It was July ’16, when I received an offer from The University of Manchester. I was overjoyed to embark on the new journey of my life, but I was soon brought back to reality considering I had to become independent and find my accommodation. I feared this at first, but my dear friend Google made my life easier. The University of Manchester accommodation site clearly state the kinds of rooms they offer in different areas, commute distance from the University and the prices in a very organised way. It’s a great place to start.
However, you might also want to hear about some personal experiences. So, as a final year international student, I am happy to help and guide you by sharing my own experiences, in choosing the right kind of accommodation that’s right for you so you’ll have a home away from home when you start university.
With over 20 halls of residences spread across different areas in Manchester, I am certain that you will find your ideal student accommodation. First, depending on your personality you must choose which of the following areas you’d prefer living in:
- Fallowfield: Busy and bustling, if you want to stay somewhere lively, this is the perfect area for you. Fallowfield is 40 minutes by walk and 20 minutes by bus (which run quite often) from the University, which might be a problem if you hate travelling.
- Victoria Park: This area is at the heart of the University, only 5-10 minutes away by walk. Socials and sports tournaments are often organized in these halls. If you would like to maintain a balance between your social life and personal self, this area is for you!
- City: This accommodation is obviously in the city centre! You have immediate access to bars, clubs, and shops – everything that you might need! All students have free access to the shuttle bus running between the north campus in the city centre and the main campus.
Well, I personally chose to live in Victoria Park because I love meeting new people and get inspired by their stories, but I also need my “me time” so I found Victoria Park ideal for myself and chose to apply for my accommodation preferences accordingly.
Each area has several residences offering two kinds of rooms. First, ensuite rooms come with a personal bathroom, and second, standard rooms where the bathroom is common to all flat mates. For both kinds of rooms, the kitchen is shared. Also, if you hate cooking, some residences offer catering services, so you can breathe a sigh of relief 😊
In my first year, I lived in Whitworth Hall on Oxford Road which is literally 2 minutes away from the University. It was a standard room with shared bathroom. Whitworth Park is more quiet than other accommodation, so it’s good for those who are a little less confident with socializing. At first, I was disappointed and disliked it as it wasn’t too my preference, and I applied for a transfer to another university accommodation to get an ensuite room.
Eventually, however, I loved the convenience my hall had to offer. Walking through the autumn leaves fallen on the ground in Whitworth Park used to make my day. Regarding the flat, my flat mates were understanding and kept the toilets, shower rooms and the kitchen clean, so it was not as horrendous as I had imagined it to be in the first place. I had a flat representative with whom I could share my concerns, and this made my life easy.
Since, I settled within two weeks, I chose not to accept my transfer as I was happy living in one of the cheapest accommodations the University had to offer. I really hope you get an accommodation of your preference, which is most likely the situation. But, in case you’re not happy with your offer of accommodation, you must not worry about it as its not the end of the world. You should give yourself time to settle in, talk to your flat mates and enjoy the free time you got in your first year. If you still feel uncomfortable, you can always apply for a transfer to another accommodation.
For those looking to live in private accommodation, there are various houses available to students for rent in Manchester. There is private student accommodation as well offering ensuite rooms which might be hard to get from the University’s accommodation. However, they are slightly more expensive.
I am currently living in a private student accommodation, Ropemaker Court, which is a 10-minute walk from the university. I have been living here for two consecutive years now, because it is near to the University, and I love the big rooms with white walls and the storage spaces available here.
I’d recommend you visit the halls before booking to make sure you’re happy with your choice but don’t stress yourself out if you cannot especially if you’re an international student. There is a lot of information on each kind of hall on The University of Manchester website and if you have any concerns at all, you’re just an email away to clear your doubts!!