Words by Chloe O’Keeffe
Starting University and moving to new towns and cities is a pretty hard thing to do in itself. Starting University comes with so many forms and applications to fill out. I’ll never forget when I started my undergrad- letters coming in through the door for me constantly, things to do and complete before I started my Orientation week. Undoubtedly, it’s heightened with a certain virus going around. My brother started University this year, and- though I knew there were a lot of forms to fill- I found myself thinking ‘No way did I have this many!‘
As well as the enrollment to your chosen University you also have this huge factor of finding a place to live when you move away. That is, if you are too far to commute. Even then, one may find themselves looking to move out of home to get the “full college experience.” Sourcing adequate accommodation can be a big pain, there’s so many different types! Alas, it has to be done- and for future reference maybe this quick guide will help you…
Digs, or “family stays” are the least commonly talked about type of student accommodation. For those that don’t know what digs are vacant rooms offered for a student to live in, with the family also in the house. This is said to be most common with shorter stay students, and foreign exchange students. I also recommend this for incoming first years. My own personal experience in digs is nothing but amazing. As digs was a less common option, all other options had been taken when I was starting first year. I reluctantly looked into digs, and looking back it was the perfect choice for me.
For me, I was living with the homeowner- a lovely, really cool lady- her dog and another first year. I chose this particular house for the fact that the landlady was taking two students in. I instantly had a friend! Being from a smaller part of Cork, and moving to a city was a scary thing for a not even 18- year old me. Digs were perfect in the sense that the landlady was amazing, and very helpful, but I still had my own independence and free reign to do as I please.
On- Campus Accommodation
Many Universities across the country and further a field offer on- campus accommodation in purpose built student accommodation. “On-Campus” accommodation can be anything from a single block of apartments owned and run by the University, to full student villages like in the University of Limerick which boasts six student villages owned and run by the University.
On campus accommodation, from my experience, may be the dearest in question. There is also the issue that many of these types of accommodation require the rent and bills in lump sums. These are huge factors to keep in mind, as University can be quite expensive on a weekly/monthly basis without adding the issue of scraping your money together for 4 months rent all in one go. In saying that, however, there is an added piece of mind that your house is owned by the University, and you are dealing with them; you can only assume that you will be getting a top quality service and that the house you will live in will be pretty much immaculate.
Off Campus Private Villages
Your University isn’t the only place you may find a student village. There are many cities that will have privately- owned student accommodation. These are quite similar to that of On Campus Accommodation except that these type of villages or halls will be privately owned and run by an external company, and will have no affiliation to your University.
Similarly to On Campus accommodation this type of accommodation will always require rent to be paid in lump sums, which could lead to some financial strain in the first couple of weeks!
Privately rented houses
The cheapest type of accommodation is definitely the student houses rented from private landlords, as 90% of the time (in Ireland anyway!) this is paid on a monthly basis. This is a lot more financially sustainable for students that may be relying on part- time jobs to keep them going.
That said, much of the time houses may not be up to scratch and students have to be wary when going down the route of privately- owned homes. It is always best to view the house before putting a deposit on it, and always ensure you get receipts from your landlord to prove you’ve paid (this goes with anywhere!)
There is plenty of student accommodation to choose from; each with their own list of pros and cons. One might suit you, but not suit another. It’s all about weighing these positives and negatives and figuring out which suits you the best.