Kasvi Sehgal, a student studying at Cardiff University provides a helpful summary of the types of accommodation available to you, and what kind of support you can receive during your time studying in the UK.
What’s it like to live as a Chevening Scholar in UK accommodation?
What is typical UK accommodation like? What should you prepare and what could you expect from living in the UK as a Chevening Scholar coming from abroad?
Moving to a new country can be quite daunting and exciting at the same time. We have written a guide for your information on student accommodation which includes a few types ranging from university halls, private halls, or private rentals.
University halls are similar to blocks of flats (apartments), or a range of smaller houses. They are often situated on campus or close to your university campus. You will often have your own bedroom be it ensuite or not, but in some cases you could have roommates, although this is relatively unusual in the UK. However, you will most likely have flatmates (people you share the flat with).
These halls of residence usually contain around 6 to 8 bedrooms, meaning you will be sharing the kitchen with the other flatmates. University halls are often shared with both men and women, so keep this in mind when you share the bathroom!
Depending on what you choose, these university halls can be catered, which means meals will be provided for you on certain days at set times. Some accommodation is self-catered, meaning you’re responsible for buying and cooking food for yourself.
Private halls are like university halls, but they are owned by external companies rather than your university. The location of your private hall can be further than your university campus, often situated in the city centre.
This type of accommodation should be very similar to university halls except that they might have extra leisure spaces, such as a gym and a communal area with snooker tables and TV. Something to note if you want to watch TV, make sure you have a TV licence! People who live in the UK require a TV licence in order to watch UK television channels.
Both university halls and private halls sometimes have a communal area near the main reception, around this area it can often have vending machines or just a place for you to relax. For laundry, there will often be a laundrette in your halls of residence where you will have to pay per wash – this can vary from around £4-£7.
Some halls do have cleaners that may come in every fortnight to clean your flat, but again this depends on the accommodation you choose. It is best to negotiate with your housemates/flatmates and come up with a cleaning rota to keep things organised!
Private rentals are managed by private landlords or letting agencies. These are often houses and depending on who you rent from, you may need to pay separately for electricity, water bills, and council tax. In these houses, you are less likely to have an ensuite; it is more common for a house to only have one ensuite bedroom – this will also mean that the rent you pay will be higher for this bedroom.
Chevening is unable to help you find accommodation, but we advise you to be cautious when signing rental contracts for private properties and take the time to consider the people you are renting with, as well as the reputation of the letting agency.
What does the accommodation provide?
Necessary furniture like beds and wardrobes will be provided. You shouldn’t need to worry about this, especially for student halls. Along with this, the bedroom will likely come with your own desk, chair, and drawers. However, this might be different with private rentals depending on the agency/landlord.
Outside your bedroom, you will have a shared kitchen and possibly bathroom facilities if you do not have an ensuite.
In the UK, when you do rent from any of the above, there is a requirement for you to have a guarantor – this is a person who will be registered as your first point of contact to pay for your rent if you are unable to do so.
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