One of the decisions a student has to make even before starting university is where to live. For some, the choice may be as simple as continuing to live at home if it is an easy commute to campus. However, many students need to travel to a different city, county or country to attend university. There are many options available including purpose-built student apartments, homestay families and private rentals. While every student has unique needs and preferences, there are numerous benefits of choosing student-centric accommodation.
Convenience and Distance to Campus
University of Surrey offers students the opportunity to live on campus, either on Stag Hill or at Manor Park. Not only does this save you time, but it also saves you money on car maintenance or public transport fees. It also provides easy access to campus resources like the library and other student support services, such as learning support, student welfare and the Marquee and Rubik’s nightclub. Also the Guildford Town centre is a quick 10-minute walk away with plenty of pubs, clubs, restaurants and other fun things to do.
Off-campus student properties are usually situated nearby the university or are easily accessible via public transport. These can however be more expensive, but then again can be even closer to town if not in it. I was considering living at home with my mum because it is only a 20-minute drive from campus and I didn’t want to live with undergraduates when I was a postgraduate. However I wanted the social aspect that I had missed from the months of lockdown COVID had brought. It was the best decision I made to go into university halls. My flat is entirely made up of postgraduate students so we all have the same level maturity and don’t always want to party hard every night. In fact, we typically prefer to chill at home together watching a movie.
Many student rooms or apartments are offered as a package that includes rental fees as well as utilities like water, electricity and internet (it does not however include laundry but does include access to the laundry facilities). For students living away from home for the first time, this can certainly help to simplify your responsibilities and make living out of home more manageable and comfortable. While packages like this can sometimes be more expensive than other options initially, it gives you time to research different living options and service providers to determine what is best for you, such as who to live with and the best areas to live in with them. Guildford is quite an expensive area to live in in the UK. So be sure to do your research before you jump into something. I personally found that living in university accommodation was cheaper than living somewhere locally, and as a student, saving money where you can is a must.
Building Friendships and Networks
Among the best things about student accommodation are the social opportunities where you meet new people and build friendships. While it is certainly possible to form lasting friendships with peers in lectures and tutorials, it is an entirely different experience to have your friends living in the same building or flat. My closest friends have come from who I live with. We have spent so much time together over the last few months due to lockdown that we are now inseparable. Student properties are usually equipped with common areas where students can cook, eat and socialise together in a safe and supportive environment. Due to the household’s strong focus on study, living together makes group work and collaborative study easier to achieve. As a flat, we often organise social activities like hikes, movie nights, pub crawls, and scavenger hunts.
Do remember that these friendships can translate into future career networking opportunities, so be sure to party sensibly in your university days!
Building Cultural Awareness and Assimilation
Purpose-built student accommodation is a popular choice for international students, both because rooms can be easily booked from overseas and because of the advantages student accommodation offers for new arrivals to the UK in terms of bridging the cultural and language gap, supporting the student’s transition into their new living and study situation. I’m not an international student. In fact, there are only three students in my flat (14 of us in total) who are British.
I love student accommodation. It makes my life so much easier and less stressful which is always appreciated when you’re a student with several jobs to try and cover rent and other bills while enjoying your time as a student. I live right in the centre of Stag Hill campus and although most of my lectures were online this year, I know that if they were in person, then the accessibility is incredible. If I was here another year, I would definitely choose student accommodation again.