I recently changed careers, from banking to journalism. This meant going from being a career woman to a mature postgraduate student. I packed up my 2,000-square-foot apartment in Qatar, flew 10 hours, travelled across two continents and moved into a 200-square-foot studio apartment in Wales. Needless to say, I was apprehensive about it all.
I first came across The Neighbourhood in an online search for student accommodation several months ago. At the time, I was going through the list of halls of residence recommended by my university, and I kept thinking to myself, “Can I really sleep on a mattress that hundreds of people have slept on before me? Must I share a kitchen with six other people? Do I only have one food cupboard? Do I have to wait for my turn to watch television?” I’m rather, for want of a better word, “finicky” about my living space. It comes with living alone and in comfort for so many years. I’m the kind of person who wants it all. Functionality, affordability and luxury.
Because I needed to shift my belongings from one country to another, and taking airline luggage allowances into consideration (nightmare), my checklist of what to bring, leave and buy needed to be that much more organised. That’s why The Neighbourhood immediately caught my attention. For starters, it was brand-spanking new – just what my accommodation doctor ordered. Linen and kitchen packs came with the studio I booked, which meant I could actually bring more of what I loved, rather than the boring essentials. And, thanks to the miracle of Google Maps, I discovered that The Neighbourhood didn’t even warrant a bus ride to my university or into town – it was that close! And when you have to catch an 8am bus in the pouring Welsh rain it’s all about location, location, location.
Thankfully, I wasn’t in for any nasty surprises when I arrived. Only pleasant ones. I got everything the brochure and website promised me. My studio is a chic, upscale, artisan dream. It’s wifi enabled, as is the building. It has five bespoke bookshelves, a study desk (which I double-up as a dresser), ample storage for all my winter clothes, an oven, a dishwasher (need to master the art of how to use it), a microwave and a fridge. I can watch smart TV from the comfort of my double bed. I don’t have to pay for laundry at a laundromat because there are free-to-use washing machines and dryers on every alternate floor of the building. They even change my linens once every two weeks (Mum, if you could see my neat bedroom right now you would be proud) – hell yeah!
Oh, and as I wind-up my first-of-its-kind blog post, my mind keeps fast-forwarding to what I should make for breakfast tomorrow. And it just dawned on me that all I need to do is go down to the foyer before 8.30am, because, my fellow students, breakfast is provided and that’s free too!
Welcome to my living space.