Moving away from home and settling into new surroundings is often a daunting and worrying event.
I certainly know that when me and my sister packed into the car and headed to the airport, I was struck with panic. The fears mainly consisted of how I was going find caring for myself, would I be unbearably homesick, and would my flatmates and me get along.
We arrived in Belfast a day before I moved into Elms village (Queen’s student accommodation), stayed in a B&B that night, then headed with my two suitcases to where I would live for the next year.
Elms is pretty peaceful considering just how many students live here
The first thing we noticed as we entered the village was how quiet it is, despite being off a large road. From exploring the city, the day before, we also realised that Elms is only about a 20-minute walk from the main university buildings, making it conveniently close. First impressions were certainly good.
The whole area was flooded with people with matching uniforms, ready to help all of us move in, and we were directed up to the ‘Treehouse’; a large building in the middle of the accommodation with a small shop, washing facilities, and a student communal area.
There, I was asked my name, and in return I received a key fob and a map. Having been given the GB scholarship, I also received free bedding and kitchen supplies here too.
The rooms offer everything you need and are pretty modern
We then headed over to my new home; a decent sized standard room with an en suite nestled in one of the many buildings here. They have 4 different types of rooms – Standard, Standard en suite, Premium, Premium en suite. These rooms range from £94 to £124, though having received the scholarship, I pay £94 for a £112 a week room.*
All of your bills, including Wi-Fi, are included in this price, and this amount is taken as a direct debit on the first day of each month.
I have an unusual floor here. Every other floor here consists of 12 rooms with a large kitchen shared between them. My floor however, used to house those with food allergies, so instead we have two small kitchens for 6 on each side. The normal kitchens though have two fridge-freezers and cookers, sink, sofa, television, and plenty of cupboards.
There is a Tesco superstore about a 10-minute walk away to keep those cupboards full, of course! Cleaning staff clean the kitchen once a week, though washing up and taking the bins out are the floor’s responsibility (bins are collected everyday which is really handy).
Washing your clothes is done on the ground floor of the treehouse. The only annoying thing about washing clothes is the machines only accept the exact change but it’s hardly a major complaint.
Emergency shopping trips (For me, that is a bar of chocolate at 12am) can be done at the Spar just outside the village. The shop in the treehouse isn’t too bad, but I prefer going to the Spar as it has a wider selection and does some good deals from time to time.
When you first get to your room, it’ll look rather bare and uninviting. But I recommend the first thing you do when you walk in is make your bed! It makes it seem more homely. What you’ll have in your room depends on what room you chose, but you should receive a large desk, bed, a closet space (a clothes rack with a curtain screen) a pin board, and a large shelf.
The walls are free to decorate (no nails, of course). Within a month however, you’ll be amazed at how much stuff you’ve acquired! You collect your post and parcels from the reception, in case you order anything. When a parcel arrives for you, they’ll send you an email asking you to collect it.
The Treehouse is basically the hub of Elms
The Treehouse is always hosting evening events as well, so you won’t get bored if you’re not out on the town. Pizza nights are the best, but pretty much any event you can think of is hosted there. They also plan trips down to Ikea to furnish your room in the first few weeks of arrival which is really useful. As a lot of those who stay in Elms aren’t local, they do trips to key sites like the Giant’s Causeway. They normally cost under a tenner to attend.
Overall, Elms is great fun to live in for the first year. It’s where you’ll meet some great friends and the prices are really good compared to accommodation at other unis. You’ll be guaranteed a place here if you’re a GB student too!
History and Archaeology | 1st year | Colchester, England
18 year old student who came from England to study at Queen's - I study my passions (History and Archaeology!) and am also an exhibited artist and writer. Lover of the old-fashioned, and serial avoider of the gym. Play pool with my friends an incredible amount since I moved, yet I still manage to be a absolutely terrible player.
* Accommodation costs given in this blog are for the 2016/17 Academic year.