Where you live when you’re at university has a great impact on your experience – all the more if you’re an international student. Before I matriculated at King’s, I was particularly eager to find out more about the types of accommodation offered because halls were to be my first ever home away from home. Hopefully reading about my time in King’s residences and my experiences in different private accommodations help you gain a better understanding of where you might want to spend your three years in London.
In my first year, I lived in Great Dover Street Apartments. Though it wasn’t my first choice (I wanted to live in Stamford Street Apartments for the sheer convenience of living right on the Southbank), I would not change anything about my experience now – GDSA was where I made some of my first close friends in uni and Borough was an incredible place to be: the Shard was my guiding monument when I made my way home, Borough Market was frequently visited by my flatmates and I, and we were located only about a 30-40 minute walk away from the Strand campus.
Even though it was my first time living away from home, GDSA’s facilities made it super easy to adapt. I shared a really decently sized kitchen with 6 other fellow students and it was where many memories were made, from daily hangouts to cook and watch TV together to dishing out a full Christmas dinner before we all left for winter break. Having an ensuite bathroom was a definite perk – even though it is small, I cannot emphasise how convenient not having to share a bathroom is, especially when you have 9 A.M. lectures.
As I moved on to second year, I knew early on that I was only going to be in London for about 4 months as I had been accepted for the Study Abroad programme in semester 2, so I kept that in mind during my hunt for a room. Instead of going the more typical route of living in a flatshare then finding a subletter to take over my contract, I was extremely lucky to find a family renting a room out in their flat – it was perfect because they needed a short-term tenant, their flat was in between Chancery Lane and Holborn (I cannot stress enough how great the location was!!), the room was huge and well-furnished, I didn’t have to pay bills, and they were not restrictive about what I could or could not do at all.
The turnover rate for a flat is extremely high in London – I only really confirmed where I was going to be living very late on in the summers of my first and second year, and went through a lot of Skype meetings with potential flatmates/landlords before I landed my rooms. Right now, as a final year student, I currently share a flat in Elephant and Castle with a coursemate. I love being able to walk to campus and still enjoy the variety of things to do in the south, and having an awesome view of the city from my room certainly doesn’t hurt.
After having experienced a few different types of housing options and enjoying my stay in every one of them, I’m happy to say that London quickly became a city that I now consider a second home.