Adjusting to life in a new city always takes a little time, but there is a way to make the transition easier. Student life will keep you busy but it will also be one of the best times of your life in terms of academic challenge, new experiences and building friendships. Therefore the quicker you settle in, the quicker you can enjoy Cambridge life.
Here are four key areas to consider when you make your move to the city.
Finding Your Way Around
If possible, it is always a good idea to get to know a little about the layout of the area and what is available before you relocate. If you can, stay in the city for a couple of days so you can get your bearings. It is often a good idea to do this with family or friends so that you feel confident to explore and find out what is on offer.
If your budget is limited, consider staying in a serviced apartment, such as Signet Apartments in the heart of the city. Serviced apartments offer parking, they are highly competitive price wise when compared against hotels and they allow you to self-cater, further bringing your costs down.
Where you live will have a big impact on how quickly you settle in. Your first stop should be to see if you can get a place in halls of residence. These are fair in terms of costs and they are at the centre of student life, so it usually leads to you making friends quickly.
If you aren’t able to find a place in student halls then look into the possibility of house sharing with other students. The Student Union or Student Services offer help with finding accommodation and they keep their finger on the pulse in terms of what is available, so you should find something suitable fairly quickly.
Balancing the Books
When you first arrive at college you may feel quite flush in terms of the money you have available, especially if your student loans have just been paid into your bank account. However, it is important to remember that this money has to last for the academic year ahead, so you need to budget carefully.
Calculate how much money is available to you on a weekly basis, after all your bills have been taken into account, and then make sure you live within your means. Where you can, you should make savings on any non-essential expenses. For example, Cambridge is a great place to get around on bike, the terrain is fairly flat and most places are accessible with excellent cycle paths. Therefore, instead of paying for expensive bus or train journeys bring your bike from home or pick one up second-hand. By cycling you will also get loads of exercise so you won’t even need to pay for a gym membership.
You also need to consider issues such as Council Tax when you become a resident of Cambridge. There are exemptions and discounts for students so make sure you head over to the Cambridge City Council website to see what you are entitled to.
Going away to college can initially lead to feelings of homesickness but it’s important to remember that this is natural and should quickly pass. Leaving home is a big transition for everyone but the more you keep busy, and the quicker you make friends, the happier you will become.
During Freshers’ Week make sure you attend numerous events so you have the opportunity to meet a range of new people. Your college friends don’t need to come only from the people who live in your hall of residence, student flat or are on the same course as you. In fact the wider you can throw your net the better your chance of making a great circle of friends, many of whom you will probably be close to for the rest of your life.
Finally, if you are homesick there’s no shame in calling home a couple of times a week. It will make you realise that your family will still be there for you to go back to at the end of term and your Mum and Dad will thank you for it as they are missing you just as much as you are missing them.