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Dim ond yng Nghaerdydd

Your home away from home

27 Gorffennaf 2013

Going to university is no doubt a milestone in your life and it’s about this time of year that you’ll be getting information about accommodation and moving in. I’m a planner, an organiser, a strategist, whatever you want to call it. So for me, I wanted to know as much about where I was going to be living as possible.

The first thing I should probably point out is that all of this was VERY last minute for me as I went to Cardiff through clearing, so there was a very short space of time between finding out where I was living and when I left home. Of course, I tried to imagine my room, I looked at the photos on the website and when I actually arrived I concluded the photos weren’t very representative – don’t worry, not in a negative way! I can only really give you detailed advice about what Birchwood at University Hall is like and as that would be a minority of you, I’m going to talk about the system in general and any important tips. If you are moving to Birchwood and you’d like to know what your room is going to look like, how many people you’ll be living with or even where to do your washing then tweet me at @CPLANinsider or facebook message me! –

At Cardiff University there are a lot of halls of residences but the three main ones are Talybont (North/South/Court), University Hall and Senghennydd (pronounced sen/gen/ith). Both Uni Halls and Taly are like little student hubs. University hall is easily the furthest out, while Talybont (‘the social’ – an on site bar, or the sports hall is pretty central to Taly) is probably a 25 minute walk from the Union while Uni halls is 40 minutes. However! *she says triumphantly* Uni halls has a bus that runs every hour (more or less in the morning and evening) that takes you in twenty minutes to and from town or the union so when it rains and you live in Taly you’re not going to be a happy bunny. Senghennydd is probably one of the  most coveted halls because of the amazing location. Five minutes from the union, five minutes from town, five or ten minutes from your lectures. The halls themselves aren’t stunning (I lived there for two weeks over summer last year) and it made me more appreciative of how much space I had in Uni Halls, but Birchwood did seem to have bigger rooms than say Dwyfor or  Nevern (other blocks on the Uni Halls site). Some of the blocks at Uni Halls do have rooms with an en suite but you’ll be giving up a lot of space in your room to have one.

Talybont is really close to Tesco Extra which is by far one of the biggest perks, and also the use of the sports facilities if you want to join the gym, netball, volleyball, cheerleading, boxing, etc. For Senghennydd, you have a Tesco Express in the heart of Cathays or Sainsburys on Queen Street. The food thing can be a bit of a logistical problem if you live at Uni halls but it’s easy to get round if you do a bit of planning. The closest big shop is Sainsburys on Colchester Avenue – probably a half an hour walk and uphill ALL the way back, or you have a Tesco Metro 20 minutes walk away on Welfield road near Roath Park. If you have a car, it’s not really a problem but if you don’t, I have three things for your arsenal:

-Go and do your shopping at Sainsburys because it will be cheaper but go with other people and then pay for a taxi back. It’ll only be £1.50 or something each then.

-If you’re in town use the Sainsburys at the bottom of Queen Street then get the Uni Halls bus back from the engineering building which is just round the corner.

-Lastly, shop online! Between the people in your flat do a Tesco delivery and split the delivery cost. There is also a tiny little shop down the hill called Lady Mary Stores which is also an off licence.

On reflection I realise this a lot of information just on food, but you’re either a big foodie like me or you’ve gotta eat at some point! So all helpful stuff 🙂

There are numerous lists out there on the internet with things to pack for Uni (check the StudentRoom as a good base) but what I would say is don’t forget it is possible to buy things when you’re there. If you already have them at home (or there’s a willing parent to buy them for you) then obviously take things with you but everyone in halls ends up bringing everything and you end up with so much of one thing! If you have a communal rule, then obviously you can share but just be aware of people getting frustrated if you use something of theirs and they want to use it and it’s not been washed up – that is the benefit of having all your own things. I do have to say, as I accumulated more things there was a very direct positive correlation with my washing up pile!

With regards to your room, personalise it as much as possible. If you think it’s a bit drab and grey, cover the notice board with wrapping paper before you start using it or stick a rug on the floor. My friends and I all spent a lot of time in our own rooms or someone else’s room in first year so you want it to be a place you feel comfortable and happy to be in.

At the end of the day, you can read as much as you like about the process of moving in and you’ll probably never feel quite as prepared as you’d like to be. Just don’t stress about it! You can’t stop the inevitable happening, in a few months you will move into a room, a flat, a kitchen etc, but really it’s not the building or the location that counts – it’s the people you meet there! The first week will be the most crucial for you in terms of building friendships so don’t be scared to throw yourself in at the deep end. You don’t need to worry about organising nights out, or organising things to do, you’ll be sick of promo people banging on your door in no time! Just embrace it and enjoy it.