Accommodation is one of my least favourite things to think about when it comes to university. I think this is common for most students, as it can be quite a stressful and difficult issue to deal with. Luckily in your first year at Cardiff you will be offered accommodation by the university. This will usually be in halls of residence, or in university owned student flats. This takes the pressure off first years arriving in the city for the first time as there’s no need to put down deposits or go on house viewings.
Around Christmas of your first year a lot of people will start thinking about here they’re going to live next year. It seems a long way away at first, but organising accommodation quickly is crucial to keeping your stress levels to a minimum throughout the year. But what are you looking for and who should you live with?
First of all, picking the right house mates is just as important as picking the right house. Housemates make everything about where you live. In first year you’ll be bundled into a flat with 5 other people and you’ll make friends instantly. But not everyone’s a saint and some people will be harder to live with than others. A common mistake made by first years is to get straight into accommodation with the people they’re living with at the time. But before that you should take a step back and seriously think about whether that’s right for you.
Other potential candidates to live with are your course mates. This is always a dodgy area, because you never know if it’s going to backfire on you. Lots of people advise against living with course mates because all you’ll talk about is your course. However I disagree. This year I’m living with my best friend on the law course here in Cardiff, and we do our upmost not to mention the subject of work. Because we both know the level of commitment involved in our degree, we won’t hassle each other about working too much or not socialising enough. Different degrees require different amounts of personal work and having people who understand when you need time to get it done is extremely helpful.
Choosing accommodation is as straightforward as walking into a letting agents and asking to see a few houses. Pick a price range, pick a size, and do some research on the companies you’re going with. There’s plenty of competition in Cardiff and the best thing to do is spread your viewings across multiple agents to find the best house for the best price. Take your time to think about your decision, but don’t rest on your laurels. House hunting can become a free for all if you leave it too late, so be aware of the market early on in your degree and you’ll be fine.