Moving in to halls and meeting new people

I’m a second year student this year so I’ve already done the whole moving in with strangers in halls last year and I thought I’d take some time to give you some tips on how to (hopefully) help it all run smoothly with your new potential lifelong friends!

It’s scary moving in with people you don’t know but I’d very much recommend an “in at the deep end” kind of approach. When you move in, be proactive in introducing yourself to your new flatmates. You have to do it eventually so why not just go for it?

A lot of the time the accommodation providers will have Facebook groups for people moving in and you can find your future flatmates on there. If you know what you need to buy for the flat (e.g. does it have a kettle?) you can try and organise who brings what in the group chat. There’s no point everyone showing up and having 6 toasters.

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It’s a good idea to stay in on the first night. If you want to drink then have some drinks in your flat and take time to talk to your new flatmates. It’s hard to have a group conversation and get to know people a little better in a loud pub or club.

Make anything that they need to be aware of clear from the start. In my case I let them know I was diabetic and what to do in an emergency. You live with these people now and you could need their help at some point so let them know exactly what they might have to deal with.

Don’t jump in with this one but early on try to establish a bit of a cleaning routine. Make sure everyone knows what’s going on and hopefully it will avoid conflict over the state of the kitchen or passive aggressive notes left on your pots.

Ask plenty of questions. I can be terrible in some social situations and my mind blanks on what to say. You can never go wrong with asking about what they are studying, why they chose that subject etc. Also showing interest in people and what they are into is a good way to build friendships.

SHP Classic Ensuite with Prem Kitchen

Be aware that living with new people could potentially be one of the strangest experiences of your life. It won’t always run smoothly but it’ll be something you’ll never forget. I made friends for life in halls and still live with most of them this year. I would 100% recommend doing it if you have the chance.

If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them below.

 

L :)

Huddersfield living- a student’s guide to accommodation

Whether you’re in the university for a year of postgrad student, or as an undergraduate for 3-4 years, you need to find a place that feels like a home. Unlike other big cities, Huddersfield has a wealth of student and private accommodations that will all your individual suit your needs and for a great price! Win-win?

Have a look for yourself!

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UK rent by region

So you don’t live in Huddersfield already, and you’re starting to look online? It sounds scary, but here is a list of key questions you should be considering before you actually make the move:

How close do you want to be to the university?

Your university is where you will be most of the time and you’ll probably spend a lot of time at the Library, making use of the wide range of resources available. The first thing you need to do is decide how close (or how far) you want to be living to the university, not just in proximity, but for transportation costs and time it takes to get there. How long would it take you to travel? What is your planned method of transportation? How much cost of travelling increases your overall cost of living?

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My suggestion would be to work it out this way:

Travel costs (2 times a day 5 days a week) + travel cost to nearest supermarket (once a week)

What’s your overall budget?

You’re not just paying for rent, but you need to make sure that you are close to town and university both. Luckily, Huddersfield is a big town but almost everything is at a close proximity. Many registered student accommodations are available but make sure they are trust worthy, upfront and check for any hidden extras. Before you sign your rent agreement, check if the bills like heating, Wi-Fi etc. are included.

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If you are booking accommodation from abroad without first viewing the accommodation yourself, make sure you use a reputable company or landlord.

What do the types of accommodations mean?

The accommodation company or estate agent website will give you several different accommodation options. Here’s a list of the most common:

Residential Halls: Residential halls are available to all university students. They may usually have a shared kitchen depending upon if it is catered or not. The rooms are usually single occupant and have either an en-suite or shared bathroom depending on how much you pay. Most halls now are more like private communal apartments than traditional halls where you get a room in a shared apartment, with a common kitchen and living area.

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Student Houses: Student houses tend to be rented by the room and give you more space and freedom than halls. Unlike privately rented houses you usually get bills included but you often won’t get to choose who you share with.

Private Rented Houses and Apartments: If you’re in your second year and have a few friends you could move in with, this might be a more appropriate option for you. Getting a privately rented house or apartment gives you a greater sense of freedom but bills are often not included in the rent.

That’s all for now, see you next post?

Finding a place to live and questions to ask

The hunt for a place to live next year is already on for me and the girl I’m planning to live with. I’m downsizing from a 9 bed house to a 2 which might be a bit of a shock to my system. I think though, whatever you are looking for out of your student accommodation whether it be halls, a house, a studio or flat then there are a few key questions you need to make sure you are asking.

From all the places we have viewed so far this year it has become clear to me and my friend that being properly prepared with a list of questions can be very helpful. (As a disclaimer I do not claim to be a property expert by any means and if you think of anything I have missed or you have a suggestion please feel free to leave it in the comments).

  1. An obvious one really, but how much is it to live there per week or per month?
  2. How long is the contract for? The full year or less?
  3. Are bills included in the rent or are they separate? If they are included check what is actually covered, for example some places cover all utility bills but not Wi-Fi so you would have to sort that yourself. If they aren’t included you need to make sure you budget for this.
  4. How from university are you and what is the area like?
  5. Who manages the property? If you go through a letting agent, are they responsible for maintaining the property or is it the landlord themselves? If so ask how they will fix any issues you may have and what yours and their responsibilities are.
  6. If it’s a flat in a shared building who maintains the building and are there any fees for building maintenance?
  7. Does it have parking for residents or visitors?
  8. Again with included bills find out how much allowance do you get from the landlord? Do they control the heating or do you? It sounds odd but it is a lesson that I have learnt.
  9. What appliances are included in the property? Do you get a TV, kettle, toasters etc.

So there we have it. A short list of recommended questions I’ve gathered from my own personal experience with viewing places to live around Huddersfield or any other area. I hope this will be helpful for you.

Finding a place to live and questions to ask-Castings House (resized)

L :)

 

Living in a student house

This year I’m living in my second student house with two other people. We started searching for our house quite early (around November time last year) and as we had already lived together and got on well it seemed logical to look for somewhere together. So that was the first hurdle out of the way.

My first recommendation would be to make sure you know what you’re looking for and set yourself a price limit. For us we needed a 3 bedroom property which we knew would probably mean having to pay slightly more but it was a sacrifice we were all willing to make.

Where to look?

We searched online and found some properties we liked the look of, so we rang the agents to arrange viewings. With three people it was relatively easy to find times that suited us all. We went to the Martin and Co offices where the letting agent, Zak drove us to all the properties that they had suggested we look at.

What to ask when looking at properties:

It’s important to ask lots of questions. Check what is included in the rent, whether bills are included, TV licenses, Wi-Fi etc. I would suggest walking back to uni from the house you like, just so you know how far it is and can have a look at the area as you walk.

Maddie House

Deciding rooms:

Take my advice as this can get awkward!

Once you decide the house you have to choose the rooms you would like. If there are better or worse rooms I would recommend swapping half way through the year so no one is disappointed or bitter as this isn’t the best way to start off a year of living together!

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Bills:

If bills aren’t included set this up as soon as the rent starts not when you move in after the summer. We were initially with Glide which is often recommended by the agents however we searched around and found individual companies that charged less. We use GB Energy for electricity and gas. One person pays this and we have set up direct debits from our accounts to then pay them monthly. Remember there is also Wi-Fi and the TV license to consider.

Overall, living in a student house has so many advantages. You can make it very homely and it’s lovely to have your own space with the people you have chosen to be with. We frequently have movie nights and cook for each other. You can share cooking and washing which makes life a lot easier. We rotate cleaning weekly (in theory) and take it in turns to buy things such as toilet/kitchen roll and other cleaning products. Generally, living in a student house can work out cheaper and living with your friends is a lovely way to spend your time at university.

 

Living in halls

During your first year at university it’s likely you’ll start off living in halls, so it’s important to research what’s available in your area and find the best place for you. When you go to open days make sure you look at the accommodation offered by the university. Before you go make a list of places you’d like to visit and check them out too and use the time you have in the area, see what’s close, whether you like the location, decoration or vibe of the place.

When first browsing online it’s important to look up different companies to see what options they have in the area, for example Unite Students have three properties in the area as do Prodigy living and DIGS have two. All of these companies and locations offer different pros and cons, facilities and prices so it’s important to look at what will work for your needs and your budget.

Living in halls-Selfie (resized)

Many people choose to live in the university’s partner accommodation, Storthes Hall because that houses a large number of students and is set in a beautiful forest setting, has a handy bus service and has lower rent than most of the externally owned places in town. It also hosts some of the Student’s Unions Fresher’s and holiday events making it a social hotspot.

Some people may want to live closer to their classes because they struggle with travelling and transport, want to be closer to amenities or are on a practical course that involves a lot of carrying heavy materials and equipment that they may struggle to bring on the bus.

Whichever halls you choose, there will be pros and cons so the best thing to do is to get a good feel for the place by calling to arrange a tour or visit so you can see if it feels like home.

Living in halls-Bedroom 1 (resized)Living in halls-Bedroom 2 (resized)

If this is your first year or you’re choosing to move back into halls in a new flat like I did and haven’t got a place with your friends then you’re going to have to get used to the idea of meeting new flatmates and living with strangers. This is something many people (myself included) find very daunting and it can be a struggle to settle in and make yourself at home among new people. However it’s important to be friendly and polite and try and get to know each other, set boundaries and respect each other.

It’s also important to remember that if you don’t get on with your flatmates it’s not the end of the world. You don’t have to imprint on the first people you meet, you’ll find friends through societies, course mates, socials and just general uni life so there will always be people to turn to. Try to keep things at least civil with your flatmates even if you’re not the best of friends because this does make your life a lot less stressful but if things really do get too much you need to talk to the security or admin team at your accommodation. It’s their job to make your time living in halls as smooth as possible and they can help with things like mediating meeting between flatmates, reminding stubborn people about the rules of your tenancy or even moving you somewhere you’ll be happier and more comfortable. Don’t give up if you don’t make your best lifelong friend in your first room in halls. I only got on with a couple of my flatmates last year but I didn’t end up living with either of them so this year I’m back in halls with a new bunch of flatmates all of whom get on great with each other and it’s a much happier mood in the flat this time around.

Living in halls-Living room (resized)

Another thing to get used to is living independently, possibly for the first time. Get a bit of practice in before you leave home by learning to cook at least a basic meal, know how to do chores and look after yourself if you don’t already. Flatmates and friends can sometimes be on hand to help if you’re floundering but nobody really wants to be the baby of the flat and have everybody do things for them. Share responsibility of communal areas and tasks and take responsibility for your own things.

Living in halls-Communal space (resized)Living in halls-Study area (resized)

Good luck in researching, visiting, and living in your new home and enjoy your time with your new flatmates and friends!