It’s hard to say without any statistics right at hand how many students at Leicester stay in the same private housing for second and third year. Some don’t move to private housing at all — they stay in Oadby Student Village, or move into the University accomodation around campus. But the vast majority move into private accommodation after first year. I had originally thought that it was the natural course for most people to stay in their second year house for their third year, but I’m starting to doubt this. By third year people know better who their friends are, what a good deal is, and where a good location can be found. Whether it’s the majority of students or not, I think a great deal of undergraduates live their three year degrees in three different places.
Having taken a year abroad, I didn’t really have much choice about getting a third place in Leicester. I also had to pretty much choose it from Italy without even seeing it, which I wouldn’t recommend. Nonetheless, my accommodation has for the most part been very happy, so I’ll share it with you now.
John Foster Hall — I was lucky to get a place in what was and still is (with the freshly-updated Digby as the only competition) Oadby’s nicest student hall. I missed the installation of wifi, but John Foster is an extremely new, clean, spacious, and safe place to spend your first year. Also, the bus stops right next to it first. Although I was catered, due to John Foster using the same buildings as either catered or self-catered depending on the year, I had a huge kitchen shared with just a few other flatmates. We were in the lap of luxury over there, but as second year draws near the urge to spread out to the city centre means that most students will cast off this comfortable land of generous radiators and move into the gas meter dystopia downtown.
Hazel Street — This place is in an area of Leicester by the famous rugby stadium, where all the roads are named after nuts. Most likely never having lived by themselves in private accomodation before with bills and dodgy landlords, the rush to find the second year house isn’t a great deal of fun for students. Luckily Leicester offers some very cheap student housing. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad, but you won’t hear much praise for Hazel Street from me. It was not expensive. In terms of location, it’s right by Morrisons and fifteen minutes from uni and town. My bedroom was on the ground floor, right next to a school playground, with a window looking into someone else’s window (thank goodness they never ever opened their curtains), and with so little insulation I think it would be generous to call it single glazing. We were admittedly stingy with the gas, but nobody should have to see their own breath in their bedroom.
Via Sant’Ottavio — It never occurred to me before that I moved from Hazel Street to the Italian region whose love affair with the hazelnut has given us Nutella and Ferrero Rocher. Even allowing for the excitement of living in another city, students in Turin aren’t as doomed to ugly housing as British students generally find themselves. Our apartment was rather pretty, with a nice balcony, stairwell, and big shutters. On the street below was a Sicilian cafe, and one minute down the road was LD (surely Italy’s cheapest supermarket and the supermarket least willing to accept anything other than exact change) and Pizza Regina. Two minutes from our University building Palazzo Nuovo and five from the city centre. More thin windows that were terrible in winter and perfect in summer. Can’t win them all.
Regents Court (a.k.a. The Thunderdome, a.k.a. Goblin Town) — This is the accomodation we chose from abroad, because it seemed like a safe bet due to coming under the SULETS umbrella. I don’t believe Regents Court is under the University-approved SULETS any more, but it’s still a safe location entirely populated by students. A little horseshoe of flats at the end of a road ten minutes from uni and town, I highly recommend this place. All gas, electricity, and water bills are paid in a lump sum at the start, meaning you can’t save money by keeping the gas off as most do in second and third year, but you do get the peace of mind of not knowing you’re going to be returning to a cold, cold house (see Hazel Street). The location is about as close to being perfect as possible. There is a reception open most of the day for any complaints or repairs needed. It really means you can focus your final year on the important things.
So that’s my story. A few hiccoughs aside, I had it pretty easy. Never underestimate the value of the right student house.