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Advice for StudentsLiving away from homeSettling in

Settling into university accommodation

17 March 2023
My first-year bedroom
My first-year bedroom

I moved to university with a single suitcase and a backpack. Having just spent the summer working away from home, I had very little time to prep for university and spent 3 days in my hometown before getting the train to Cardiff and moving all of my belongings across Cardiff to my accommodation. Therefore, moving to university with so little, and living on a student budget, I was determined to make my room as cosy as possible (on a budget). It was also important to me that everything I purchased was either able to be packed away again, recycled or donated. 

Help from Cardiff University

I found the university to be very helpful with moving in. The resource page, found here, is a great help to remind you what you need. I started with just some clothes but purchased the bedding pack online when confirming my arrival. This was a lifesaver when moving in. It ensured that I was able to have a bed to sleep in (it comes with a pillow, duvet and covers) and a towel to use for my first night.  I’m not sure what I would have done otherwise. 

The iconic IKEA-run

Sunset over IKEA

On our first day living together, myself and my housemate took ourselves off to IKEA to grab the essentials. This is definitely a must so you can purchase crockery, cutlery, extra pillows and cooking utensils. IKEA is also a really affordable place to get anything that you think would make your new home more homely and comfortable. IKEA is really easy to get to from Cathays, taking just 25 minutes, you can get the train straight from Cathays to Grangetown

Plant, plants, plants 

My second-year workspace

Plants are an important step in making a room more personal. Plants are also well known for cleaning the air and helping create a healthy state of mind. IKEA is an affordable place to get plants, Lidl often has some in the flower section that, when properly taken care of, can live for a while too. 

Personalise your space

All university dorms are very generic, so it is up to you to find a way to add some identity to your living space. This could be by adding posters (be sure to use command strips over blue tac or pins to not damage the walls and lose your deposit), plants or personal items. Don’t forget your pictures of loved ones in case you’re feeling homesick!

When coming to university, it’s important to have a comfortable space to live in. No matter if it is only temporary, it’s important for mental health and clarity to have a clean, cosy environment to go back to. Personalising your space and having what you need makes university life so much easier. When I first moved to Cardiff, I found it difficult to invest in the homey items that I needed to feel comfortable in my space, worried that it was a waste as I may not be able to take them with me when I moved. This made my transition to university harder and since investing in my space, I’ve been much more comfortable. In the long run, this will help with focusing on your university work and improve your well-being.