I’m currently preparing to move back to Cardiff at the end of August. This will be my fourth (and hopefully final) time packing the majority of my stuff up and moving it distressingly far away. As I’ve been packing all of my possessions up once more, I’ve been thinking about all of the places I’ve lived whilst at University, and all of the problems I have encountered whilst living away from home. I’m going to attempt to impart some wisdom on anybody preparing to move for University, this should hopefully be useful for people moving out of home for the first time, and for people moving back to University for second or third year.
Stuff to Buy
This one is fun until you realise how much everything will cost, especially if you can’t steal things from your parents kitchen, or rely on family members and friends giving you boring birthday gifts. How much you need to buy really does depend on where you are moving to. You will obviously need to work out what comes with your accommodation, whether this means contacting the landlord, or having a look at what the student halls provide. Once you know what you need, you have to decide if you want cheap and disposable, or whether you want stuff that will last. Pretty much everything I bought for the kitchen in first year has been ruined, broken, or lost. If you’re staying in halls I would definitely suggest buying the cheaper options, and upgrading once you are living in a house or a flat.
I would also suggest making an Amazon list. You can obviously find some things cheaper elsewhere, but it’s a great way to keep track of what you need. You can keep adding to the list and hopefully you won’t forget something important, like a clothes horse (if you don’t want to waste tonnes of money tumble drying everything).
Applying for student halls can be stressful. But to be honest, they are all pretty similar. You just need to work out whether you want the comfort of catered, or the lower cost of self catered, whether you want to be in mixed accommodation, or whether you want girls only, and how far away you want to live from your uni building. I would suggest taking a fair bit of time to go over the housing, what you choose really depends on what you need and what your personality is. Personally I regret going for the cheapest, as it ended up being pretty noisy, and I probably spent more money on earplugs than I would have liked to. I know a few people had the opposite problem, and regret not staying in Talybont North or South, as those two tend to be the most social. You can take a look at the residences list here.
Once you know where you are staying, you will probably be able to find a facebook group for your building, I found my first year flatmates in a group for Talybont North before I moved. It’s pretty helpful if you plan on sharing any kitchen stuff, making freshers plans, or if you want to get to know them before you move in.
Renting a House/Flat
This was terrifying for me in second year. I spent a lot of time stressing over whether the house was right, whether my housemates were right, and whether anything would go wrong. In the end nothing was right, and everything went wrong. So if you’re having any problems please message me and I might be able to send you in the right direction. Don’t be afraid to contact student support for advice too. Obviously it should not be as stressful as the experience I had, and most of my friends had an easy time finding and renting a property.
First of all you need to take a look at a property search site, like Rightmove, and refine your search to your absolute ideal property. If you’re lucky you’ll find exactly what you want immediately, if not you will have to be a bit more lax with your ‘must-haves’. Make sure you check out some reviews of the letting agency you plan on going with, some don’t have a great reputation, and it would be wise to heed the warnings. I have personally gone with CPS twice, and haven’t had any problems with the agency themselves. I would also suggest going to the University Letting Agency as they
do not charge agency fees, they can also help you find a room in a house with other students.
Renting a property on your own can unfortunately be quite expensive, and so you’re likely to be stuck with only a few options. If you’re wanting to live alone I would suggest looking well in advance, and setting up property alerts with several agencies.