Big news today! First, I went to my biometrics appointment today for my visa. My glamorous (not!) headshot and fingerprints were taken by the very quiet Department of Homeland Security. They’ll crosscheck this against their records, Interpol, and the Scotland Yard to double check I am who I claim to (and am!) be.
Second big news is I put down a deposit on my housing for next year! After looking at options my school provides and searching for private flats/studios, I decided to do a mix of the two. I will be living on Marlborough Street in Newcastle at a student housing complex called Student Castle. Student castle is made up of 213 studios and 1 bedroom flats. It is located a short 9 minute walk from my campus, is close to the river area Quayside, and is in the city centre. It’s also close to two of the popular areas of the city, as well as the football (soccer) stadium.
Why Student Castle?I knew that next year I didn’t want to do a house share since I wouldn’t know any of my roommates in advance. As I’m getting older, I realize I like my own personal space and a level of cleanliness that others don’t always adhere to in the kitchen. Rather than leaving this up to the gods, I opted to live alone while I’m in the UK. At least for my first year. After comparing my options, I discovered I could rent a flat and pay utilities on top of it for more than the cost of where I am moving to in September. Kicker? Where I’m moving to includes ALL of my utilities including internet! Win! And this means I don’t have to set up water, gas, electric, internet, and cell phones upon my arrival. That task has been taken down into simply figuring out my cell phone (which I have made some progress on). Whew! I’ll also be closer to school and, this is a big one for me, around other students. While it may get noisy at times, there will be other students around for me to meet. The building houses both undergrads and postgraduates (masters level up) from all around the world. My program is pretty small, around 14-20 people, so meeting people outside of it is really smart. If potential friends are right next door to me, I’m hoping I won’t feel so alone on the other side of the ocean. Also this means I can avoid recreating the movie Taken. Haha, no, but seriously.
What’s your flat look like? So I’ve rented their studio in the style Tyne. It is a 20 meter square studio with wood laminate floors. I have a raised platform double bed with under bed cupboards, as well as a full length mirror, a small coat closet, and a wall of bookshelves. It features a galley kitchen with a mini fridge, sink, microwave, stovetop, sink., and cupboards The bathroom has a shower, toilet, sink, towel rack, and long mirror. There is also a wall desk/breakfast bar with two chairs, a window, and about the size of a twin size bed padded raised area to function as a sofa/lounge area/place for people to sleep if they visit me. It’s small, but it will be great for me! The building has a laundry room with washers and dryers (a rarity!), as well as a common room with tvs and billiards tables. I think it will be a fun place to live and meets my needs there. They also offer packs that I can purchase at a reasonable price prior to arrival that they will place in my room. These include a cleaning pack, bedding (duvet, 2 pillows, sheets), and a kitchen pack (pot, pan, knives, place setting for two, can opener, other various necessary utensils, etc…). I’ll probably be taking advantage of these to cut down on the things I will need to carry back from Ikea in Gateshead across the river. I won’t have a lot of belongings beyond what fits in my and my parents suitcases.
For your fun I’ve included a few pictures from their website and a link to check the place out if you’d like! I’ll admit it’s a bit lime green for my taste… but that can be fixed with posters, some fabric, and some 3m command strips!
All images from http://www.studentcastle.co.uk/newcastle-student-accommodation/overview/. Click the link to see more where I’ll be living!
Next tasks to tackle? Mailing my visa application in, planning my move from DC, and figuring out my UK cell phone.