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Finding accommodation as a new postgraduate student can be difficult, particularly if you’re new to the city. While it may never be quite as simple as being placed in halls like in your first year of undergraduate study, sorting out your housing for your postgraduate degree can be made easier using a few simple methods. In this article, former postgrad student Matt Ayes shares his tips on finding accommodation and housemates you'll (hopefully) get on with.
In undergraduate freshers’ week, most students are sporadically placed among their peers in halls of residence. In second and third years, they’ll often find their housemates through their subject courses, societies or by sheer coincidence.
As a postgrad, halls are rarely an option. This means postgraduate students not only have to find a place to live, but also people to share it with, all before their course even begins.
This is an understandably common source of stress for anyone thinking about taking a postgraduate course, and if you’ve already been accepted with nowhere to live, you’re not alone. But don’t fear – there are several avenues you can pursue in order to find the perfect home and housemates.
Many universities understand the problem that postgraduate students have when trying to find a place to live, and actively organise house-hunting events to help like-minded postgrads meet one another before they begin their studies.
I attended a two-day house-hunting event before embarking on my postgraduate diploma in journalism at Cardiff University. While I already knew the city from living there during my BA, many others didn’t and found the city guides made by Cardiff Student Letting useful.
Semi-awkward but necessary social activities such as speed dating and a quiz quickly broke the ice. Before I knew it, I’d found a friendly mix of people to show around town and, subsequently, we found an affordable home to rent together.
The internet is an incredibly useful tool for finding potential housemates. A good first step is to email the institution you’ll be studying at and ask what they are able to do to help. They may even be able to circulate your message among other prospective postgrads, many of whom will be in the same situation as you.
Social media is helpful for finding other postgrad students looking for housemates too. Many universities will have Facebook groups set up for their students to find housemates, and even simply posting on Twitter with a polite message can yield results. A quick google search can also bring up forums bustling with other postgrads in your city looking for somewhere to live.
For some postgraduate students, the thought of living alone in an unexplored city is too terrifying to contemplate. However, if you’ve got the means, an independent spirit and don’t mind the prospect of finding a small apartment to call your own, it’s an option worth thinking about.
“The advantages are that you don’t have to compromise as much on cost or location, plus you’re able to keep your place as neat or as messy as you’re comfortable with,” says Kieran, who lived in a studio apartment during a postgrad in mathematics and statistics at Lancaster.
Privately-owned student accommodation is another option. These are filled with postgrads and undergrads alike, so you might not be as lonely as you think while living on your own.
While it can be tempting to remotely sign a lease on a house that looks immaculate online, it is incredibly important to have a good look around in real life before you commit to anything. It’s you who’s going to be stuck living in a dilapidated house if it turns out to be different to how it looked in the photos.
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