Hi! Aamina here, a MSc student studying Sports and Health Sciences on the St Luke’s Campus in Exeter and today I wanted to chat about accommodation at university. Figuring out my accommodation in Exeter was one of my biggest concerns. I’m very picky about cleanliness, smells, and noise. I’m used to having my own space and the thought of sharing my home with strangers and managing bills, cooking, and general housekeeping stuff – on top of studying – was a major source of anxiety for me.  

I looked at all options on and off campus before coming here. After making an extensive pros and cons list, I chose the University Halls, and I am so glad I did.  

Keep reading to understand why on-campus accommodation was the best decision for me, and to see if it can be a good option for you:  

Peace of mind

The process of booking a room was incredibly stress-free. Everything, from calculations of the total rent (all inclusive) to the duration of the contract in weeks, was clearly laid out on the application form. I simply had to tick the right boxes and move to the next step.   

Details of the amenities in and around different buildings and the layout of rooms were available on the website. I viewed the “virtual tours” of all the buildings, and it played a big role in creating my preference list of different on-campus halls.  

Green spaces around halls

Exeter is very green with amazing parks and footpaths surrounded by trees. But luckily, I don’t have to go far to enjoy the greenery because my on-campus accommodation building is surrounded by massive trees, lots of grass and many benches.  

Benches and green spaces around my flat- view from my kitchen

 I often go downstairs with my laptop to study in nature, especially when the sun is out. Or I just sit there for a few minutes with my tea for some screen-free time to watch the sunset or sunrise on days when the sky is clear.  

I have the best view from my bedroom window. Being surrounded by such beauty is great for my mood and mental health.  

View from my bedroom window

Everyone is welcoming and willing to help

As an international student coming to the UK for the first time, I had a lot of culture shocks. For example, tap water is safe to drink and many grocery stores close quite early (at least early for me) and don’t open on Sunday. 

But I never felt too lost in this new place because I always found someone from the accommodation team to help me out or answer my questions.  

Our reception team is super helpful and is an excellent point of contact for any questions I have about my room. I love that all my parcels go directly to reception because then I don’t have to worry about receiving them or rescheduling deliveries when I’m away.  

The Residence Life team checks up on us regularly to see if we’re settling in ok and helps signpost us to resources.  

We also occasionally get goody bags from the Student Guild with fun stuff such as card games, plants, snacks, dishwashing soap, and more.  

Goody bag from the Student Guild for our flat

Security and safety are unmatched

I feel safe knowing that Estate Patrol (campus security) is available 24/7 and is just a phone call away.  

That’s especially reassuring when I’m coming back home from the library after dark or on days I’m out early in the mornings when there aren’t many people around – especially during the short winter days when the sun rises late and sets before 5 pm.  

My building has multiple locked doors (3 to be exact before I reach my room) that only open with the key fobs of residents and designated university staff. So, I know that strangers can’t enter without a reason.   

My fob and lock on my door 

The university also conducts fire drills to help students understand exit routes in case of an emergency. I was impressed to see how caring the staff were when briefing us about fire safety and the importance of evacuating early.  

The paths around my accommodation are well-lit at night and has safe walking routes marked by green dots on the floor and lamppost signs. That ensures I can get from my building to classes, library, study spaces, and social spaces and back at any time of the day while feeling safe.   

Convenience – close to classes and shops

My list of pros of living on campus wouldn’t be complete without a mention of how easy it is to get to classes from my accommodation. I live in the Halls on St. Germans Road. The Business School is a 3 min walk, the Forum library is an 8 min walk, and the rest of the buildings aren’t too far either.  

The University Residential Halls are 20 min walk or 6 min car ride to the three train stations (Exeter Central, St. Davids, and St. James Park) and there are multiple bus stops at walking distances.  

And the best part? I can easily get food or grocery deliveries on campus for days when I’m too tired to cook or want to treat myself. I regularly walk to the city centre which is only 12 min away.  There are shops and cafes on campus as well for you to grab coffee, pizza, £2 meals, or just hang with friends.  

Interactions with fellow students

One of the biggest benefits of living in University Halls is that I can regularly interact with fellow students from different programs. We share our experiences, learn about each other’s courses, help each other focus and meet deadlines, and deal with the exam week together.  

The Resident Life team hosts various events for us such as baking, making art, watching movies, and other de-stressing activities. I can meet students there in a very informal environment, which is great for making friends and networking.   

Flexibility to choose the type of flat

My room is my sanctuary. So, I wanted a quiet, clean room with as much privacy as possible.  

I love that the University of Exeter offers different types of rooms to choose from, with various levels of private and shared spaces. This includes shared rooms with shared bathrooms, en-suite rooms with a private bathroom, shared kitchen and living spaces, and studio rooms with a private bathroom and kitchen.  

The shared kitchen in my flat is large enough for the six of us 

The University’s Streatham campus also has some rooms for couples.  

It allowed me to pick the option I was most comfortable with. I even got to choose if I wanted a female-only or mixed, alcohol-free or alcohol-friendly, quiet or regular, and undergraduate or postgraduate-only. You can also tell them if you have special needs that require specific adjustments to your room. 

This increased the chances of me being paired with flat mates who had similar preferences and had a lot of things in common. Although the University doesn’t guarantee that your accommodation will check every box that you want, they do try their best, and in my case, I got exactly what I had requested. 

That’s one of the reasons why I get along so well with my 5 flat mates and have become great friends with them in just a few months.   

Such options were not available in the private off-campus accommodations when I looked online.  

Clean flats and ideal for different personalities 

The University has rules and regulations for student behaviour, and we’re given a code of conduct for living in the halls 

It’s not as restrictive as it may sound.  

It creates a safe environment for all residents and covers topics such as drinking, having guests over, noise, music, and mess in rooms and shared spaces. We have staff members do cleaning checks to make sure our rooms are kept properly (they always inform us in advance), and a professional cleaner comes in weekly to clean the communal areas. 

It’s great to have these facilities because it allows me to focus on my studies and social life without added worries.   

Everything you need is available

Most University of Exeter Halls have a vacuum, iron and ironing board, and kettle. The kitchens have plenty of storage space and all the basic stuff you need to cook amazing meals.  

Not all private accommodations have that. And the ones that do, can be expensive.    

Quick maintenance for university accommodation is such a blessing. Our microwave stopped working last week and we had a new one within a few hours. I was having trouble with the radiator at the beginning of December, and I logged a complaint while in class. It was fixed by the time I came back to my room, and I slept like a baby that night, feeling all warm and toasty.  

Wrapping up 

University of Exeter accommodation is the perfect place to experience independent living without all the responsibilities. It has:  

  • Safe, locked buildings and campus Estate Patrol.  
  • Clean rooms well-suited for different student preferences.   
  • Many opportunities to interact with fellow students and develop friendships.  
  • Green spaces to de-stress and connect with nature.  
  • Necessities readily available at accommodation or from nearby shops.  
  • Close proximity to the city centre and classes.  
  • A convenient room booking process.  

I didn’t think university accommodation would be this convenient. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything or paying too much by choosing to live here.  

I hope you found this blog informative and that it helps you decide where to stay when you come to the University of Exeter!   

Writing this post made me realise just how much I’ll miss my room when I finish my course this year and move out!