Things to consider when choosing my university
Before moving to the North of England there were several factors that I had to consider. One of the key factors that I had to think about was the time and the cost of the travel between home and university. This was significant for me as I wanted it to be an easy and accessible route since I travel between the two by train. It is far enough away that I can easily get home if I wanted to but still allows me to retain my independence. It is around a four-hour trip from Leeds to Essex and at the moment an advanced return train ticket will set me back around £55, covering two trains and a tube journey through central London. I was looking forward to experiencing somewhere completely different to where I am from. I decided that moving further away from home would be better for me personally as it would encourage me to be more independent and less reliant on my parents.
Before moving to Leeds to start my degree, I had only visited the university once and that had been my only experience of the North so I didn’t know what my experience would be like once I moved. Visiting the university and Leeds itself for an Applicant Day a few months before the start of the course, cemented my decision to move North as I loved the city and the campus. I did not see location as a barrier, and I was happy to move wherever as long as I was confident that I would enjoy my university experience.
Arriving at universityWhen I first arrived, I had mixed emotions. I was excited to move but also nervous about living with new people. When I moved into my halls, I was the first to arrive. My flatmates moved in later in the week, so it was quite a change to start living independently from day one. When my flatmates began to move in, by chance they all happened to be Northerners, so it was helpful to interact with new people in the weeks preceding the start of university.
Like with moving anywhere, you must acclimatise to your new surroundings. This was relatively easy to do in Leeds with there being so much so see and do before university started so I could get a real feel for the city. This helped me feel more comfortable and happier about where I was now living.
The differences between the North and South
I didn’t find that there was a great deal of difference between my hometown and university and I did not experience anything that was negative. The change I experienced was less about geography, but more about size of the place and my increased independence. Leeds is a lot bigger than my hometown, everything still seems close by and it’s very easy to get around. A key difference when you come to Yorkshire is acclimatising yourself with the local accent, which for the most part is easy to understand but you may find that there are a number of words in the local vocabulary that you are not familiar with. Words such as ‘nowt’, ‘scran’ and ‘bap’ were all words that I had not come across before. Such differences often cause debates such as the classic Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner vs Breakfast/Dinner/Tea. You’ll also notice that things are generally cheaper, most notably for me when using public transport, which can help when budgeting your finances.
The best things about living in the North
Moving far away from home is not for everyone. The first semester can be especially challenging for some and you need to be prepared to be more independent and self-reliant. For me it worked and there are many great things I love about living up North. I like how accessible things are and that a lot of the big cities like Manchester and York are not too far away. Living in my hometown, the only big city you could really visit was London and so Leeds has a lot more options close by. Leeds itself is a big student city being home to multiple universities which means businesses and brands tend to be student oriented with student discounts. There are also many great independent businesses that make Leeds unique and interesting to explore.