One thing most students will have to go through at some point during their time at university is finding somewhere to live. Most students at Leicester spend their first year living in halls of residence, then for subsequent years usually choose to live in a house or flat with a group of friends (although you can stay in halls if you want). For the past few weeks I’ve been going through the annual task of sorting out accommodation for next academic year when I return to Leicester.
Usually before signing up to live somewhere it is wise to go and view the property. Viewings are important because pictures can be deceiving and just because a house looks good on a website it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be your ideal house. Viewings give you an opportunity to get a feel for the house, its surroundings and whether you would be happy living there. Going for viewings is easy to do if you’re in Leicester but when you’re over 11,000 miles away it becomes a bit more challenging to view houses. I’m living in a group of 4 next year and 3 of us are studying abroad, meaning it was down to the one remaining person to do viewings on our behalf. Having identified some properties we liked the look of online, our man on the ground arranged viewings and reported back to us.
When finding accommodation in Leicester I would strongly recommend using Sulets. Sulets are a lettings agency owned by the Leicester and DMU Students’ Unions who provide a range of high quality student accommodation in Leicester without hidden charges or unfair contracts. Having rented a flat through them in second year and had a positive experience, they were the obvious choice to go back to for next year.
The next stage after you’ve chosen a house is to sign a tenancy agreement and pay a deposit. Sulets use an online system for signing the tenancy agreement which meant I could sign it in New Zealand with no hassle whatsoever and thanks to online banking, I could also pay my deposit online too. This makes the process of sorting out accommodation whilst abroad as easy and stress-free as possible.
This time last year I also had to sort out accommodation from the other side of the world before starting my year abroad. This was also a stress-free process as I chose to live in university accommodation rather than trying to find a private house in an unfamiliar city and country. The University of Canterbury provides an accommodation package for study abroad and exchange students in apartments located on the campus. This was good because I knew where I would be living when I arrived in New Zealand. Also, bedding and a taxi from the airport are provided which was great as it gave me less to worry about when I stepped off the long flight to a country I’d never been to before. All of this is organised online which is very helpful given the massive distance and time difference between New Zealand and the UK.