Stepping into my second year, I am more accustomed to my university life as compared to my first year. But, I can still feel a strong difference between them. One of the major differences is the place I live. I am no longer living with a bunch of friends in the student village, having parties all nights and doing crazy things together. I rent a house with two other friends and am starting to acclimatise to loving in a local neighbourhood.
It is often a good idea to get to know your local community by renting a private accommodation. Having moved to a house in Crookesmoor, I met an old couple from next door and they are very nice to students. I came across a green grocers that sells organic food and local dairy products. I chatted with the lady working in the second-hand furniture shop and she was very welcoming. Sheffield people are very friendly and warm-hearted; not only does the university make me feel like I am part of it, the local people also make me feel like I am part of the city. This sense of belonging is so important to a student spending a couple of years alone in an entirely different city.
One thing you have to be aware of when deciding to live in a shared house is the maintenance of the house. During the first two weeks of living in my new house, I had to wait for the electricians to check my electric appliances, I had to report everything in the house that did wasn’t working properly, including the light bulbs, the concrete walls and the window frames etc. I received piles of letters relating to household bills and I had to sort those out one by one with my housemates. It might take up some time to settle down in a private house, but if you are prepared for that, it will not be a daunting experience.
Another thing to keep in mind is your tenancy agreement. Make sure you understand all your rights and responsibilities before signing the contract. You should be clea about when the tenancy contract starts and when it ends so that you can plan your time for moving in and moving out. There is a wide range of private housing. Some might include internet and bills, while some might not. Different landlords and agencies have their own policies, so you should devote some time to compare the details of each house during house hunting.
In mid-October, I have already received an email from my agency saying that if I do not confirm that I want to stay in the house for another year, they are about to advertise it to students who are finding houses for the 2016-17 academic year. So, if you would like to stay in the same house, don’t forget to confirm your tenancy for another year.