It’s a snow day in Glasgow! The ‘beast from the east’ has hit, classes are cancelled and the whole city is out enjoying the snow. It hit a tropical 10 degrees last week and now we’re back to 0, which I’m slightly peeved about, but it’s hard to look out at the flurries of snow falling from the sky and not stare in awe.
It’s been almost 2 months since I touched down in Glasgow and it’s safe to say I’ve absolutely fallen in love with this bustling and vibrant city. I’m living in the West End, known for its hipster vibes and being Glasgow’s cultural hub. The West End is full of students from UoG and there is a range of accommodation to choose from. For this semester, I’m staying at the Cairncross House hall of residence in the suburb of Finnieston, which I applied for through UoG. I would recommend staying in uni accommodation just to make the paperwork easier. However, there is some private student accommodation and even more student flats available, both in West End and the city centre. Glasgow is also a much cheaper city to live in than Auckland, and I find the rent in the city quite reasonable, especially considering the location.
Cairncross House is about a 15 to 20 minute walk away from the university. My daily walk takes me past the busy Argyle Street – with endless rows of restaurants and pubs that are bustling every night of the week – and through the leafy Kelvingrove Park, where you can get a stunning view of the university’s main building and maybe even spot a squirrel! I find that essentially everything I need is within 40 minutes walk. I thoroughly enjoy walking, so I make the most of it and keep public transport to a minimum (I’ve hit my target step count every single day this year so far!!). However, it’s convenient enough to catch a bus across town and there’s a bike renting system with stations all across the city. The only downside of where I live is that it is right in the middle of the subway loop; Glasgow’s subway/metro system is literally just a circle that goes both ways. It’s pretty inconvenient for me to catch the subway, but it makes for a great opportunity to do sub-crawls!
I have a single standard room at Cairncross House with all the essential furniture. I share a kitchen with 10 other girls – a mix of exchange students from Hong Kong and domestic/EU students from Scotland, England, Poland, Lithuania and Finland. Although Cairncross used to have a bigger mix of students, it’s becoming more popular for first years. I was pleasantly surprised by how spacious my room was; it came with almost everything I needed and a small window, which I’m currently watching the snowfall from. Everything I didn’t have, I got on a trip to IKEA. Admittedly, I also got multiple things that I didn’t need on that trip, too. Oops.
It does get messy in the kitchen and bathrooms at times which is probably what I dislike the most about living here, but I guess that’s one of the necessary evils of communal living. Cairncross also has a silent study room with computers, a common room with tables, couches and a TV – perfect for movie nights. There’s always organized activities on, such as movie nights, Pancake Day and board game nights. It’s a nice hall and my only reservations about it are that the showers are too small and the fire alarm test which forced us out of bed at 7am.
What I found most interesting about Glasgow’s student accommodation is that many of them are in flats, unlike Auckland uni’s halls. In places such as Murano Street, Kelvinhaugh Street and the student apartments in Hillhead, you can have 3, 5, 8 or 10 people sharing a flat, with about 4 to 6 flats in each building. It’s always a bit of a gamble going for these; I know some people whose flats are super close and go on trips together, but others have flatmates that barely talk to them!
I’m off to enjoy the snow in Kelvingrove! Hope everyone back home is having a good time at O Week!