Guest blog – self catered or catered?

This week’s blog post has been written by two current students and residence life mentors about their experiences of living within university accommodation. Gabby Butler focuses on her time in self-catered halls whilst Fanny Tallgren looks into the benefit of living in catered accommodation:

Gabby Butler – self-catered ccommodation (guest post)
Exeter’s self-catered accommodation is great; there are a range of options to suit all budgets and preferences, helping to make your time in halls as easy as possible. All bills in halls are included, and in self-catered accommodation here, you don’t have to move out over the holidays, which is really flexible if you want to stay in Exeter past term time. I have been in self-catered accommodation for all three years of university; in a flat with en-suites and a shared kitchen as a fresher, and in a self-contained studio for the other two years as part of the Residence Life Team.

In my first year, living in a flat was a lot of fun. We all had our own bedroom and en-suite, giving us plenty of privacy, but we shared a kitchen and living space, which was great for meeting new people and being social. You can choose mixed gender or single sex flats; either way, you’ll get to meet new people and settle into Exeter together. You can also choose whether to have your own en-suite, or to share a bathroom with flat mates. For my second and third years, I have been in a studio. Having your own bedroom, kitchenette and bathroom is great if you like privacy and independence; studios tend to be quieter as well, if you prefer a bit of calm. However, all studios are on corridors, so you still have plenty of opportunities to meet friends in your building, and it’s far from lonely. Exeter’s self-catered accommodation has been perfect for me, and I really hope it will be for you too!

Fanny Tallgren – catered accommodation (guest post)
The day I arrived in Exeter, I wanted to have dinner with my dad before he would drive back home. He insisted that I should go and have dinner in my dining hall in order to meet other students. The idea of going to the dining hall on my own was daunting. While queuing for the food, I started chatting with others and we ended up going out together that night. They turned out to be great friends to go to meals with throughout the year.

Before arriving, I was worried about a lack of variety in the food that was served and of the early eating hours. To my surprise there were always four different mains, and different sides, as well as a healthy salad bar. The amazing cakes, yoghurts and fruit salads were the cherry on top. The dining hall did not serve lunch, but it served brunch during weekends, which was probably everyone’s favourite meal. Amongst other things you could get wraps, bagels, muffins and croissants. Sometimes we got surprises, such as a giant chocolate fountain or a cupcake decoration stand.

By the end of the year, the early eating hours no longer bothered me. I had figured out that arriving right before the kitchen closed at 9:30 in the morning was sufficient to quickly grab some breakfast on my tray, which I could then eat in the hall at my own pace. Whilst at first, I was not used to eating dinner early, I quickly found myself being very hungry by the time the dining hall opened at 5:30, probably because of having an early breakfast and no proper lunch.

My best memories of being catered are sitting in the dining hall with my friends, often for as long as two hours, just refilling our plates with fries and desserts and drinking hot chocolates, having laughs and telling each other about our days.

Many thanks to both of the girls for providing their thoughts on living in self-catered and catered accommodation. If you are still undecided, have a look through our residences pages and see what the residences look like.

Accommodation Catherine

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