As a new student, you will no doubt be starting to explore your new city and for existing students, now is also the time to get to know your uni city even better. Whatever your situation this year, be sure to get to familiarise yourself with your home inside and out and make the very most of these wonderful cities you now call home.
To begin I have a rather unimaginative trick; Google. It’s always a good idea to research a city online first and identify your main points of interest and then take a wander to check them out in person. Google Maps has become a fantastic resource over the years, especially for looking up what’s around you. Need the closest Aldi or Tesco? Google won’t just tell you where it is but it’ll also give you opening and closing times, tell you how busy it is and list customer reviews. Another resource is social media, both Twitter and Facebook allow you to search your town and see what’s currently going on (this can be useful to avoid going out to the pub if it’s just after a busy football match etc.). Remember to take your Unilife city map, given to you as part of your Welcome Pack, to find your way around and mark any local places of interest.
Of course, Google is great for spanning a large area, but it’s no comparison to local knowledge, so I’d also recommend speaking to someone at Unilife as they’ll be able to give you a quick rundown of the area, they’re always there to help. I remember upon first arriving in the city and after a 10 minute conversation with Frank (the best House Manager!) I found out where to find the closest supermarkets, the doctor’s surgery, the best places for lunch and the local taxi number. Another big plus for Unilife students is that if you’re a gym or coffee fan you’ll not need to travel far as these are two of the many facilities which are available for free as part of your rent! So, whether it’s to burn calories or get your morning caffeine boost, both are available to all Unilife students 24/7 within Unilife’s Middle Street building in Portsmouth, Park House building in Southampton or Sparkford House in Winchester. As their flagship buildings in both cities, they are definitely worth paying a visit and making use of everything on offer, plus many of their social events for each city take place here, so it is a great excuse to get to know the buildings – your Unilife key cards will give you access to each flagship building in your city.
My final piece of advice is to join societies – this can be a massive help to get to know both new people and new places. Many of the people you’ll meet will already know the area and will be able to give you a few pointers to find the best places and of course, the best student deals! Also, societies’ activities and events tend to take place around the city, giving you another opportunity to venture out and explore new places.
Hopefully, these tips provide you with a good starting point to get out and explore in your first few weeks of term. If you’re a returning student and already consider yourself a pro on the local area, why not share your local tips and recommendations with other students on Unilife’s Facebook and Twitter pages.