UK AccommodationOne of the most important decisions you will make regarding your time in the UK is where to live. Where you live is not only a place to sleep, store your belongings and study, but also acts as your home away from home and it is therefore very important that you choose you accommodation carefully.
Private Residential Accommodation
More and more students are opting for private, purpose built residences in main urban areas that are setup by private companies. These types of accommodation are often very modern with good services and convenient to get to the university to attend lectures.
UNITE PLC is the largest provider of UK student accommodation.
Schools work with private companies, so they are listed as an option for students.
It takes time to apply for on campus residence, and you might not get the one that you want. Private acommodations sends you a confirmation letter in a day and this can put students at ease.
Unite Student Accommodation (UNITE)
Unite was funded in 1991. It's the biggest student accommodation company in the UK. There are over 140 student residences across 28 UK unis.
Liberty's residences are all located near the schools. They provide the best quality and equipment. They are all over the UK.
Student castle can be found in some major cities: Cambridge, York, Durham, Bath and Glasgow.
Mansion can be found in 14 cities acrossed the UK, including Bristol, Edinburgh, Liverpool Colchester, Leeds and London.
University Residential Accommodation
Most UK universities offer student accommodation and these can vary quite a lot depending on how old they are. Some residences are very new and modern, whereas others that were built some time ago can be old and well used. The university will quite often separate undergraduate students and postgraduate students so that they are living in different residences. Sometimes however, students may have to share. Men and women usually live in the same residence as well, although sometimes there are female only residences.
As soon as you have made your final decision on where to study, you should start making decisions on accommodation as soon as possible. This is because many universities cannot guarantee on campus accommodation. Those that are able to, will only guarantee the accommodation if you have already applied before the deadline. Applying for student accommodation can be quite confusing due to the many choices available, but this is something that your UKEAS counsellor will be able to assist you with, providing information to help you make your decision. University websites contain a lot of useful information for you to research and find the kind of accommodation you like as well. Note however, that very few universities have houses and flats for families or married couples and these are usually quite difficult to obtain on campus.
University residences offer communal areas, such as a kitchen or dining area, where you can socialize with other flatmates. Kitchens will all have major household appliances like an oven, fridge and kettle, etc. Undergraduate students will often eat at the accommodation's canteen where meals are pre-prepared and included in the cost of the rent of the room.
For undergraduate students, living in a residence is the best way to mix with other people and make new friends. This can make life settling into a new environment much easier. For postgraduate or more mature students, living in a residence can be very convenient, but you will need to consider factors like privacy and noise. This is something that your UKEAS counsellors will be able to advise you on.
High School Residences
Residences at public schools where a student is boarding will often be in dormitories or shared rooms until the student has reached the upper levels. Meals are always provided and there is always an adult on hand to look after young students.
Private Housing Residences
Some students prefer to live off-campus in privately rented accommodation. This may arise when a student wishes to share with friends or when university accommodation is full.
Advice and information about companies that can help you find places to rent is available from the university's accommodation office. There is also information in local newspapers and notice boards for those students already living in the UK. There are also many websites with information about what is available and that can give you an idea of the cost. One such site is www.streetmap.com that offers details on rental accommodation locations and distances to and from schools you may be studying at. This type of private student accommodation is very difficult to arrange unless you are already in the UK, so it is best wait until you arrive there and then look around for what's available.
It is important for international students renting private accommodation to understand all aspects of their tenancy, legal obligations and exactly what their rent includes. If it's possible, have a British friend assist you or ask the university for help.
Homestay residences are by far the number one choice for students studying a pre-university course at a tutorial college. A Homestay is where an international student lives with a family in their home. Meals are usually provided for the student by the family depending on the type of option chosen. There is a full board option where all meals are provided, and half board which doesn't include lunch. Homestays that cooperate with colleges are all checked to make sure that they are good families in a nice environment that is suitable for students.
Homestays offer students the option to have a single room for themselves or to share with another student of a different nationality. Rooms will have a study desk and a wardrobe and should always be kept neat and tidy. Some homestay residences may have an internet connection, but this cannot always be guaranteed.
During the summer vacation, university students will have to leave their accommodation but it is possible to stay with a host family during this period. For more information about making such accommodation arrangements, an organisation called HOST can help students.
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