By Jordan Ebert Second year Engineering and Maths
We share a personal account from a student of what the Universities Newport accommodation is like and his experience of living in another country!
Following the limited space for students to live in and around Bristol, the University decided to purchase some space up in the Newport Student Village as a means of temporary student accommodation for those with nowhere to stay for the start of the academic year.
This year, I’ve had experience of living across the border, so I’ll break down everything from the lively spaces to the treacherous commute to help you understand the realities of being a Bristol student, living in Wales.
The Newport Student Village is a lovely place to live. With warm, cosy rooms, a well fitted, spacious kitchen and a central location, there’s much to love - especially with the partially subsidised costs. I was lucky enough to secure one of their ‘Gold’ standard ensuite rooms, with a double bed and enough space of an extended corner desk and a two-seat sofa, all for the comprehensive price of £92 per week.
The room itself is very big for the price and with high speed Wi-Fi and electric heating, it doesn’t take long to settle in. As someone who has had stints in both Orchard Heights and Unite House, and who has seen a fair share of other halls during my time in University owned accommodation, I can confirm that the Newport Student Village is easily one of the better fitted-out places to live. The kitchen is on par with that of the Bristol city centre residences, but definitely feels wider with the brightly coloured décor playing to its advantage.
The residence is relatively small, compared to some of the city centre halls in Bristol, but it has a homely feel with a very well fitted common room. Boasting a dedicated cinema room, gaming and karaoke areas and comfortable single seat sofas, there’s a lot of facilities for personal downtime or group hangouts around the halls, including a comparatively large smoking area if you’re into that.
While the residence has a car park within the grounds, most of the students park just opposite the halls in a semi accessible outdoor parking lot. Having free parking is definitely a positive of those who have a car, but the limited parking times of 10am to 11pm causes quite an issue when you’re explaining that you missed your 9am due to a locked gate.
Newport itself is very nice and clean, especially for someone coming from London. The people here are lively and the city centre is generally a nice place to be around, albeit it’s quite small. The city itself spans just over 70 square meters (which you can cover in about 20 minutes) but as a Bristol student, you’ll probably find yourself around the university campus for most of the day anyway given the commute.
The only real negative is the 35 mile commute into campus each morning. As I’ve already touched on my love/hate relationship with the car park, it’s worth noting that as compensation for having to live so far out, we’re given a free parking permit to be used in Stoke Bishop’s Wills Hall, where we are also given a free bus pass to go from Wills to campus.
The drive takes 40 minutes on a good day and up to 70 minutes if there’s any traffic or road closures, which is more of an accurate measure considering the times of the day you’re likely to be on the road. The train takes about an hour and a half as an alternative, or anywhere up to two and a half hours by bus if you’re not careful, making a car the only feasible option to get in for most mornings.
As the free bus pass, given by the University, only covers the standard uni buses in the city centre (U1, 3, 4, 9 and 72) you’ll have to pay yourself to get out of Newport and across the border into Bristol. Same applies via the train, where the cheapest ticket’s I’ve found are £8.40 for off-peak return tickets, otherwise you’re looking at £10+ per day unless you’re willing to miss your 9ams.
After having my car broken into and damaged, it’s proven rather difficult to get into Bristol each day without sufficient means of transit. Naturally, there’s no easy way to find other Bristol students around here without asking everyone I see individually, which has made for some interesting conversations here and there but little more.
Overall, the residence is good, especially for the price. The area is inviting but lacking in the nightlight aspect as the city seems to shut down at 6pm. The only overarching issue is the commute and apparent radio-silence from the mainland regarding transfers and additional help with transport and other related issues.
Featured Image: Epigram / Will Charley
Do you live in Newport and want to share your opinion? Get in touch!