In my first year at the University of Leicester I decided to stay in private halls near the city centre rather than in the Oadby student village (where the majority of freshers live). Here are lists of the pros and cons for choosing to live there:
- I saved money because the accommodation was slightly cheaper than most of the halls in Oadby and in addition I had no need to buy a bus pass for travelling to uni.
- I was close enough to the main campus to walk into uni every morning and at the same time I could walk into the city centre, both in minutes.
- The flat I shared with 3 others came with a washing machine/dryer, dishwasher and a double bed in my room, which are extras you don’t get in regular halls.
- I got to move into my accommodation a few weeks before term started and organise my stuff, whereas in Oadby the move in days were the weekend before the first day of term.
- Living in the city centre forced me to make more of an effort to meet new people through societies and on my course and spend time with people I actually liked rather than just sticking with the people I lived with.
- The flat I lived in didn’t have an ensuite like a lot of the accommodation in the student village and I had to share the bathroom with 3 others.
- My flatmates were all in the year above and 2 of them went to De Montfort University so I didn’t make friends in my accommodation, they were just people I happened to live with.
- At the end of the year we had to pay for additional cleaning costs for the flat because it was not in the condition that it was in at the start. The deposits paid at the start of the year were not refundable.
- It was difficult to get into the social side of uni at first since most people live in Oadby in first year and instantly have people to talk to and go out with. I barely went to freshers fortnight because it was awkward going alone.
If you are thinking about moving into accommodation in the city I would advise you to definitely view the place you are considering renting before you make any decisions and ask lots of questions to be totally sure about what is and isn’t included in the deal (e.g. if bills are included is there a limit on what you can use, or an extra payment at the start of the year which isn’t obviously pointed out?). There are lots of different types of halls ran by different companies and you can get anything from studios to six bedroom flats. They might have different positives and negatives to the halls I stayed in and you could have a completely different experience so do your research.
If you already know that you’re moving into private halls this year my advice would be to find freshers from Leicester in your building (if there are any) as soon as you move in and go to lots of events and societies to meet new people and make friends. The first term is often the hardest because you are still settling in so make sure you persevere and don’t isolate yourself from others because that will only make things worse.