I'm due to start a PhD a in October. I was wondering if I could get some insights into halls/flat-shares, what your experiences are and whether you think one is better then the other. During my undergrad I lived a few halls and private flats with friends. While working I've lived in a few flat-shares. I'm familiar with undergrad halls, but I don't really know much about post-grad halls.
The flat shares are significantly cheaper (judging by spare room). (£3.5K+/year compared to 4.5K+ upward for halls). It will be in Cardiff btw.
Any advice, experiences, amusing anecdotes, lessons learnt etc would be welcome!
Can you afford your own flat, a studio or something? You need your own space and quiet (in my experience).
There's no right or wrong answer here. Either scenario can work out well or badly!
Things to consider:
- Do you know anyone in Cardiff already? If you know no-one then a flat share can be a starting point for making friends.
- How much do you value being able to cook/do laundry etc at your own convenience?
- What is your tolerance level for other people's habits?
- Will you have a regular space in an office for your PhD? If your project is a totally solo effort, you choose to live alone, and you are new to the city, it could become a rather lonely enterprise.
I had the exact same thoughts as you when I was going to start my PhD! I think its definetely an important thing to consider, but from past experience of living in several different places during my phd i have to say it almost always ends up a happy experience!! I think it depends on what youre looking for? If you want to meet people, then definetely look for a flatshare with other grads, but if not then your own flat would be great for quiet and having your own space (and if youve got other grads in your office/dept then i am certain you will make friends there!). Though one thing i enjoyed with living with others is coming home after being in lab all day and having people there to chill out with and relax in front of the tv!
When I started I was moving to a completely new area and didnt know anyone, so first decided to move in a flatshare with 3 others (grad students) which was fantastic as it was an instant new group of friends. It also gives you the chance to meet the people you live with first and see if they are nice, which isnt really an option with halls.
I lived in postgrad halls too for a couple years - It was good (it wasnt as noisy/annoying etc like undergrad halls can be, maybe cause everyone is a bit older). But i actually found this more isolating than flatshares cause I was living with so many people (10 in a house) and there was no 'social area' as such so noone really interacted, everyone just stayed in their rooms. Although it depends on your unis accomodation situation and what they have available.
Looking back, I personally had better experience living in flatshares so I would say if youve had good flatshares in the past, why not try for another one!
When I moved to start my PhD I moved into a flat share. Worked out really well and I'm still good friends with the people I moved in with. I made sure I got a big enough room for a desk so I could work there, but I also liked having people to hang out with in the evenings. But then I've never been one for liking being/living on my own.
I chose to live with non-students. This meant they were working all week so didn't make a lot of noise/party mid week. It did mean I had to pay council tax, which I would have been exempt from living with other students or on my own, but it was still cheaper than getting my own place etc.
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