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I have lived in halls at Cardiff University since September and I am not too impressed, to be honest. I applied to university in my year off so I got unconditional offers from several uni's. I chose Cardiff and they then sent me an accommodation brochure, explaining the choice of halls and the process of applying.
Cardiff University like to boast about the quality of their modern accommodation, 3/4 of which has en-suite bathroom facilities. Well here you can get the Kitty low down. Whether you are a prospective student or simply curious as to how us students live, read on. My Dad was surprised about the fact that we have en-suite facilites, "living in luxury? It wan't like that in my day!" Yes, Dad, we all know you used to sleep on a bed of nail and share a toilet with 50 others when *you* went to university in the good old days!
I had to send off my form with my top 10 choices, in order of preference. I was lucky to get my first choice, probably because I had a firm offer from the university.
The first thing that surprised me was the costs involved. At home I live in a two bedroomed flat which costs less than £50 rent a week. Rents in Cardiff University Halls of Residence range from around £45 a week for a self catered room with shared bathroom facilities, up to £70 a week for a catered room with an en-suite bathroom. Quite expensive in my opinion, but then my £45 a week pays for my room, all bills and basic insurance. So I can leave the heating on for as long as I want without stressing about the bills like I do at home. Rents are more expensive at city universities than rural ones (such as Keele or Lancaster, for example) so compared to other similar unis, the prices are similar.
I will give each of the main halls an overview then describe my own, as I obviously have more to say about where I live. There are (according to the Cardiff University website) 12 different halls of residence.
*Talybont* (North and South)
This is the largest of the residences and nearly everyone I meet seems to live there. I went to see it on a visit to Cardiff last year and I was not impressed as I think it looks like an industrial estate! Talybont North houses 962 students and South 125. Too impersonal for me! Talybont is basically loads of modern houses split up into flats. Most of the rooms are en-suite. Right next to the Talybont complex is a McDonalds and a Tesco Extra. On the site itself there are impressive facilities such as a gym and a bar. Talybont is about a mile from the main campus and can be reached by a cycle path-which is quite dangerous at night. There is a free bus service to the uni and the city centre from Talybont. All flats are self catering.
The halls with the unpronounceable name are in a great location; just behind the students union and less than a mile from the city centre. They house 610 students, with a mixture of en-suite and standard facilities, and all self-catered.
The most expensive hall is nearly three miles away from the uni campus, although there is a free bus service and limited parking permits available to students. A fully catered hall with its' own gardens and a gym, TV rooms and music rooms, this is for the luxury lovers who don't mind paying out for a taxi home after a night out in Cardiff.
This is a womens' only hall, run by nuns! If that hasn't put you off, let me tell you that the facilities are excellent-with a library, common room and games room, these ladies are spoilt for choice! There is the choice of catered or self catered. Aberdare Hall was set up to promote womens education. I would have moved into there myself had I not been informed that all visitors must leave by 10:30 pm and men are not allowed in the building!
This is where I live! I chose it because there is a bathroom between every two rooms, and it is right next to the Humanities building. The rooms are a reasonable size and security is good. Any faults have been fixed promptly (aside from the fridge breaking, causing all the food to go off!) For a flat of four girls, we have a HUGE kitchen with a microwave, cooker, large fridge and a chest freezer. My sister was very impressed as when she lived in halls, she shared with 12 others and had very little space.
The furnishings in the room are simple and practical-a wardrobe, a table and chair, shelves and each room has a sink and a full length mirror. The bathroom has a bath *and* an excellent powerful shower, which is always hot. The bad thing about sharing a bathroom is being able to hear everything that your bathroom buddy is doing! When mine had her boyfriend to stay, there were all kinds of strange noises and splashes coming from the bathroom-very off putting for my studying!
In Colum Road, there are a few parking permits available for £88 a year, but parking after 6 pm and at weekends is free (perfect for visiting boyfriends and family). We have a security office at the entrance to our halls; in my experience 9 out of 10 of the security officers are a good laugh and really helpful.
Now onto the bad stuff..the fire alarms! There is an alarm in every bedroom and the alarm has gone off over 10 times in the night, apparently due to a system fault. Very unsettling and annoying. Next, the brochure said nothing about the noise! For the first two months of living there, there was building works every day from 8 am till 5 pm making it feel like we were living on a building site!
We are supposed to keep our own rooms and bathrooms clean and tidy although once a week we have a cleaner who does the corridors and mops the kitchen. When we first arrived in halls there was a large toblerone in each room "from the domestic assistants" which was a really nice welcome gesture, especially for chocoholics, so thanks!
There are quite a lot of rules about the bedrooms, such as no candles permitted, no smoking (unless in communal areas and everyone has agreed and signed a form), no posters except on the notice board and no extension plugs, to name a few! All the rules make sense though so I don't mind keeping to them.
It's great living so close to both the university and the city centre-since I have been in Cardiff I have not needed to use any public transport, saving me much needed money. The area of Cathays where the hall is located is not great-mostly populated by students, it can be noisy and a bit grubby, but it'll do. Wednesday mornings (rubbish day) are the worst, as the bin bags fester in the gutter waiting for the bin-men (sorry, the waste disposal officers) to come.
I have a network point in my bedroom and most of the halls have a selected number of bedrooms with a network point. For the sum of £80 a year (well, 9 months) I can have unlimited, quick internet access. Vital for writing all those DooYoo ops, and researching for essays and seminar presentations. I have a friend at Hull uni who has the same facility for only £30 a year! Seeing as the students tuition fees help to pay for the internet access around the university in libraries and computer rooms, the people who have the net in their bedrooms should get a better deal in my opinion. It is not a great service, to be honest, as the connection often drops and comes back on. The convenience of having it in my bedroom though makes up for that.
Each Hall of Residence has an office and officers whose job it is to look after the students welfare and deal with any problems. We have had a long survey to fill in about the standards, and also had a meeting where they bribed us with free muffins and a raffle, and asked for our suggestions.
One morning though, we were woken by a residence officer shouting at us to "clean our cesspit of a kitchen up"! Talk about treating us like kids. My other gripe about the residence office is when they "mislaid" the recorded delivery of my passport which I needed to open a bank account. Okay, they found it the next day, but that's besides the point.
All payment for accommodation must be made in three instalments (one per term) preferably by direct debit. If payment is late, you have to pay 5% extra, which seems fair enough. As long as you fill all the forms in properly and have the appropriate money in your account, there should be no problems with payment.
There are a number of other halls that I have not written about as I did not want to babble on forever. There are smaller halls, and halls reserved for post graduate students; if you want more information look at the Cardiff University website- www.cf.ac.uk
For any other information on the halls of residence at Cardiff University, here is the web address:
Cardiff university offers a lot of choice in accommodation-from catered, to self catered, to womens only, to a hall with its' own bar-something for everyone. The prices aren't great, but they are comparable with other similar universities. On the whole, the halls are modern, clean and well serviced.