Choosing the right accommodation for you can be very challenging, especially with all the different options available. There are options with en-suites, games rooms or even cinema rooms! Then there’s catering, parking and location to think about; it’s hard to know where to start!
In my first year I lived at Bowsden Court in South Gosforth…
I wasn’t sure about Bowsden Court at first, as it wasn’t my first choice when I chose my accommodation options, it was actually my sixth option. However, it was a blessing in disguise. I had the best first year experience and met the best people, including the people I now live in a student house with!
At Bowsden Court you have flats for 5-6 people. So, depending on which block you are assigned to will determine if you live with four other people or five.
Each flat has a kitchen, dining room and communal space with a television where you can cook and socialise with your flatmates, which is great in the first year when you don’t really know anyone! It gives you the opportunity to talk to those you live with and get to know them. My flatmates and I would sit in the communal area in the evenings, eat together (we made our very first Sunday roast dinner together), work together and watch TV including movie nights.
Other than the kitchen and communal space (check out a virtual tour here), you have individual rooms assigned to each of you. Each room has a single bed, wardrobe, desk, chest of drawers and a bedside table. Having an en-suite was great as I take forever to get ready in the mornings, so I didn’t annoy my other flatmates by taking too long in the bathroom, it was all to myself!
You also have a lock on your door, so you can lock your room for security while you aren’t in your flat (just make sure not to lose your keys, otherwise you’ll be locked out of your room and will have to pay for a new set).
Additionally, there are a few patches of grass outside where we would go and sit doing work together or revising for our exams – great when the weather warms up!
The staff at Bowsden Court’s Reception and the caretakers were great! Anytime there were any problems they were so helpful and we were able to sort out the problem quickly. For example when the Circuit app (an app used to pay for the laundry facilities) went down, the reception paid for our washing and drying until the app was fixed.
The caretaker Kev was so helpful. Anytime anything broke in our flat he was there as soon as he could (sometimes within minutes) and would fix it straight away. We had a broken kettle and he bought us a brand new one straight away. Anytime we were unsure about anything he was really approachable and would sort it out.
The location is not in the city centre like the other accommodation options available and you do have to get the Metro to get to the city centre campus. Though, because it isn’t close to other accommodations you become much closer with the people around you.
Because we were the only students in South Gosforth we all stuck together and spent time together, celebrating birthdays together and having group events. It made the accommodation feel a lot more homey and you knew everyone. So, whenever you saw someone in the corridor you knew them, and everyone said ‘hello’!
Furthermore, we were closer to the big Asda Superstore, so it made it easier to go shopping and it wasn’t really expensive (like the Tesco Express in the city centre!).
We didn’t have a cinema room, gym or games room, but we did have a good laundry room which wasn’t as hectic as some of the other accommodation’s laundry facilities. There were always washing machines free and dryers, so there was never any waiting to wash your clothes.
Also, you only had to walk around the corner – it wasn’t miles away which was a bonus!
Another reason Bowsden Court was a blessing in disguise was the price. I don’t have the best maintenance loan from Student Finance, so the price of accommodation was very important for me because I had to consider other finances like food, and basic fees. Bowsden Court is a University managed accommodation and therefore you set up your standing order to the University which makes everything a lot easier.
Now, the actual cost is based on 40 weeks. So you can live there from September to June, which gives you a few weeks after the term finishes to move out and clear your flat.
You can pay your rent (including bills) in termly or monthly instalments. I chose monthly instalments as I liked to set myself a monthly budget of how much was going out of my student account. The weekly cost was great compared to some of the other options in the city centre and student areas. Considering I was given an en-suite, TV (with a TV license) and all my bills included it was a great price for me.
Bowsden Court was the best choice for my accommodation, it was affordable, the staff were great whenever there were any problems (which is a big bonus being the first place I moved into since leaving home!) and the people were great, becoming some of my best friends.