Big Energy Saving Week runs from the 18th to 24th of January. It is a very important national campaign which helps people reduce their carbon footprint, as a result of using less resources.
Take a look at our 5 tips below and see how you can save energy in 2021!
1. Close the hatches
It’s the coldest time of the year! Ensure you keep doors closed in and around your accommodation and you won’t need to bump the heating up as high, or as often.
2. Disconnect those devices
We get it – after hours of coursework, the first thing you probably want to do it set aside your tech and grab a bite to eat! However, leaving your laptop plugged in for long periods of time will not only damage your battery due to overheating, but it also means you are using un-necessarily high amounts of electricity for no reason!
3. Cut the lights
As soon as you leave your room, en-suite, communal area or kitchen, turn off the lights and reduce your carbon footprint at the flick of a switch!
4. Set a timer when cooking
If you’re going to cook up a storm in the kitchen, it’s important to set a timer and regularly check on your food! When using an oven or microwave, this helps avoid the over-usage of energy, and of course, burning your meal!
5. Take devices off standby
There are many ways you may be wasting energy in your room without realising it; leaving devices on standby is something that millions of people are culprits of doing on a daily basis. Just imagine the impact we could all make if we took two seconds to do something as simple as un-plug our TV’s!
Meeting new people is a daunting prospect for many students, but rest-assured, everyone is in the same boat! Getting to know the people you’ll be living with is important, especially during times like these. Who knows, your first meeting could be the start of a life-long friendship! Here are three tips to help you break the ice with your new flatmates:⠀
1. Utilise social spaces where safe to do so ⠀
If you are sharing a communal area with the other students in your bubble, join the private residents page of your site and arrange a get-together! Whether you chat over a nice cuppa or make a meal together, this is a great way to break the ice quickly and engage in conversation!⠀
2. Arrange a pub/virtual quiz ⠀
If you don’t feel comfortable socialising in person with your flatmates, platforms like ‘zoom’ make it possible for you to talk to them from the comfort of your own room! A funny quiz or a game of ‘Cards Against Humanity’ is a sure-fire way to get the jokes cracking between you and your new friends!⠀
3. Go on a walk, run or bike-ride⠀
Your flatmates are also new to the area, why not explore together? Naturally a new environment will spark tons of conversation and interesting topics to chat about. Being outdoors amongst nature is also a great way to boost your mood and well-being!
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!
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
1. White telephone boxes. Hull is sticking it to the man and fighting the BT monopoly on telecoms by having its own telephone company, Kingston Communications they also provided internet services in the area too.
2. Phillip Larkin wrote his poetry in the university library, and Nick Cave made a song about it.
3. Everything is cheap. Ridiculously cheap, you are going to feel much richer than friends that went to other Unis!
4. In Pearson Park there’s an exotic Victorian bird house and they have a giant lizard there and you can go and see it for free.
5. William Wilberforce, leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade, is from Hull. (That’s pretty cool in itself, but as an added bonus there’s now a fantastic pub called ‘Ye Old Black Boy’ dedicated to him.)
6. It’s the only place in the UK where uttering the phrase ‘I’ll meet you at the Land of Green Ginger’ actually has some basis in reality, and no-one will assume you’ve been taking something.*
7. There are still ‘Rag & Bone’ men who wander around with a horse and cart, shouting incomprehensible nonsense and collecting old fridges.
8. There’s an overnight ferry to Amsterdam.
9. It is home to the world’s most bitterly disappointing fantastic dinosaur museum and the amazing Deep -which is Known as ‘the world’s only submarium’ and it has penguins, it’s definitely worth a trip!
10. It has loads of amazing independent pubs, bars, coffee shops and clubs.
11. Buses are amazingly cheap and frequent, you can get a bus to literally anywhere in hull in about 15 minutes, and everyone gets them.
12. The Welly is so awesome that one day over 1000 people queued up outside and they had to call in the riot police in to make sure it was all okay. (It was)
13. There are no hills. Unless you study at the Scarborough campus – in which case get your walking boots out!
14. It has a rich history, and is home to the last remaining civilian bomb ruin. Due to it’s industry and location, it was the second most bombed city in the UK after London, and lost about 95% of its housing.
15. We have a Premier League football club.
16. Chip spice, everyone should try it, trust us! Perfect for a post clubbing snack or any meal during the day.
So you’ve gotten into the Uni and you’re coming to Canterbury! Canterbury is a great city, full of architecture, castles, churches, cathedrals. Canterbury is the epitome of what you think a city in England should look like.
Coming from a University of Kent student and now a five year Canterbury resident I am going to divulge the best places to eat in Canterbury!
The Thomas Ingoldsby
You’re a student, you have a limited budget but you don’t want to spend all of your University career eating cheap pasta in your flat every night. Sometimes you may want to go out, socialise and see what this city has to offer. What better place to go than a Wetherspoon! Believe it or not on a Friday and Saturday night The Thomas Ingoldsby is the place to be, especially for drinking as it’s so cheap and a place to go before you hit the night clubs!
The food is also good, I mean it’s not great but it’s Wetherspoon and you just paid £2.99 for Ham, Egg and Chips, what do you expect?
The Penny Theatre
The Penny Theatre is a gem; situated a 10 minute walk from Parham Student Village it’s a good place to eat and drink. The Penny Theatre have a discount night every Thursday where you can get drinks for £1.50 and don’t even get me started on the food. The Penny Theatre do a mac ‘n’ cheese burger. An 8oz beef burger, topped with a fried macaroni and cheese bite! They also have a rewards card, every purchase you make, you accumulate points to put towards food and drinks!
Pork & Co.
Situated a minute away from the Cathedral, Pork & Co is by far the best pulled pork sandwich you will ever eat in your life! For a mere £5 their pulled pork rolls are great value for money. A generous serving of pulled pork, your choice of topping whether it be salad or coleslaw, a choice of sauce and even crackling. This will be the best £5 you ever spend!
If you can say no to an American style pancake then I am sorry to say that you are in the minority. Chambers serves a mountain of thick pancakes with quite possibly any topping you can think of. You can order sweet pancakes, savoury pancakes and they even serve pancakes with their full English breakfasts!
Always an easy option: Canterbury has three different branches, each open until the early hours of the morning, all located in Canterbury city centre. Cheap, cheerful and always giving out discount voucher booklets.
There are hundreds of lists out there (including ours!) telling you what you DO need to bring to uni, but what about the stuff you don’t? We asked some of our students to tell us the things they arrived to uni with that they never needed!
Pens are given out by every company and stall at freshers fair, I haven’t brought a pen in 4 years and never ran out or didn’t have one. Same applies to key-rings, lanyards and tote bags!
A dressing gown is nice at home but really you are not going to use it while at uni, PJ bottoms are great and you will team that up with a free t-shirt – if you are cold you will add a hoodie on top. Even the most glamorous girls in class rock the baggy pyjamas and hoodie look in their own rooms.
Corkscrew bottle opener combo. It’s unlikely you will buy wine that has a cork in it- and most can openers have a bottle opener.
An ironing board takes up space and if you are anything like the students I know it will still be wrapped in the cellophane when you move out after graduation! Learn to avoid Ironing by hanging clothes wet, and if you really have a compulsion to iron get a table top board to just use a table with a clean towel over it.
TBH you dont need the iron either, unless you are a super neat freak (I lived with one in first year, he even ironed his socks every Sunday afternoon in the kitchen – weird!) hang clothes up or just embrace the wrinkles.
Still on the washing theme you dont need a Laundry Basket/Bin either – they take up valuable space, and a reusable bag (think Ikea or sports direct) does the same job and is MUCH easier to walk to the laundrette with!
Full 4/5 people sets of crockery sound like a good idea- but it’s not often then you will be feeding more than 1 extra person and if you are just ask people to bring a plate! Also it’s really easy to cope with 2 bowls and 2 large plates – it means you wash up more and have more space in the cupboard for food!
Glasses are like fragile mugs with no handles… Think about that. They take up space and break way to easy, they also get borrowed more than anything else in the kitchen. Save some cash and ‘borrow’ some from the local SU after a night out- they expect student to do this- I haven’t brought a glass since moving in but still have 4 pint glasses!
Egg cup, seriously you are never going to use this unless you really REALLY love boiled eggs and if you do a shot glass works just as well.
Printers are always a big debate, but we really don’t think you need one that much, all notes from class are online, you submit all work online so no need to print. For the amount you are actually going to need it its easier to get it printed at the uni library.
Everyone loves pizza, its a fact. But a pizza slicer? Difficult to clean, and will be borrowed by everyone in the flat. Just use a knife or scissors!
Have you been told to bring something to Uni that was utterly useless? Let us know!
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.