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While browsing through Ciao, I noticed that no one had given their opinion on the University of Leeds for a while so I thought I would share mine with you.
I began my study at Leeds in October 1990 (yes, that long ago!) but I'm sure it hasn't changed much and I would imagine it's only changed for the better.
When we arrived (I was lucky enough to have a friend from school on the same course) we quickly found our accomodation began to get acclimatised after being welcomed and given lots of information on what lay ahead for us. Although I was initially in a university flat (didn't get on with room mate) we both ended up at Bodington Hall approx. 4 miles from the University in Lawnswood. It may seem a long way but this was not a problem as there are buses which come into the Hall grounds and take you right to the Uni. I thought Bodington was a great place to live in your first year. The food was pretty good (although I didn't make it for breakfast that often), the rooms were nice and big (and single rooms!) and threr was always plenty going on including weekly (or more) discos and bands on in the dining hall for termly balls etc. When I was there they had seven large houses - mine was Seton, but now they have more, so you've more chance of getting in there. Well this isn't a review of Bodington so I'll get on with the University...
On our first day we had the usual welcome meetings and freshers fair. Hundreds of societys from sports to the more unusual trying to recruit you as you wandered around the hall (if you looked right of course!), we joined the Black Lodge, the Rock Society (music, not rocks..)and I joined the photography society (but never went). We were given welcome packs which told us exactly where we had to be and when and gave loads of info on the uni and the city in general. A lot of it had been written by the students so it told us what we really wanted to know and not all the boring stuff. As I said I was lucky enough to be with a friend, but with all the info and the friendly welcome, there's no reason to feel lost if you arrive on your own.
I won't go into detail about my course as everyone is doing something different (I was studying Zoology) but I will say in my case there were plenty of interesting options to study along with our compulsory courses, the lecturers were great (Dr Mill, Dr Evenett, Dr Graham etc. - hello if you happen to be reading this!) and although we had lectures in all parts of the campus it was easy to find your way around. We were lucky enough to have much of our study in the old original part of the University which is really beautiful
The library was brilliant, everything you could ever want (well, need) and if by chance it wasn't there they would get it for you through inter library loan if possible. I mainly used one of a number of library's (suitable for different study's) but they were all just as good and well stocked.
The student union was fantastic - many bars, many food outlets, shops, supermarket (for if you could't be bothered to go to Morrisons just down the road!), study ares (what?) etc. During our first week there was a great entertainment program in the union. There was always something going on there during my three years. The refectory was the main venue for bands etc. The smaller bars had the various society nights during the week. Some bars were just always open for drinking all day...what more do you want.
The university is well situated, just a short walk from the city centre (plenty of buses if you are lazy) and also has smaller branches of the banks just across the road. The cash machines give out fivers! - well they did when I was there. There are also many small shops and takeaways in the immediate vicinity.
My accomodation was great as I said above, and the university have many other accomodation sites. Second and third years have a wide area to choose from. I had no problem finding a nice terraced house in Hyde Park(for 3) in the second year. The rent was reasonable but I can't vouch for this now as this was 1991.
I won't go into the nightlife in general as it changes so often and people like different things. I loved it, there was plenty to do for me - something every night in Leeds and also the surrounding area (Bradford, Sheffield, Halifax) if you don't mind travelling now and again. There are loads of pubs around the university, some specifically catering for students, if it's just a drink you are after.
Shopping... well that was fantastic too (have you guessed I loved it yet?), I only wish there had been Harvey Nick's in the early nineties... perhaps it's just as well that there wasn't!
It's difficult to review a university without getting bogged down in your own course and experiences, especially when it was soooo long ago, but I hope I've managed to give you something useful in all this.
The only thing left to say is... I hope you have as good a time as I did! Oh, and I did get my degree during all that fun I had.....