Hello again, as you know I’ve just finished my first year at Leicester, during which I lived in Oadby Student Village. I’d like to share my experience as well as give an up-to-date insider view of some of the halls that you don’t get from the accommodation leaflets and open days.
For an overview of each of the halls, with details about the room types and catering options, take a look at the University website and here for a map of the student village. Don’t forget to take a look at the photos!
Having made friends from a variety of halls, I got to see and experience most of the different accommodation available, live in action!
John Foster Halls
The pavilions, the tall circular blocks, are wonderfully modern, with nice bright lighting and decent sized bedrooms and kitchens. You will most likely be shown these on an open day since they are the newest blocks in Oadby. Friends who have lived there really appreciate the pristine white en-suite bathrooms and the thickness of the walls and doors (especially when trying to revise or sleep). Are they really less sociable? With the big heavy doors separating each flat of 6, it can be more difficult to reach the other people in the block, however different flats have had mixed experiences. Some people found they didn’t even see people from other flats in their block, and instead formed close-friendships within their flat, whereas other people had no issue befriending people in neighbouring flats and are just as sociable as other halls. It appears that you can make the pavilions just as sociable as you want them to be by making the effort to mix with other flats.
The converted houses. Having visited Ashcroft and Wighton House where friends lived, they seem remarkably similar – large rooms, big staircases, old windows. Although the interior walls and doors are all painted over white, there is quite a minimalist, vintage feel to the buildings. They are really sociable and you are bound to meet everyone living there.
The Reception/Hall. This is where you go to get your post, to enquire at reception when Beaumont’s is closed, to play the piano and to book music practise rooms. This building is the only one in the village without student rooms in, so that uni band you will inevitably form can practise even during exam time. The ‘Rock Room’ has a drum kit, bass guitar and microphone free to use, and the ‘Classical Room’ has a piano and classical guitar (I believe). There is also a room opposite the dining hall with plush sofas, a very good quality piano and fancy lighting – a great place to chill! It must be a hidden gem in JoFo because it was always empty when I went.
New Court. This is where I lived during my first year – catered premium single. By default, due to their internal arrangement, these are the most sociable blocks in Oadby. Whether you want to or not, even if you have the very end room, tucked right into the corner as I did, you will meet every one of the 40 people living in your block. Due to the size of the friendship groups and the lack of a communal area to sit – the stairs can become quite hazardous, but in warm weather there is a spacious green courtyard right outside the door to convene, revise or sunbathe on. Boys live downstairs and girls upstairs. Sharing one bathroom between 10 girls can get quite tough, (especially when one of the two showers stops working) and one kitchen between 20 girls is very chaotic during lunchtimes. However problems such as these are made up by the fact that you will undoubtedly make great friends and receive huge portions of food at dinner. My room was a good size, and the beautiful view out of my window was always great to wake up to.
Old Court. I have never been inside but always been envied their communal areas.
- Rocklands House. This Edwardian house, similar to the JoFo converted houses, has wonderfully high ceilings, 2 quite large kitchens and a huge staircase. This building was an all-boys block, separate from the courts, but still very social with other Beaumont blocks. The rooms vary in size, from a cupboard room to one with a huge bay window and can be shared or single. It is very sociable due to the layout and has lots of communal space.
- Main House. I haven’t been in the rooms but have admittedly spent time wandering through the wood-panelled corridors and imagining I’ve gone back in time. There’s a spacious communal area which doesn’t get used much and a fabulous grand piano which is usually locked away unless you get special permission. The dining room performs its function but be careful to navigate around the huge white pillars and not to drop your tray on the floor, smashing everything (Yes that was me, oh dear).
Furthest from the other halls, but closest to ASDA. Friends who live in the Digby blocks have found that it is easy to get to know people in other flats due to the arrangement of the buildings, making it easy to bump into other people in the corridors or on the stairs. They are modern and fairly spacious with ¾ sized beds. There are also some beautiful converted houses which I have not been in but are apparently similar to the other converted houses in the village. One downside is that it is almost always impossible to catch the bus from the Digby bus stop in the mornings, due to the number of people that get on at JoFo and Beaumont bus stop, so a walk up to JoFo is required. Also catered Digby residents have to walk up to Beaumont to get their meals however it is only a 5 minute walk.
Gilbert Murray and Stamford (GMS) – There are a lot of different blocks that comprise GMS, but here I will only talk about the ones I have spent time in.
Gilbert Murray Blocks. Due to the interesting concrete building design and narrow interior, going inside one of these blocks can feel like you are inside some kind of 1980s ship crossing the Atlantic. The rooms are a good size, and there is a communal seating area in the kitchen. The walls are quite thin and they are not the most recently renovated blocks however friends in these blocks have found them very sociable, in both single-sex and mixed blocks. The laundry room is quite impressive here with many times more washing machines than in Beaumont and worth the longer walk.
Bowder Court. These blocks are very modern and luxurious, with large bedrooms and pristine furnishings – similar to the pavilion blocks in John Foster but with more linear layout. The kitchens are the largest I have seen and have huge sofas to recline on. Similar to John Foster again, mixing between flats is unlikely to occur passively but is not unachievable.
S Bar. This bar, open every night until 11, is so underrated. Here you can buy a drink, play pool, watch sport on a big screen, buy a chocolate bar or a hot dog, listen to music, play the piano, buy your groceries from the shop, do the quiz every sunday and have a joke with the staff who are very friendly. Its just a great place to chill with friends from around Oadby and meet new people. It is definitely the most popular bar on campus, located just opposite the Gilbert Murray dining hall. This is probably TMI (too much information) but the toilets are actually really nice here!
Also it is worth mentioning, a few times a year the Oadby Student Village organisers put on a ‘fun day’ on the GMS green, with inflatables (bouncy castles, assault course, bungee-run, gladiators, sumo wrestlers, surf-boarding), games, free-food (BBQ, candy floss, popcorn), tug-of-war, hook a duck and a treasure hunt. Its great fun! They also have a Christmas Ball with a Santa’s grotto. Have a look at the facebook page for more pictures.
Opal Court – Self Catered City living
I always envied my friend who lived here in the first year. He had a wonderfully modern flat of 6 people, with a huge kitchen and a double bed and ensuite in his bedroom. The block is situated right next to the university it only took him 5 minutes to walk to lectures. It also has a Subway sandwich place beneath it! Whilst he enjoyed this luxurious lifestyle, the main downside was that it was annoying to walk 40 minutes to Oadby Student Village to see friends, however it meant that he became really close with his flatmates.
So that concludes my experience of some of the different student accommodation available. There is a lot more that I haven’t talked about, such as the rest of the City Living accommodation and the private-rented sector, so check out the website. For another student opinion on the Oadby halls check out this blog by Owen who used to be a Student Ambassador on the Open Days.
Choosing your accommodation can be difficult. If you really want to live in a specific place, apply as early as possible because it can get quite competitive. If you don’t get the accommodation you want, don’t be disheartened, it will probably be a lot better than what you expect. Originally I applied to live in John Foster, self-catered, however being put in Beaumont, catered, turned out to be great! At the end of the day it doesn’t matter where you live, its the people you live with and the experiences you have that will make the difference!
Feel free to ask any questions in the comments!