This week we are starting to share our advice on how to look for and secure your next home, whether you are planning to live in a shared house or private student residences in the city. Although it may seem early to do that, our experience tells us that knowing the facts in advance will benefit you and help you to make a more informed decision about your next accommodation choice.
Who do I live with?
Before you even start looking at potential houses, the first step is to establish who your flatmates will be. Renting a house for an academic year is a big financial commitment so thinking about it carefully now will pay off in the longer term.
Finding housemates can be quite a personal journey and there is not a right or wrong answer (as long as you are happy with your new accommodation). In last year’s blog we shared some tips from Poppy Barr and you can watch her ‘Accommodation in the city‘ video where she explains who she lives with and why she made that choice.
This year we have asked one of the Student Community Wardens, Nat, about her tips on finding flatmates and here is her experience:
What advice would you give to new students to support them in finding friends to share with?
“Not everyone you meet in Freshers’ Week or in the first few months will be your friends, sometimes as you start academics and join societies some friendships fall apart, and you will gain new ones when you begin to interact with new people on your course, and through different societies. I did not find a proper friendship group until I started living with strangers, who I now call my closest friends in my second year of University. So, don’t fret if you feel like you have not connected with anyone straight at the start, you will make friends as you go along. But because of this, it might be worth it, not always joining a group you don’t know well straight away out of fear of not having a group. Let friendships happen naturally, don’t force them”.
How did you find ways of meeting other students and forming friendships?
“Most friendships that I formed were through interacting with people through my academic course, often through sitting next to people in lectures or seminars. I found that after one or two lectures we were swapping social media details and numbers. Sometimes the people I became friends with also introduced me to their friends and we would often form little groups that we would hang out in or invite each other out in. However, everyone’s experience seems to be different, most of my friends said they have made most of their friendships by joining student led societies where they connect and bond over having similar interests. So, I think it is down to personal experience, but it is certainly worth joining societies you are interested in because you are most likely to bond over common interests”.
What would be the benefits of taking your time looking for a house and how this impacts on your friendship group?
“I believe that it is better to take time to look for somewhere, especially because you have only just started to meet people, and everyone’s so friendly at first because they want to have a good time and experience everything they can, but slowly over time you might realise that whilst some people are super friendly, you might not get on as well interest wise, and that you might have been better off waiting for more stable friendships to form before making a decision to live with people that you don’t actually know super well, but seem nice.
Friendship groups and dynamics change super quickly within the course of the year, especially when people start knuckling down on academics, or joining different societies where they might meet new groups. I think it would be better to have a period of time before forming a group and securing a house, because that way you can be sure you 100% want to live someone or a certain group. This is especially important if you are joining a group and secure a house that has fees that you may not be able to get back once you have signed the contract or started the process of securing a house. I lost a good chunk of money when I realised, I was not sure about living with a group anymore and tried to pull out. It much more worth waiting and being 100% sure instead of rushing into it”.
Finding flatmates online
One way of finding flatmates is using our Studentpad website, which has a ‘roommate finder’ facility where you can register your details in order to find other students who are looking to share private housing. So if you don’t know who to live with or if you want to broaden your housemate options take a look and register your details to find other housemates. You can do this via the Studentpad Message Board.
At the end of the day, it is YOUR decision, so take your time and choose wisely. Just remember that if you are accepting a contract in the next few weeks, then you will be tied in to that contract for the duration of the year. So you will want to make sure that the people you live with are right as it’s not easy to terminate a legally-binding contract once accepted.
Great West Run
This weekend marks the return of the annual Great West Run. If you fancy popping along to cheer on the runners as they make there way through the city centre, please do! All details about the event can be found on their website.
Additionally, Exeter will see traffic disruptions on regular routes on Sunday 13th October. These will start from 6:00am in most areas and all roads will be re-opened fully by 1:00pm. Updates and information will be available on their website.
We wish you a lovely week!