Accommodation

Moving Out

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Why I’m opting for UniBaggage this June

As the academic year draws to a close and the freedom of summer becomes a real, tangible concept, one seemingly small task stands in your way… Moving out. 

For the majority of students at university, term-time accommodation is exactly that – a term-porary arrangement. Like the noble hermit crab, students too have learnt to adapt to their surroundings, moving from abode to abode, upgrading to more suitable shells when they outgrow their old. Our similarities with the crustacean end there, I hope.

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Shinneayy – When you spot a new shell

 So whether you’re looking forward to a few more years at Manchester and just bidding adieu to halls or in your final semester and reluctantly handing in the keys to your flat, here are a few points to check off before you go!

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Avoid panic scoffing 101

  1. Food

Get rid of it! Try to plan out your meals for the last few days before moving. No one wants two fishcakes with a side of rice pudding for dinner… Make your final culinary ventures triumphant! I’m a big fan of batch cooking and find it really useful to keep a note of any extra portions I have hiding away in the back of the freezer. If you find that you do have an odd combination of leftovers, collaborate with a housemate to make something half decent! Too much food and need to clear it in a rush? Donate it. Food banks like Manchester Central on Oxford Road do an amazing job and would only be happy to help you with that surplus of baked beans!

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Me to my past self when I remember the chilli I’ve frozen

  1. Cancelling Bills

A less enthralling task, but one that needs to be done unless you intend to pay for your successors’ utilities… You can do this by simply ringing up and explaining when you will be moving out. This may require a meter reading depending on what bill you’re cancelling so be prepared to find ‘the box’.

  1. Changing Postal Address

Another sleep inducing chore, but again, important! Think magazine subscriptions, your contact lens deliveries and voting cards. You can notify most companies and organisations of your change of address online so it needn’t be too time consuming. Don’t forget to let your family and friends know to divert your care packages over the summer as well! 17813919_1694617144168942_968862816_n

The moment you realise someone else has your National Geographic

  1. Cleaning Up

The big one. The event you’ve been postponing for weeks now, but can barely bring yourself to begin, unless of course you’ve procrastinated a bit a la Kim and Aggie during exams and are ahead of game now. I’d recommend tackling your own bedroom first, once you know you’ve conquered the self-inflicted filth, you should be good to attempt the communal areas. Try to divide the rooms up fairly and make it fun! Get a good playlist going and treat yourself to a meal out afterwards… Wouldn’t want to mess up that immaculate kitchen!

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Yeah, jump into cleaning this house

5. Recycling

Not your weekly bins, although that’ll need doing as well. You may have spotted the large colourful recycling containers dotted around campus and University halls. These are exactly what they claim to be – an easy, fuss free and accessible way to donate any items you may want rid of, from pots and pans to old books and that duvet your Mother has pleaded with you not to bring home. It’s a no brainer – good for you, good for the environment and good for charity!

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Suitcase bashing: Valid exercise

6. Storing

For the items you do want to keep hold of, decide what you will need over the break and what you want to do with the rest. There’s a whole range of storage companies out there, eager to take the load off you for a while if you are returning in September. If you can, it’s worth getting in touch with your new landlord or letting agency to discuss the possibility of storing things at the new property over the holidays as well.

(6.5 …and Shipping)

Whilst more than a third of current students will be staying on to continue their studies or live and work in Manchester, the rest will be moving on and no doubt will have accumulated a considerable collection of possessions during their time. Enter UniBaggage. Without sounding too much like an article with a questionable injection of product promotion that could set off anyone’s overactive cringe gland, this company has truly been so great in moving me over, back and here again, saving time, money and energy that would otherwise have been spent on driving a car-load of things from Ireland.

7. Returning Keys

So, you’ve done it! House – pristine, food – all gone, unwanted items – donated and everything else in storage. You’re ready to go… Just don’t forget to return your keys! Most landlords and agencies will expect the whole set when the last tenant moves out, so it’s a good idea to have this individual look over the house inventory before they leave as well.

For further tips and advice, see the Union’s ‘House Advice’ campaign, with a few more points that are definitely worth remembering when moving out!

https://manchesterstudentsunion.com/top-navigation/advice-service/accommodation-advice/moving-out

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Moving Day

Coming to a house near you

Give It Don’t Bin It

With summer quickly approaching and house moves coming up for many, it’s time for another of the hugely successful Give It Don’t Bin It campaigns. As a student who has loved living in Manchester for years, this is definitely one of the easiest ways students can give to charity, help reduce their carbon footprint, and give back to the local community.

Give It Don’t Bin It is an annual collaboration between Manchester University, MMU, the logo_newsarticleCouncil and charities to encourage students to recycle and donate their unwanted items to the British Heart Foundation and foodbanks as they pack up for the summer. Last year, students donated a tremendous 124 tonnes to the charity which raised £230,723 towards lifesaving treatments and research.  This fantastic amount helped to fund 43 Defibrillators, 38 CPR kits, 4 Heart Start Groups, 13 British Heart Foundation Shops and 51 Research Grants!

GIDBI_Food_transparentNot only does Give It Don’t Bin It make a great contribution to medical research, but it also means that hundreds of tonnes of unwanted possessions are recycled instead of going to landfill.  In addition to helping the environment this saved the city £50,000 in landfill costs in 2015.

Together, long-term residents, landlords and Manchester Leadership Programme students contribute hundreds of volunteer hours to pack and deliver charity donation bags and blue and brown recycling bags to students across the city.

All you have to do is but your unwanted things in the British Heart Foundation bags and drop it off at one of the donation banks found all over Manchester.  You can donate almost any clean and reusable items, such as small electronics, clothes, books, shoes and CDs.  A single bag could be worth over £14, so please think twice before throwing away your old possessions!GIDBI_Bag2_transparent

Give It Don’t Bin It packs are delivered to most student neighbourhoods, and to all students in Halls of Residences so keep your eyes peeled for yours. From drop off points in halls for British Heart Foundation to dates for extra recycling collections in student areas – the packs tell you what you can donate and what you  recycle and (importantly) how.  But, if you’re keen to make a start and yours hasn’t arrived you can find all the information on the Give it Don’t Bin it website

Let’s see what amazing things we can achieve this year!

Tips on leaving your house secure over summer

Leaving Manchester for the summer?  Remember that empty student homes can be tasty targets for burglars, and homes without security measures are five times more at risk of burglary than those with security measures.   Here’s an exciting list of some things you can do to make sure you make your house is as theft-proof as possible this summer.  Most of these are very obvious so I’ve tried to make it as non-patronising as possible, so please bear with me – you might have missed something out!

  • Double-check that all doors and windows are locked, as well as gates to the back of your property.
  • Secure bikes inside.
  • Make sure that you can’t see valuables from ground floor windows.
  • Take your most valuable items away with you over summer, pay to keep them in storage or give them to a friend who’s sticking around over summer.
  • Consider a timer switch to turn on your lights if you’re going on holiday for a short period
  • Hide all keys and make sure they’re not near the letterbox.
  • Ask a friendly neighbour to keep an eye on your property.
  • Avoid raving about your holiday plans on social media – this is an easy way for burglars to see that your house will be unoccupied!
  • Cancel unnecessary mail so there’s not an obvious pile of letters and junk mail underneath your letterbox.
  • Ask the landlord to trim your hedges so your house is easily seen from the street, and request automatic outside lighting.
  • All appliances and heating turned off
  • Make sure bins are emptied and put back (bins left out will not only annoy neighbours but are a sign no –one is about!)

Have a safe and happy summer!

Moving to a new country

Coming from abroad, I was very excited to move to the UK for my studies! For many of you this will be one of the biggest changes you’ll make in your life; packing up all your things and starting a truly independent life at university. What’s important to know, however is that many of us will experience the move differently. I have some friends who were completely reluctant to move abroad, while others can’t wait to escape their abode. If you’re still unsure, have no fear! I’m here to give you advice based on my personal experience as well as share the experiences from other international students that will hopefully ease your transition of moving to a new country.

BEFORE YOU LEAVE:

  • Tick off your to-do list as soon as possible; you don’t want things hanging over your head when you’re moving, especially when there’s time to get them sorted. Order your phone sim card and book all your necessary appointments like your bank appointment to create a new account before you arrive. giphy1
  • Plan your first few days at university; there’s always so much going on during Welcome week, but be sure to book ahead. Check out the Get ready and What’s On guide for some of the more essential events, so you don’t miss you! Other things to do: buy a ticket to a concert, a barbeque or a stand-up comedy show; make plans with a course-mate/mentor you met online or just do anything that will force you to get out of the house to make sure that you don’t isolate yourself! There’s something to do! Taking that one step can lead to other opportunities like exploring your new city or meeting people.
  • Learn your transport options; start of uni will be very hectic and you’ll have to run from place to place constantly, so you’ll only make yourself a favour if you get familiar with the local transportation. If you’re lost in the first few weeks around campus, look out for people with AskMe badges; as the name suggests, you can ask them for anything, including directions.
  • Take your favourite items with you; you want to make your new environment familiar, so be sure to bring a few items with you that will make your new space more homely.

WHEN YOU ARRIVE:

  • Get involved in language classes; still not 100% confident with your English? Getting more comfortable with the local language will make you feel better and help you with your work and studies. Many students opt for informal language ‘classes’ that are more commonly known as conversation corners, language cafes or anything along those lines. Find out more from the International Society, your course leaders or peers!
  • Find out what locals do; this includes where they buy the best and cheapest groceries, where they go for a night out, what places are worth visiting etc. They’re locals, so after all they will know the tricks of the trade that can help out.
  • Research about the local culture; Depending where you’re from, you may find culture in the UK really different from your home country, or it might be very similar. If you want to get familiar with the local culture, chat with your peers, staff or go online (there are a lot of resources). One difference in culture that I experienced was the greeting customs. Back home we hug and kiss upon greeting our friends and family, whereas in the UK a handshake will do!
  • Let yourself be homesick; being homesick connects you to the place you were born and/or grew up in and can strengthen your connection with the people you love. Don’t isolate yourself from your home! Loved ones will have your back when you’re feeling low.Elina

‘Moving to a new country can be stressful. Take it easy and take every challenge as a game. Stay positive and talk with people around you as you can learn a lot from them. Here, you will always find support and understanding. Also, make sure you keep in touch with your parents – they can be really curious about your new lifestyle and can help your transition.’

-Catalina Maria Vlad, ITMB (Economics and Strategy), Class of 2020

  • Get involved; join a local charity, if you have a faith – go to church, join the local sports team or join a society. These are all simple ways to meet people that you share a common interest with whether that’s their love for the same cause, a mutual faith or motivation to learn a new skill.Catalina

 

‘Try to make as many friends as possible when you first come to the University. Engagein activities, don’t be shy, stay positive and friendly.’

-Elina Bildanova, ITMB with Industrial Experience, Class of 2020

  • Keeping all this in mind, take some time to chill as well; I’m an avid planner; I keep to-do lists, bucket lists, idea lists, I have study plans, weekend plans, workout plans, anything, you name it. But I do recognise that sometimes, you just need to take a break. Try not to overthink everything and once in a while just take time for yourself and just chill. Try and get involved, try to adapt as easily as possible, but at the same time, just go with it!Raluca

‘Forget about buying plane tickets in advance so you get a good offer and forget about making lists with the things you need to buy or bring to your new home. Sure, these are important, but don’t forget to bring an open mind, positive energy and a bag full of excitement for all the new adventures that you will have.’

-Raluca-Lucia Lusca, ITMB (Marketing), Class of 2020

Top tips for moving into a new home

Moving into private accommodation can be very tricky, particularly finding people to live with considering you’ll be with each other most of the time, sharing the same spaces. Here are a few tips when deciding where to live and things to do or keep in mind before making the decision. While many of them might seem like you’re looking too far ahead and they’re not things to think of now, trust me they’re very important! Small things from daily life, like (not) cleaning up after eating, can be what tires you the most when living with someone and may increasingly build up tension.

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  1. Reliability of landlord
    • If you’re moving into a house, the reliability of the landlord is very important; you want to make sure that if there are any problems they will make sure to repair them in a timely manner.
    • If possible, try and look for accommodation approved by Manchester Student Homes (or any other equivalent) and read as many reviews possible for the accommodation and the area.
  2. Area
    • Keep in mind that you need to be in a safe area. No matter how cheap something may be or how nice it may seem, if it’s down a dark alleyway or has very high crime rates, it’s best not to risk it.
    • If you’re more of a quiet person, stray away from the party-like areas otherwise you won’t be happy with the noise-levels of the neighbourhood.
    • Don’t forget to think about transport costs get familiar with walking routes, find out which buses go where and how much they cost/if they’re covered by your Stagecoach bus pass),.
  3. Bills included
    • Bills included can be a great way to manage your budget.. It’s easy to waste electricity without realising it and ending up with big bills, but more importantly, it’s just a hassle having to follow up to pay bills and splitting them each time. This gets even worse in situations where people might argue that someone uses up more electricity than someone else so they should pay more or less (respectively.) 
  4. UK guarantor needed
    • Before going to a house/accommodation viewing or getting attached to the idea of anything, make sure you’re familiar with all the requirements. Many private accommodation requires a UK guarantor. 
  5. People you’re living with
    • You need to make sure the person you’re living with is right. It needs to be someone you’re comfortable with, feel safe around, trust that they will not bring home strangers, someone who will also be responsible for keeping the house clean, paying bills, keeping up with rent payments etc.
    • Don’t confuse friendship with living with someone! While it might sound great and like a movie to live with your friends, it doesn’t mean it will be dream land. It’s okay to be best friends with someone and not think you’re suitable for living together the same way not all relationships would survive living together. giphy2
    • Ultimately, it’s better to have one uncomfortable conversation with a friend telling them you’d rather not live with them and save the friendship in the long term as opposed to living with them and getting into conflict so deep that your friendship isn’t as strong by the end of the year.
  6. Establish ground rules before getting tied down to a deposit
    • Are you okay with people having visitors? How many, for how long? Do you mind people of all genders staying with you?
    • Are you okay with house parties? When is quiet time on weekends and weeknights? giphy3
    • Is there any protocol for using common areas? Helpful rules might include cleaning up right after cooking or the latest by the next day etc.
  7. Talk about practicalities
    • Decide on things like who will do the grocery shopping, how often it will be, if you will split it each time or pay in turns, what you will be purchasing together and what will be bought individually. Also keep in mind things that need to be bought like kitchen paper, cleaning products etc. giphy4
    • Think of how chores will be divided and how frequently. For example, vacuuming, taking out the rubbish, cleaning the bathrooms etc. 

5 Relevant Points when Renting Privately

So, you’ve herded a flock your friends together long enough to finalise an ultimate clique, and with the end of the academic year just around the corner, September 2017, NASA confirms, is well within sight. And so the age-old ritual of booking, confirming and attending house-viewings has begun, but despite you and your clan’s best efforts, you have yet to commit to the one… House that is. Read on, disillusioned house (rent) hunters, for some goggling guidance and as always, a generous sprinkling of gifs, from me to you.

  1. Location, location, location

As Kirstie Allsopp preaches, it is indeed all about the location. Whether you consider yourself a Longsight local or a regular Rusholme-ian, where you decide to call home will really impact on your day to day life as a student. Most halls and private accommodation in Manchester can be grouped into being in the City, Victoria park or Fallowfield areas, and having experienced all three throughout my time at university, I can attest to their various strong points and drawbacks.

I loved the leafy green *weather permitting* hideaway that my first year halls in Victoria Park offered, and equally enjoyed my days as a Fallowfield-er, partaking in the traditions of the rush-hour bus commute and the consumption of all things Kebab King. But, I can’t think of a better place to be in my final year than Hulme, just a stone’s throw away from town and campus.

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Overtaking morning traffic on the brisk walk to uni

  1. State of Mind vs. State of Property

At first, it can be hard to adjust to the concept of living in a house that, let’s face it, might not exactly feel home-ey… There’s nothing like leaving the comfort of halls for a semidetached dwelling where the responsibilities of putting out bins and declaring yourself exempt from council tax loom large overhead. When on the lookout and browsing places, it’s important to consider them as bases, something temporary for the next 9 months, not a site candidate for grand designs. Use your discretion to be level-headed, is this a superficial crack in the paint or a sign of potentially dangerous damage to the structural integrity of the walls? Likewise, a set or two of fairy lights can truly work wonders on a beige bedroom, however, they definitely shouldn’t be employed as a mould-masking tool!

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When the search for the perfect abode ain’t going so well

3. Compromise

So, would you rather the extra cupboard space or a washer-dryer combo to go with those crumbly walls of yours? And what about another bathroom or maybe T.Vs in each of the bedrooms instead?

As a wise woman (Carrie Bradshaw) once said, all relationships are inevitably a series of compromises and this goes for student houses too. It’s important to discuss the compromises that will no doubt arise when choosing between properties and what they have to offer, and it’s probably a good idea to talk about this before even looking at any… What basic boxes do you all want checked off? Will one of you be happy to settle for the attic room? Would a 10 minute walk to the nearest bus stop be a problem or are you all avid cyclists anyway?

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Viewing a house that only has a couple of hydrangea bushes when the last one had a pond

4. Included or Excluded?

Bills… Would you like them to be included in or excluded from your monthly rent? Some landlords and letting agencies will simply dictate whether bills are included or not, others may give the option. ‘Bills included’ can often refer to just the basic utilities such as water, gas and electricity. However in some cases, this can also include wifi, a T.V license and even a weekly or bi-weekly cleaning service in the communal areas. In any case, it’s best to be clear with whoever you’re renting with what the arrangements are from the outset. Organising your own bills can have significant financial benefits, particularly if utilities are metered and you’re good at switching lights off and keeping the heating below ridiculous degrees Celsius. On the other hand, if the extra responsibility would be unwelcome and you’d rather not be hounding your housemates for that £7.12 they owe you each month, having your bills arranged is an equally valid option!

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‘But I swear I transferred you the money for the BT bill on Tuesday?’

5. Make the Most

Make the most of the opportunities at your disposal! We’re lucky at the University of Manchester to have a whole range of informative events and a supportive Union that offers a wealth of material and advice on housing, from finding a property to moving out. Accommodation fairs such as the one on the 25th of April at University Place are a great place to start and find your feet if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed!

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Don’t be shy, ask for advice – the more informed you are, the better!

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Very best of luck with all your house hunting endeavours, you can do it!

10 Essential Items Every Fresher Needs to Pack

I know it is still the middle of summer but no doubt your mind is already drifting towards September and the exciting experience of starting university. It seems ages away, but those summer months zoom by extremely quickly and before you know it, you’ll be packing for the biggest adventure of your life!

For me, packing was definitely one of the most stressful aspects of preparing to move to Manchester. What should I pack? What do I actually need? The only way to find out the honest answer was to try it out for myself.

So… I have compiled a list of ten things that I consider to be essential, making your Fresher’s experience just a little easier.

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  1. Playing Cards

Whether you drink or not, cards are essential throughout your time at university. They are a great icebreaker in those first few days in Freshers when you’re meeting new people!

  1. Casual clothes

Although you may have taken up all the space in your suitcase with the going-out clothes that you’re planning on wearing in Freshers, it’s important to remember the essentials too. I underestimated how much time I would spend just chilling in my room with my friends or working late in the library. It’s important to have plenty of clothes you can feel comfortable in.

  1. Pens and paper

With all the excitement of Fresher’s it can be easy to forget that you’re actually at university to… study. Even in Welcome Week you will have welcome lectures and seminars, so it’s important to be prepared. You don’t want to be rushing to the Students’ Union shop for stationery instead of figuring out how to get to your lecture hall.

  1. Mugs

Other people probably had a much more exciting and wild first year than I had, but amongst my group of friegiphy-2nds we liked to have communal TV nights in my room such as ‘Downton and Chill’, ‘Great British Bake Off and Chill’ and, probably the most exciting night: ‘Casualtea’. I know, it’s tragic. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that it’s nice to be able to enjoy a cup of tea in your room with friends, even when in catered halls.

  1. Vitamins

This is no doubt one of the most essential items on this list. Before I started 1st year, I thought Fresher’s Flu was a myth. It really, really isn’t. I got ill a number of times and so did many of my friends. The truth is, you’re staying up late, exposing yourself to a new environment, and let’s be honest – definitely eating more cheesy chips than apples and bananas 😉 As soon as I started to take daily vitamins, my immune system improved greatly. Don’t forget though, that the best way to stay healthy is eating well!

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  1. Earplugs

There’s no point in lying about it – living in Halls is noisy. Be prepared for someone having a late night even if you’re planning on getting some rest. For this reason, earplugs are a great essential for every Fresher – trust me, you’ll be glad you brought them!

  1. Doorstop

When I was packing, this was the one item everyone who had been to university told me was absolutely essential. On that first day, the doorstop will be your saviour. Believe me, it’s so much easier for people to approach you and say hi when your door is wide open, it says ‘hey, I’m a friendly and approachable person!’

  1. Blue-tack

A sure-fire way to ward off that homesickness is to make your room feel like your own, I’m not talking literally (put that hammer down, please!). If you have photos, gig tickets and posters stuck to your wall at home, bring them with you to uni! Not only does this make your room feel more like your own, but it also makes for some great conversation starters.

  1. A cookbook

If you’re in self-catered halls, a cookbook will be your lifesaver especially those written for students moving away for the first time. Don’t forget you can also find quick, easy to follow recipes online on websites like BBC Good Food.

  1. Photo frames

Just like bringing things to stick on your walls, photos are a really great addition to a student room as they’ll make you feel more at home. Bring your favourite photos with a few empty frames for pictures of your new friends and the memories that you are sure to make in your first year at university.