The decision of whether to live at home or in halls can seem quite complicated, so to help you decide, we’ve put together the opinions from three of our students.
Josh (below, left) studies BA(Hons) English and Creative Writing, he lives in Briarfields, which is a university accommodation located at our Manchester campus. Sam (below, centre) lives at his family home in Salford whilst he is studying a BA(Hons) Business and Chloe (below, right) studies BSc(Hons) Ecology and Conservation, she lives in private halls that are near Piccadilly Railway Station.
What made you choose living at home/living in halls over the other accommodation options available?
Josh: I chose to live in university halls because they were close to my faculty building (Geoffrey Manton) and the Student Union. Furthermore, I wanted to meet as many new people as possible and I think that halls is the best way to do that.
Sam: I chose to live at home mainly due to the short distance between my house and university (10 miles/16 KM). I also considered the cost of student accommodation and found it to be unjustifiable considering how close I live to university. Transport links from my home to Manchester city centre are really good and I can get into Manchester at any time of day, even 3am if I feel like a very late night library trip!
Chloe: The main reason why I decided to live in private university halls was so that I could continue living with my boyfriend who was also moving to here to study. At Liberty Living we were able to share a double occupancy room in a flat with four other people.
What has been the best thing about your choice of accommodation?
Josh: Easily the location. Being only a fifteen-minute walk from the middle of the city, close to the library and my faculty buildings is probably the biggest advantage of my accommodation. Nonetheless, having my own bathroom facilities has been fantastic, but that is personal preference. The kitchen and living spaces are perfectly sound, they give room to both relax and talk with friends whilst cooking.
Sam: The best thing about my accommodation choice has been that I can enjoy an independent university lifestyle whilst being able to see and care for family members.
Chloe: My favourite thing about my accommodation is how close it is to the Northern Quarter, which is my favourite part of the city.
And what has been the worst?
Josh: The worst part of my halls experience was finding the balance with my housemates. Most people at university are moving out for the first time and may not tidy up or clean as much as I am used to at home, so trying to share a space and encourage as little mess as possible was a bit of a challenge! However, Student Accommodation Ambassadors make regular visits to the different flats during the first couple of months to ensure that students are getting along and people are pulling their weight in the flat.
Chloe: Being in a huge complex of student flats next to Piccadilly Station really made me miss the countryside and my old cottage back in Shropshire. I think I may have felt more comfortable in the university student halls as I live with people from multiple different universities who already knew each other and who were not freshers, although they made me feel really welcome, it would have been nice to live with people in the same situation as me and my boyfriend.
Sam: The worst part of living at home was having a bit of extra stress when I started uni to try and make friends. To begin with I didn’t have as much in common with other people on my course but I’m quite good at talking to people, well I am now anyway! I think the experience has stood me in good stead for the future and having to network with people.
What are your accommodation plans for next year?
Josh: I am actually very excited about this! Next year I will be living abroad in student halls in Boston, Massachusetts as part of the World Wide Exchange programme. I can’t wait!
Sam: I’m going to carry on living at home next year, I feel really lucky that I don’t have to move all my things back from student accommodation over summer!
Chloe: Next year I am moving into another private hall complex in a converted chapel, unfortunately I will not be as close to the city centre, however it is more affordable. It should also be better for cycling to and from university.
Do you find living in Manchester expensive?
Chloe: I have found Manchester to be very cheap, most things are within walking distance and there are free buses around the city centre. There are also tonnes of student venues with cheap drinks, discounted student shopping events and cute vintage shops in the Northern Quarter where you can grab a few bargains.
Josh: The most beneficial thing anyone can do is budget his or her money. Living within your means is not only great practice, but you will find that it is still possible to do lots of interesting things and save money. Both the Manchester and Whitworth Art Galleries are free and in walking distance of MMU accommodation.
Sam: It depends on your shopping habits and your determination to search out the best deals. Manchester can be a very affordable city to a smart shopper. Resisting the temptation to utilise city centre conveniences like taxis and takeaways can also save you a lot of money.
Have you found it easy making friends at university/ Have you made friends in your accommodation?
Josh: There are simply too many people at university not to make friends. I have made friends with people both on my course and in halls. When everyone arrives at halls, you are all in the same position so it is practically impossible not to find people to speak to – you have everything in common – get talking!
Sam: Joining the badminton society helped me engage with students outside of my course and from different
parts of the world. With living at home I did have to try harder to engage with fellow students although this was not too difficult you always have something to talk about (university) with conversations naturally flowing from there. I would advise anyone living at home to get involved with extra-curricular activities and societies. The confidence I gained from making friends contributed to me being co-founder of the business and management society. Something I never would have expected myself to achieve.
What are your top tips for anyone looking to stay at home whilst studying / move away from home
Chloe: try to arrange dates to visit home or for your friends and family to visit you in Manchester in your first term of university. The excitement of telling them all about your new life in Manchester should help to ease your homesickness!
Josh: 1) Save up money before you go to university, 2) do not waste your student loan! 3) Speak to anyone and everyone.
Sam: If living at home make sure you engage with uni as much as possible and utilise the opportunities to get involved in student life. The opportunities for willing students are endless.
- Utilise the money you may save on something worthwhile during and/or after university, e.g. accommodation deposit, new car, travelling.
- If there is a society you can relate to, join it.
What do you recommend students bring with them when they move into student accommodation?
Josh: I would recommend bringing as much cutlery as possible. It will go missing, no one will know why…
Chloe: Bring an umbrella as you’re bound to get caught walking in a storm. Tupperware is really useful as you can make bigger portions of food and then freeze them to save on cooking time. You may want to get a rail card (free with some student bank accounts!); this makes it easier and cheaper to visit home.
And what should they leave at home?
Josh: I would recommend only bringing one or two plates or bowls so that you don’t end up with a room full of dirty pots. Subsequently, you will never have much washing up which is beneficial for everyone.
Chloe: Perhaps consider not bringing your entire wardrobe to save yourself from trying to squeeze an additional clothes rail in your room like I did! Also, I wouldn’t advise bringing a car with you as parking is difficult and you’ll probably find yourself walking everywhere or taking advantage of the city’s public transport.
Do you find it easy travelling to uni from home/student accommodation? Is it expensive?
Josh: My accommodation is a three-minute walk from my faculty building. It is fantastic!
Chloe: It doesn’t cost me a penny to get to and from the university as it is only a 15 minute walk, I can also get the free bus on lazy days!
Sam: Yes, sometimes traffic and congestion can be infuriating. A bus ‘unirider’ is relatively inexpensive costing as little as £99 per term. You can use it at any time to travel within your chosen ticket zone.
We hope that you have found this information useful in helping you make your accommodation decisions. There’s plenty more information about university accommodation on our website and if you’re looking for private halls you can visit the Manchester Student Homes website. If you’re thinking about living at home whilst you study there’s lots of useful advice about planning your commute into university on our travel pages.