Choosing your student accommodation is a huge part of your study abroad experience, and it’s not always easy to know what’s best for you. Whether you’re looking into a house share, halls or a homestay, London has plenty of options, each with their own pros and cons. If you’re struggling to choose between catered and self-catered, here are a few points that might help you come to a final decision. |
If you want to jump right in at the deep end when it comes to living away from home, self-catered accommodation is the way to do it. You will have full control of your food, including shopping for your own ingredients, preparing your own meals and choosing your mealtimes. If you’re looking for independence, this is the way forward.
Many students enjoy cooking for themselves as it gives them complete freedom. Unlike students in catered accommodation, you’ll be able to decide exactly when you want to eat – if that means breakfast time is at 11.30am, there’s nobody to stop you.
Doing your own food shop is also an exciting experience for new students – for the first time you’ll be able to decide precisely what you’ll be eating, whether you’re looking to impress your fellow flatmates with your culinary skills or you plan to stick to the same easy meal every night. It can also work out slightly cheaper to cook for yourself, as you can select the cheapest ingredients rather than paying a set fee in catered halls.
Students sometimes choose self-catered purely for the experience. Doing your own cooking is an important life skill after all. Preparing food and eating with fellow students is a great way to form friendships and learn skills that will last a lifetime.
With catered accommodation comes safety and security. While some catered options come in the form of special student halls, you may also wish to opt for a homestay. London is full of friendly homestay families, and staying with one means you will feel much more at home.
With these options, you can rest assured that you will be fed three times a day and will receive hearty, healthy meals. You won’t have to worry about supermarket shopping (which can be great for study abroad students as they are not often able to access some of their traditional foods from home). Plus, you can spend a lot more time socialising and getting to know your new friends if you choose a homestay. London is full of exciting attractions – go out and explore them instead of spending all your time in the kitchen!
No matter what you decide, your student experience in London is sure to be one to remember. Explore, make friends and find your feet in the city and there’s no doubt you’ll want to return again for another year of study.
Sophie Smith works as an independent consultant, specialising in offering advice on London student accommodation ranging from the Hall of Residence to an apartment to a homestay. London offers an unbeatable experience for international students, and Sophie has many suggestions to make sure that their time in the city is positive, safe and enjoyable.
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