Living away from campus

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As you may have guessed your placement year will most likely be spent living away from campus and although you’ll still have rent to manage and bills to pay like before, the experience may well feel a little different.

Different companies work in different ways. Some will provide you with accommodation either with other students or alone, whilst others will give you the contact details of the other placement students working at the company at the same time as you. Thus, leaving it up to you as to whether you choose to live with them or not.

As my company only has one placement chemist this made my accommodation arrangements a little more difficult. I was given the contact details of the other placement students who would be working in various other sectors of the company for the year but since they all started their placements at different times I decided it would be easier for me to find somewhere by myself.

The standard practice for my host company is to provide all of the students with accommodation (paid for by the company) for up to 6 weeks. This is done to allow time for you to locate your own accommodation after starting your placement. However, in my case I had already started looking at accommodation in my own time before my placement started so I had found my accommodation arranged in advance and therefore was able turn down the kind offer of accommodation from my host company.

Where you choose to live is really up to you, for me I didn’t really want to live in a city so I chose a small town around 20 minutes from where I work. Most people rent a house during their Year in Industry, but something to consider is whether the house is furnished or not. This might sound quite trivial but if you need to buy a table, chairs and various other pieces of furniture the cost soon ramps up! And you need to think about what you’re going to do with all that furniture after you’ve finished your placement because odds are you won’t be allowed to leave it in the house after you leave and even if you plan to take it with you, you’ll need to plan somewhere to store it all!

Before jumping head first into a contract it’s a good idea not only to research where it is you’re planning to live but also if you’re planning to live with other students I’d highly recommend meeting them first! Although the odds are that they’ll all be wonderful people and you’ll get on really well, it’s always best to know a little about the people you plan to spend the next year living with. That way you’ll avoid some of the awkward first meeting moments!

The next month is a really big one! The final report for my placement year is due so join me through late nights and frantic drafting (and redrafting) as I try to condense all of my project work into just 8,000 words!