 months away does that to you.

I have been back for about 3 weeks now. However, I feel a lot more pressure compared to my first 3 weeks in the first year. I seem to have more things to do, less time to do them.

This year, I moved out of student accommodation into my first rented house with 4 of my friends. Sounds fun but it entails a lot more responsibility. Makes me realise how spoilt we are when living in student accommodation. Hehe.

I guess some of you who are first-years this year would be looking for private accommodation. It is still pretty early in the academic year so I would advise you not to worry just yet. I found that most letting agencies put out more listings around January or February.

Start looking around for people who you would like to live with. Your best friend right now might be an AMAZING friend but a horrible housemate. Some people have to live separately in order to maintain their friendship. You could visit their accommodation or even have a sleepover in order to see if your lifestyles will work together.

Besides that, you could probably start budgeting to set a price range for your rent next year. If you have a lower price range, start looking for houses a bit further from campus (or if you are lucky, a good price for a house near campus!). That way, you can start saving up this year if need be or get a part-time job to afford somewhere better next year. The earlier you get things figured out, the less you will panic when things start heating up.

I regret not taking the time to really look at the distance of my current house to campus. It’s within walking distance, but a very awkward distance from the bus stops which means that I still have to walk a bit no matter rain or shine. I might or might not have panicked a bit when we were looking for houses so I was a bit hasty in signing the tenancy agreement. Hehe… I do like my house though! It is very homey, comfortable and a new way for me to experience the British culture. =)

One more thing that I would advise you to take note of is the different cultures that would probably be blending together. My house is now composed of someone from Hong Kong, Japan, a Zimbabwean British, a Filipino British and a Malaysian (me!). We are pretty much all from different cultures, we eat different foods and we speak different native languages etc. It is an amazing experience of course but there are a few things to be mindful of. I will use some examples to illustrate because I can’t seem to find the right words for what I am trying to say. My Hong Kong friend and I usually speak to each other in Cantonese but since we live with other people who do not speak the same language, we have to consciously speak in English to each other to be respectful of them. But let’s say you would be living in a group of 5, with 4 of them German. It is expected that there will be times when the 4 of them would be speaking in German. Think about if you would be comfortable with that. Some people wear shoes in the house, some don’t. Some have religious needs, some don’t. You get the drill.

In the end, all that matters is the housemates that you will be living together with for at least a year. It’s the people that make the home.

That’s it for this week, goodbye!