An International Student of Literature in England.
Thanks to UEA reposting my “Dear Freshers” article, my blog got soooo many views! I also got a few really nice comments that gave me inspiration for this post. A few people asked me about accommodation at UEA and the village. Since it was one of my biggest worries last summer, I thought it’d be nice to talk about it and show you as many pictures as possible, especially for those who, like me, couldn’t visit the campus. The one thing that bothered me was the lack of accommodation pictures and information on UEA’s website. It was all quite vague and I only found a couple of videos on YouTube. That’s something they should really work on.
Here is a video I made of the village accommodation!
The village accommodation is referred to as “en-suite village”. The village is only 15 minutes away from the heart of the campus! It really isn’t far. There are 8 rooms per flat. There’s a real sense of community and belonging there, and I guess the same can be said about UEA in general!
It’s not too big and not too small either, just enough for you to feel secure without it being too noisy (unlike on campus accommodation during LCR nights). Some of the houses are pretty big but others only have four flats. It makes a big difference with regards to noise levels and socialising but you can’t ask to live in a particular house. Courtyard A and B are the biggest ones while Pine, Willow and Hawthorn are further away, at the back (nobody knows about them haha).
Lots of students choose it over the “en-suite campus” accommodation due to the price difference. En-suite campus rooms are bigger and nicer (especially the bathrooms) but I genuinely think that living in the village was really cool. Living in Pine House made me feel like I wasn’t always on campus or at uni. The kitchens are bigger and some were refurbished recently. And of course, I saved a lot of money. I was further away from the campus than others, but on the other hand, Tesco and Aldi were pretty close (roughly 20 minutes) which is great when you need to carry heavy shopping bags.
The size of the rooms was decent and there’s absolutely everything you need. I actually expected something smaller and was really pleased with my room. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not huge either. There’s a veeery long desk (with two big drawers) and long shelves above it. You should have more than enough space to fit all you books, laptop, decoration etc. There’s some carpet on the wall in front of the desk so you can pin photos and stuff. You’ll allowed to have posters on the walls if you use white tac. UEA provides a wonderful plastic chair that will kill your back and your butt! Good luck… I’d often put pillows on my chair to help. There’s no desk lamp so make sure to bring or buy one! The bed is okay although my original mattress was awful. I had I changed after a few weeks.
You can lift up the bed to have more storage under it by the way! I put all my suitcases there. That’s a big plus. Talking about storage, the wardrobe is huge and deep! I loved it. There’s also a full size mirror in it.
As for the bathroom, it’s tiny but it has everything you need and you don’t have to share. The sink is quite small, and so is the shower. There are two small shelves and two hooks. The annoying part is that the floor gets flooded after showering and it takes a while to dry even with the fan on and the door being open. Because of that, black mould can appear very easily so be careful. The cleaner will come once a week (always on the same day) to clean your bathroom. You have to clean the rest of your room and ask the cleaner to unlock to the hoover, which is kind of annoying sometimes.
The kitchen size is decent but it gets tricky when more than 4 or 5 people cook at the same time. There are lots of cupboards and drawers too! There are only four electric hobs, which isn’t fantastic but hey. We had a grill and a microwave/oven. I wished we had two because as I said, cooking was tricky when everybody was there. The freezer was big but to me the biggest problem was the fridge! Two small fridges for eight students is ridiculous. Ours we full and yet, we were only seven in the flat and some people didn’t buy much fresh food. But I did and ended up using other people’s shelves. UEA really needs to change that. As for cleaning, the cleaner came twice a week! But she only cleans the floor, surfaces and appliances. In other words, nobody’s going to do your washing up!
Despite the few annoying things I mentioned about the village accommodation, living there was amazing. Improvements are needed, especially in the kitchen (some flats have been refurbished in the village and they have nicer kitchens) but what made my first year incredible was living with the flatmates who became great friends. They’re the ones who’ll make your uni experience special, fun and memorable. In the end, who cares whether you had one or two microwaves? 😛
I hope this helped!