If we’re giving out awards for the best accommodation for your exchange, Broadgate Park at the University of Nottingham would definitely snag a few.
The one that Broadgate would win by a mile is the award for ‘Most International Students Crammed Together in One Building’.
Considering Broadgate Park is a collection of apartment buildings catering over 2,000 students, they took special care to put a fifty or so exchange students in the same place. Sometimes I have to remind myself I got on a plane to England and not the US, because I swear I am constantly surrounded by American accents.
Although it wasn’t what I expected when I moved in, it’s fantastic being surrounded by other exchange students. There’s parties everyone is invited to, group trips to places around the UK, and accents to take the piss out of (unfortunately that accent is mine 90% of the time, even the other New Zealander jumps on the bandwagon – et tu, Brute?).
There’s definitely a sense of community around the building, and especially within the flats themselves. Ours is the best (of course), named after the best Nickelodeon TV show of the 2000s:
Out of all the accommodation in Nottingham, I’d peg Broadgate for ‘Best Location’ as well!
While all the catered Halls of Residences are on the campus itself (so they get the awards for ‘Place where you can get out of bed the latest and still make it to class on time’), I still think Broadgate has a better location. It’s situated right next to the entrance to University Park (the main campus – where almost all of the exchange students have class), the bus stop into town is literally right outside, and it’s only a 10 minute walk from the nearest suburb called Beeston.
Beeston has shops, restaurants, cafes (esp. Greenhood which does the only coffee close to resembling NZ coffee since I arrived in this city), Tesco, two post offices; literally everything you could possibly need while you were on exchange.
To make things even better, if you’re a law student (like me!) your building is the closest to this entrance to campus – they have to give us some perks when we’re forced to learn the intricacies of European patent law at 5pm on a Thursday. The walk into uni is also gorgeous – University Park is such a green campus with trees everywhere, as well as so many daffodils at the moment because it’s spring! I can’t wait until summer when all the leaves on the trees come back because it’s going to be even more stunning!
The apartments themselves would win the award for ‘Bare but extremely functional’
There’s six rooms per apartment in our block, one bathroom (with separate shower and toilet cubicles), and a kitchen. The facilities are all up to scratch, and while all the furniture is included, there’s no kitchen supplies save for the literal bare necessities (fridge, freezer, microwave, kettle, toaster). Because we’re all international students with no space in our suitcases for crockery, it meant we had to buy it all. Luckily, Poundland and charity shops are close by and we were able to stock our kitchen on the cheap.
We’d also win the ‘Most Cramped Hangout Area’ award. We have no lounge in our apartments, so we’ve taken to either cramming around our dining table in the kitchen, or sitting in our corridor chatting. It’s not ideal, but it definitely makes us all closer! There’s also one main common room in the middle of the complex which we hang out in as well. My flatmate has just informed me there’s also a study room there too – I have yet to go, sorry Mum!
I was super impressed with the size of the bedrooms when I got here! Still a classic university accommodation sized room, but all the furniture is moveable so you can arrange it how you like. Plus, being an exchange student means having hardly any stuff to store, so the room is perfect. The wardrobe is also a really decent size and there’s space to store stuff under the bed.
Other amenities at Broadgate that are worth mentioning are the shop, the café, and the grocery cart. The shop is basically a dairy that has everything a student needs: chocolate, energy drinks, frozen pizza, tampons, alcohol, a cash machine, crisps, popcorn – for those days where you don’t want to go all the way to Tesco. It’s a life saver!
The café is next to the shop and serves coffee and hot food. I’ve only been once but it’s really lovely – definitely a good place to hang out, get a bit of work done, and grab a bite to eat! There’s also a fruit & vege cart that comes every Tuesday and Friday! It sells pretty much every fruit or vegetable you could want and at decent prices! Definitely easier than lugging it all back from Tesco.
I wish I could tell you guys that Broadgate is cheap but the reality is far from it. With the exchange rate, I paid over NZD$4,300 and that’s not including any food for the semester. Far from ideal, but it was the second cheapest option (although lots of the others are catered, so you get meals included). I don’t regret choosing self-catered though, because I lived at Halls in Auckland as a resident and an RA and am beyond sick of hall food.
Broadgate is a stellar place to live while you’re on exchange in Nottingham – I’d definitely recommend it! If you guys have any more questions about Broadgate or any other Nottingham accommodation (I’ve got some friends who live in catered halls and get info off them), let me know – I’m happy to answer any questions!
Hope everyone is making the most of that Kiwi summer!