Many of our students are either currently moving into their new accommodation, or are due to move-in soon! Here are 5 tips to help you get settled in!
1. Make a check list!
Whether you’re a minimalist or not, creating a check-list is a simple way to make note of everything you need to bring with you, and will certainly help you keep track of your belongings! Although, don’t be surprised if you leave something important at home – it happens to the best of us!
2. Get to know the area
The first week is always a busy one – there’s moving in, unpacking, food-shopping and cooking to think about! But we also suggest that you do a bit of research about where you are living, and find the location of your nearest supermarket, doctor, dentist and of course, takeaway!
Covid restrictions might limit certain activities, but there are endless ways to socialise with the people you live with! You could arrange a virtual pub quiz, a game of cards against humanity, or even a Netflix party – it really doesn’t matter! Having fun and talking to new people is a great way to take your mind off things and get connected!
Within your first week, we advise creating a budget sheet. From this, you can plan out how much you’ll be spending on things like food and socialising. Whether you plan weekly, monthly or even for the whole year – you’re much less likely to need to ask your friends to buy you a drink when you fully understand your expenses!
5. Learn to cook
We’re not talking about turning you into the next Gordon Ramsay here, but when you learn how to cook quick, simple and healthy meals, not only will your diet improve, but so will your mental health and wellbeing!
Check out our top 5 cheap and easy curry recipes, guaranteed to impress your new flat mates!
So you’ve just moved into your student accommodation. All the kitchen essentials are unpacked and you’ve done your first food shop to stock up the fridge. But now you’re left thinking “what can I eat”?
Well, what better way to get to know your new flat mates in your accommodation by inviting them to your kitchen for a cooked-from-scratch curry this National Curry Week 22nd – 28th October?
Curries are filling, tasty, and perfect for cooking on a university student budget. You can pack them full of vegetables and protein, making them a healthy and delicious dinner.
Check out our best recipe ideas below, with price per meal, guaranteed to earn you the title of Student Master Chef at your accommodation!
1. Thai green curry.
This classic dish is so cheap and easy to make it will revolutionize your university cooking. Approximate cost (to feed four students) £8.50 = £2.12 per student
2. Prawn curry with mango chutney.
Sizzle in the kitchen this semester and enjoy this yummy curry with your flat mates. Approximate cost (to feed four students) £8.20 = £2.05 per student
3. Roasted aubergine & tomato vegan curry.
Cater for everyone in your student accommodation and serve-up this vegan treat which is super cheap and super tasty. Approximate cost (to feed four students) £5.00 = £1.25 per student
4. Korean rice curry.
This curry is the hearty comfort food that every university student needs. Approximate cost (to feed four students) £8.00 = £2.00 per student
5. Satay sweet potato vegan curry.
This delicious vegan recipe boasts two of your five-a-day and is under 400 calories! Approximate cost (to feed four students) £8.20 = £2.05 per student
And if there happens to be any left-overs after your flat mates have feasted, why not freeze them for a cheap, quick meal another day?
Being a university student has never tasted so good…
Botanic Studios, our brand-new student accommodation in Belfast for 2017/18, is coming along very nicely – check out the latest photos of the show flat here. In the meantime, we’ve been putting together a checklist of what we’ve been recommended to do and see around the city…
Titanic Belfast – the first stop!
This impressive extravaganza of media and memorabilia occupies the space in which the Titanic was built, over one hundred years ago. We can’t wait to explore the replicas of the passenger accommodation and ride through the recreation of the city’s shipyard (apparently, it even smells authentic!). Will the “was there enough room for two on the raft” debate be solved? Probably not, but you never know.
Crumlin Road Gaol – just to lighten things up…
We’re a bit of a sucker for the supernatural, so we’ll surely be trying to get spooked by visiting one of Belfast’s grizzlier historic sites. The cramped cells of C-Wing and the chilling execution chamber make for a chastening experience; ‘The Crum’ is high on our to-do list.
St. George’s Market – variety is the spice of life.
Built in 1896, this is Ireland’s oldest operating market, but the live music and amazing food stalls on a Saturday make it sound like more of a party than you might first expect! We’re looking forward to flowers, fish, food, homely things and second hand thriftiness whilst enjoying the furore of this Belfast bonanza.
Cathedral Quarter– bar scene? Now we’re talking…
The place to see and be seen, Cathedral Quarter is home to some of the greatest establishments in the city; from traditional Irish pubs with live music to the quirkiest candle lit bars around. Special mention must be given to the Black Box venue, which always has something going on, from music to theatre to comedy to art. Basically, a guarantee of a good time!
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge – is there a reward for crossing it or…?
Everybody knows that Ireland isn’t all about city living, so it’s time to head North and visit the Antrim Coast. Scenic coastlines and gorgeous driving routes make the journey alone worthwhile, let alone conquering the Carrick-a-Rede. It’ll be a definite movie moment when we Indiana Jones it across to the other side. There’s another way back, right?
Are you studying in Belfast this year? Take a look at our brand new, city-centre student accommodation here.
It is permanently drummed in to us that volunteering while at Uni is a great way to ‘boost your CV’ but does it really work or is it just a way to fill space on your CV to look more interesting to the person reading it? Well from personal experience, it has 100% helped me land the job as a graduate in the field I wanted. That said, you can’t just do any old volunteering and expect it do the trick – you need to carefully pick something that helps you demonstrate a quality you might not get to shout about though studying or part time work. So how do you find the right experience for you?
Part time Sabbatical Officer
Ok so these are a lot less glamorous than the full time equivalents, but they can do wonders for the CV however some universities might have restrictions on who can apply for some of the posts. They range from LGBT and disabilities officers to things like Community Engagement and departmental specific positions.
Great if you are looking to shout about – management, executive work, policy or business experience
Being part of a larger group can make it easier to do some volunteering, most universities have a RAG (Raise and Give) week where lots of society get involved doing all kinds of things for charity. Alternatively there are often societies for causes already established who spend the year fundraising for there cause.
Great if you are looking to shout about – humanitarian issues, fundraising, your fun side
If you play a sport can level up your involvement by becoming part of the executive team that help keep the team/sport going thought the year, from being in charge of the transport for matches, organising the finances to washing the team kits there are loads of positions available and people to supply you doing it.
Great if you are looking to shout about – teamwork, leadership, time management, fitness
Writing for your student paper can be a great way to get in to some cool places (I once got free tickets to a launch even that give me a free 3 piece tailored suit!) and meeting cool people, it can also be a great place to express views and creativity. Lots of universities also have Radio Stations and TV stations that are great to get involved with and loads of fun, its also a great way to show how confident (and charming) you are.
Great if you are looking to shout about – writing skills, copy writing, creativity, journalism, confidence
Academic Rep/ Course Rep
Always a staple in universities these reps can help shape your course and degree. They may not be taken very seriously by students but for the right subjects they can give a good indication about your dedication to the subject you study and the industry as a whole.
Great if you are looking to shout about – dedication to your subject, team work
Not in Uni
Travel the world
If you don’t think you can spend some time every week volunteering then maybe this is the answer for you. The down side is it often costs money to get the flights and visas sorted. There are some amazing opportunities from teach children to working with fluffy (and not so fluffy) animals! Check out https://www.gap360.com/ for more info!
Great if you are looking to shout about – traveling, humanitarian issues, environmental issues, adventure
Work with the elderly/young
Mentoring is always super rewarding, be that working with children in a school to help them realise their potential or helping the older generation with anything from their weekly shopping to getting online. There maybe some red tape to get thought before you can do this – but companies, schools and charities are always looking for students to get involved.
Great if you are looking to shout about – Your kindness, humanitarian issues, teaching/mentoring, heath care
Get busy with your Hands
Help redecorate a community hall, assist in teaching a free class, get involved in local art projects. If you want to show you can do something really different from your degree – maybe you have a skill or hobby you can share with people. Check out for literally thousands of different opportunities all over the country https://do-it.org/
Great if you are looking to shout about – your great attitude, humanitarian issues, pretty much anything
Another one that doesn’t take much time, but has some pretty sweet benefits is festival volunteering. Work two days as a carpark attendant and get free entry in to the rest of the music festival. Perfect if you want to do something awesome with your time but can’t afford the £££ for a ticket to a kick ass event.
Great if you are looking to shout about – er… not sure. But its still cool!
This has become a bit of a dirty work in recent years as students (rightly so!) push back against companies who basically want free work from someone. But if you find the right one they can be great, just make sure you are getting a fair deal and the experience is worth the time. University career services can help you find the perfect internship/placement.
Great if you are looking to shout about – your knowledge, experience in the workplace, dedication
Get down with your Nerd self
Library and Museums may not sound very glamours but they can provide some of the most interesting and rewarding opportunities. From doing tours, teaching kids to read, or even learning more about local history there are some really cool things hidden in museum storage. This is guarantied to make people look twice at your CV as it fools people in to thinking you are a proper grown up! (seriously from experience this one is gold)
Great if you are looking to shout about – wider interests, local issues, humanitarian issues, how well read you are
Do you have strong political views, maybe you just feel strongly about one issue. Either way volunteering within a political party can be really rewarding and help shape the future of the country!You don’t even have to volunteer with one party, you could help out at your local council offices.
Great if you are looking to shout about – politics, humanitarian issues, business
We had a chat with one of our international students and asked her what she thought of moving and living in the UK.
Many people think that being an international student is cool: that everyone is automatically interested in your culture, cuisine and wants to be friends with you. But what happens when you come from a poor (and not very liked) country?
My name is Anna and I am from Romania. I am currently going into my third year, studying International Relations and Security Studies at University. Coming to the UK was not planned, my parents didn`t really have the means to support me here, so as most future students in Romania, my main choice of university was the medical school. Preparations, tutoring classes and exams were my main thoughts during my last year of high school. Until one day when I was presented with the option of studying abroad, in a country where I wouldn`t have to pay university fees.
After discussing this option with my parents, we decided to ask for the help of a consultant company. My dad called them, and after the first meeting, I knew everything it was to know about studying in the UK! I was accepted in all five universities I applied for, I made my choice and was on my way to University!
Soon after my summer holiday ended, I was on my flight to the UK (both my parents found jobs here in healthcare in order to support me in uni). The first day here was not particularly exciting, I got lost on the train from London, I had to change five times just to get here and when finally at the destination, I couldnt find the building I was going to live in. But despite my slow and unlucky start in this country, I found the people to be extremely polite, friendly and calm.
Of course, what baffled me at fist was the cultural difference between my country and UK, which is huge. Not only the people here are nicer, more polite, but they are also less ‘judgy’, more respectful and willing to help you when you need it. I remember that when I first came here, everyone was so friendly to me that I almost found it suspicious. Soon enough I also found their ‘weird’ side. The thing that confused me most was the fact that everyone calls everyone ‘love’. The first time I had an appointment with the bank to open an account, the adviser there called me ‘love’. All I could think was ‘ What is wrong with this guy?’ . They also tend to have a weird and different definition for the meals of the day. Some people say ‘tea’ instead of ‘dinner’ and ‘dinner’ instead of ‘lunch’. They also have words like ‘lad’ and ‘lass’ or they pronounce phrases like ‘me broley’ instead of ‘my umbrella’ .
To be honest, this is mostly a nice country with nice people, but there were of course times when, because I am Romanian, people automatically thought I was a gypsy or that I came here to claim benefits. And some of them look even more surprised when they find out that both my parents are living and working here as well. But, I guess that every basket has its rotten apples.
Overall, being an international student is excellent, you get to see the world from a different angle, you become more open- minded and you meet a lot of great people. It is an amazing experience, and despite the fact that I sometimes regret not becoming a life saver(doctor), I will never regret coming here.
Normally highlighted by a week long event, RAG is designed to raise money for charities locally and national. Some University’s have dedicated societies that run RAG campaigns all year, while others have it run by a committee from within the Student Union. Either way its great to get involved in; from silly fancy dress, posh dances and sponsored activities to scavenger hunts, skydiving and jailbreaks. RAG is always great fun and you are doing something for other people, so you get to enjoy that warm fuzzy feeling.
October the 31st or whatever weekend falls the closest is a great time to be a student! Who doesn’t love dressing up? There are always house/ flat parties as well as some of the best club nights of the year! It also falls at a great time in the University calender, its close to the start of the year so you are not broke and you can still get away with turning up to lectures with a hangover- also if you are a fresher then its a good chance to test out the new friendships or forge new ones with that guy dressed as a Zombie gorilla in the kebab shop at 3am!
Halloween is an event not to be missed!
Even if you are not in to sports, you will be during Varsity! As a University student your honour is at stake as you play sports games against another local(ish) universities over the course of a few days/week. It is different at every university, but traditionally around 12 sports are played at one of the the hosting university’s sports facilities. The wining team takes the Varsity Cup and gets to spend the next 12 months lording it over the rival university.
Running in them or just watching them play out, they can be a lot of fun! It also gives you a chance to practice being an ‘informed voter’ watching all the Hustings, speeches and campaigning on campus before you eventually pick the person with the best slogan/ costume. Its also a great time to play ‘election bingo’.
Freshers is great! There is nothing like it, and the good news is it gets better in your second year! You know the venues, you have friends and you know how to handle your drink! Nothing will be like your first year freshers it will always be a hazy glittery memory that can never be topped, but that doesn’t mean that you cant enjoy it every year!
What is there not to love about them?! It’s a second Sunday! An extra day to be hungover, cramming for an exam, writing an assignment, surfing the net or sleeping!