Accommodation at Manchester: Sarah’s experiences

Sarah is a Year 2 Midwifery (BMidwif) student. She is originally from a village in the Cotswolds and used to live on a small farm, so moving to the city was a big change for Sarah. Here, she tells us about her thoughts on accommodation in Manchester.

How I found accommodation

At the moment, I live in a private house with three other midwives. We found our accommodation a bit last minute and arranged viewings for any empty houses in the area that would fit us all for the money that we had.

We all met up and visited all the letting agencies for a few days, and kept a beady eye on the internet for new houses. We ended up seeing a lot of houses before finding our current one and went through a letting agency – they pretty much sorted it all out once we had decided on the house.

The house

For us, this house is perfect. It’s within our budget and is close to both university and all of our placement trusts, so nobody has to travel too far to get to work on time. The house itself is pretty cute and I think we’ve turned it into a happy little home. It’s also pretty close to local shops, cafes and bars, and with easy connections to the city centre.

The housemates

My housemates are all Midwifery students who I met in my first year. It’s pretty great living with them, as we’re all sympathetic to each other when we’re on night shifts or getting up at 5:45am.

Being on a course with work placements can be really tiring, and it’s so nice to have housemates who won’t wake you up with parties in the early hours of the morning.

The location

We live in South Manchester, in Withington, which suits us pretty well. We’re all ‘mature students’ so there’s less of the 18-year-old party scene around us.

First year accommodation

Before my first year, I went through a private company to find a flat to share. As I was a ‘mature student’ and doing a degree that involved alarms for 6am and night shifts, I definitely wanted to avoid living with students who wanted a more exciting social life. I definitely couldn’t handle the 18-year-old party scene! So, we found a three-bed flat to rent in Fallowfield and we loved it there.

I initially joined the Midwifery Facebook group to see if anyone else was looking for places to rent, as I knew it’d be better to try to live with other midwives or nurses for sympathy with our unsociable hours. It was really easy; I just posted a quick comment to see if anyone was interested and managed to find another girl who was looking.

We did our research online and found a company in Fallowfield that was well respected and a lot cheaper than the others. She went and had a viewing, as she was much more local than me and could get to Manchester more easily. We weren’t really too fussy about the type of accommodation; it just needed to be secure, relatively cheap and near to bus stops!

It was perfect; we really lucked out. The location was Fallowfield, which seems to be where all the students flock to. It was cheaper than all of the other accommodation that seemed to be available and was close to the shops (we didn’t have any money to buy anything, but it was nice to be near them…ish) and to a bus stop to get to Uni or placement. It was small, clean, relatively modern and had all the basics covered regarding furniture.

My house hunting advice

  • Really think about what you want from your student life – whether it’s a party scene or a more chilled lifestyle, try and find likeminded people to live with.
  • Try to look at the accommodation in person before you commit to it, as photos can be misleading.
  • Don’t pay too much! With our course, it’s important to have a nice room to go home to, but it’s not everything and I know so many students who paid a lot of money when they didn’t really need to.
  • Avoid damp houses!
  • If you’re moving in with other people, split up the basic stuff for the kitchen to buy between you; it’ll save you money and mean that you don’t end up with four cheese graters and no saucepans.
  • Keep it clean! We’ve had mice many times and that’s a bit gross.
  • Try not to buy too many decorations and equipment that that you won’t have the space for.
  • Don’t worry too much. At the end of the day, you need a kettle for tea and a bed to sleep in, so don’t be too hard on yourself if it’s not a palace.
  • If you’re a wee bit nervous about meeting new people on your first day when you move in, some Facebook groups can help you meet the people in your halls before you move in – it takes a bit of the anxiety away.

Find out more about student accommodation at The University of Manchester.

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