Why I chose student accommodation as a postgrad in London
With my status as a postgraduate student in London all but confirmed, the first thing I did was head straight to the search bar to find a place to live. But with so many options, and having never set foot in Europe, I was scared of ending up in a flat I regretted choosing.
After a while of browsing, I found the perfect match for me: student accommodation. I’ve had no regrets - in fact, I’m writing this from my flat right now.
Are you in a similar state of bewilderment? Here’s why I chose to live in purpose-built student accommodation in London.
1) Safety comes first
London, by all accounts, is a safe place. But crime exists wherever you are, and I had no idea which parts of the city were shady or safe to wander in. All I knew was I wanted to step outside my apartment without fear. Now, I breathe a sigh of relief the moment my apartment building comes into view.
Student accommodation providers take extra measures to ensure only residents and their guests can enter. Even the flats are designed in such a way that no one loiters outside your room. It’s also comforting knowing everyone around you is a fellow student, thinking mostly of how to get that degree.
So there’s a smaller chance of encountering someone in the building with malicious intent. The only real thievery you have to worry about is if your flatmate puts your baking tray in their cupboard by accident.
2) Location, location, location
Student accommodation providers want to establish a haven for students that is as comfortable and convenient as possible, which is why the buildings are found in strategic areas that give you easy access to your school. Expect a bus and train station nearby as well.
Rather than being far away from the action, I get to live like a local right in the heart of town, with grocery stores and the obligatory fast food restaurant easily available to me. You’ll never have to worry about arriving on day one, only to realise your flat is in the middle of nowhere. Or realising belatedly that you live in the ‘bad part of town’.
Student accommodation can often be found in an area with a high population of (you guessed it!) fellow students. I’ve never felt out of place trudging on the sidewalk amongst my peers, all of us sporting the same IDs and backpacks.
3) Not having to worry about the fine print
Council tax? TV licence? If you’re coming from a country where rent works very differently, I imagine you’re just as befuddled as I was during my apartment hunt. I didn’t want to stress over paying three separate bills, getting hit with hidden fees, or - worst of all - ending up with a terrible landlord.
With student accommodation, the tenancy agreements are fairly transparent, and you are informed of payment plans and rules straightaway. The rooms have been tried and tested and, before making a downpayment, you can easily go online and read brutally-honest reviews from hundreds of students who have stayed there before you.
Since I knew what to expect from all the information available online, nothing surprised me when I arrived, which made it far easier to adapt to my new living space.
4) Rent one flat, get five friends free
In student accommodation, you can expect to share a kitchen with a few other people. There is always a possibility of having a terrible flatmate, sure, but I was willing to take that chance because the opportunity provided a lot of perks.
Namely, being around people you’re bound to have a lot in common with (besides studying). You will all struggle through the school year together and take turns using the hob while venting about the boring lecture you had that morning. You can walk to university alongside them and have a flat night out when everyone’s too tired to do the dishes.
Best of all? Flatmates will trade whatever knowledge they have of upcoming school events. They will also reduce your expenses because they are around to lend you supplies that you lack. I owe it all to my flatmates for being there to lend me a can opener whenever I need one.
5) Basic needs are taken care of
Electricity, water, internet, gas – these are four things you won’t have to worry about because student accommodation will have them covered. I didn’t want to be concerned about which internet plan I’d have to take, or how long my showers could be. Utilities are usually included in the rent, so you can use as much as you need.
I don’t have to haul my laundry basket too far because there are washing machines in the building. I don’t have to worry about missing mail because, during office hours, there’s someone at the front desk to receive it. And whenever something’s wrong, I know exactly who to contact because student housing comes with a dedicated customer service team.
Relaxed, liberated, and focused
Common concerns about purpose-built student accommodation often have to do with a lack of independence and privacy. However, I feel more liberated than ever and my flatmates respect my privacy as much as I respect theirs.
Almost daily, I get home and flop onto my bed to relax and study. I haven’t had problems with either since I moved in. With less to worry about, I’ve been able to consistently focus on the most important matter of all: homework.