Maryam Sani, BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science
Choosing the right accommodation for you doesn’t have to be difficult. The first thing you need to do is know what you want. Do you want to share with friends? Do you want a place to yourself? How close do you want it to be to the uni?
Knowing what you want will help you to find somewhere to stay that you actually like, which will help you to enjoy the university life experience even more. University accommodation isn’t the only student accommodation, there are also private accommodations which can be great for students. Before I moved to Bradford, I only knew about The Green and Lennon House, but I wish that I had taken the time to search for a place which was more suited to me.
Choosing where to live
There are many options when it comes to housing in Bradford including halls, studios, shared flats and houses. The Green isn’t your only option. Unipol offers a list of a wide range of properties which are up to the Unipol code.
I cannot stress how important viewings are. Remember pictures can lie! Visiting the place itself gives you an accurate idea of how big the room is, how big the cupboards and wardrobes are, as well as what is included in the kitchen. Going to a house viewing not only lets you see the house, but also the area. You get to see the distance from the campus, and what shops are close by (which is helpful for any late night shopping or snacking!). Viewings also give you the chance to ask the landlord important questions, like how the rent payments are broken down and if something breaks how long would it take to fix. It is good to go to a couple of viewings of different places, so you have something to compare each place to. If you can, speak to previous tenants before you make your decision.
Make a list of all the features you are looking for and decide how important each one is. For me, not having to pay for washing and being able to control your heating were important factors for my decision of where to stay for my second year. In my first year, I didn’t do any research, so I was unsure of what types of accommodations were available.
This time around I was eager to sort out my accommodation earlier to avoid last minute panic and having no rooms available at my first-choice accommodation. I wanted to get it out of the way so that I could focus on my exams without having to worry about where I would be staying in September.
Moving out from home for the first time
Moving out can be exciting, but don’t go overboard with the decorating, as you’ll have to pack up your stuff at the end of your tenancy! If you’re living in halls, it’s important to get to know your flatmates as you’ll be living with them for a year. If you’re staying in a studio it is still a good thing to keep on good terms with your neighbours. Introduce yourself to them and try to hang out, because living in a studio can get lonely.
Being able to cook is an important skill for everyone to have. It not only helps you to save money, but it is also healthier than eating out every day. For me, I already knew how to cook, but having my own place inspired me to be more adventurous with what I wanted to make. YouTube videos can be very helpful when wanting to try making something new and you can always find recipes online.
Tips for dealing with living away from home for the first time:
Keep in contact with your friends and family
You can video call and chat with your family and friends, you can even write letters and send postcards. I’m very close with my family but I can’t travel home often, so I find that it helps to call or video chat every day.
Explore the city
Don’t just explore your campus; explore the city. Go out and see what Bradford has to offer, you’ll be staying in Bradford for the duration of your degree, so might as well find the places you’ll need sooner rather than later. Find out where the local shops and restaurants are as well as short cuts to and from the uni- this will come in handy when you have a 9am lecture! If Broadway doesn’t have the shop you’re looking for, then it’s possible that the Kirkgate shopping centre will. Visit the city park and other landmarks such as the National Science and Media Museum or the ice rink.
Take up a new hobby
University is a great place to pick up a new hobby. The Students’ Union has a vast variety of societies and sports clubs, so you can always find something that will suit you. It is a great way to keep active and develop your skills. When I came to university, I was so excited about the different types of societies and sports clubs available, I took my time at the freshers’ fair to scout them all out, and then later attended give-it-a-go sessions. This helped me to dwindle down my very long list to just a few; baking society, biomedical society, Islamic society and ice hockey. This has helped me to become a more well-rounded person. It is great because there are regular events where you can get involved and socialise with new people.
Volunteer your time
You can volunteer to help with children and people with disabilities, charities or you can volunteer in your local community and make a positive difference. The University has lots of active volunteering opportunities such as inclusive hikes, wheelchair basketball and cycling, which are done on a weekly basis. I started volunteering with stand up art to help young people with learning disabilities with their art projects and helped them to create their own animations. Volunteering is very rewarding, and I would definitely recommend getting involved.
Remember when deciding where to live, you should explore all your options and take your time to look at each place carefully. This will help you find somewhere you’ll enjoy staying.