Making the most of your Easter break at university

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Semester two can be busy and stressful at times. You may have had exams back in January, assignments to complete and the dreaded dissertations and end of year exams looming. So, with the Easter holidays just around the corner, a short break from university will be a welcome one. And whilst you probably can’t wait to put your feet up and stuff your face with chocolate eggs, there’s so much more you can be doing to make the most of your free time. Below are just some of the things you could do…

Revise
Ok, so it might not be the most exciting thing to do with your time off, but definitely one of the most important. With no lectures and classes to attend, you can start your revision with no distractions. Even if you don’t start revising properly, doing things such as organising your lecture notes, creating a study plan and downloading past exam papers will all be a good starting point to get ready for those upcoming exams.

Make memories
For many students, finishing university often means leaving your city of study and relocating elsewhere – whether it’s moving back to your home town, taking a gap year or moving to another city for work. So, if you’re in your final year and are getting ready to leave, it’s time to get out and embrace the city now. Have you seen all corners of the city and done everything you’ve wanted to do? Be a tourist for the day, do the sightseeing and learn the history. But don’t forget all the quirky little things too – row a boat on the lake, drink a cocktail from the poshest bar and eat a meal from the city’s most famous takeaway shop. After all, the city you went to uni in is a place you’ll probably remember for a very long time.

Get out and be active
Embracing your revision over the holidays is great, but it doesn’t mean you have to spend the whole day, every day of the holidays stuck inside revising. The Easter holidays also marks the start of Spring, which means lighter nights and (hopefully) warmer days too. So, whether it’s a gentle stroll into town, a run through the park or a bike ride around the city, step outside and enjoy the fresh Spring air. After exercising and some time out, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to tackle that revision when you return to your desk!

Volunteer
If you’ve got some free time over the holidays, why not spend some time volunteering? From working in the local charity shop or mentoring younger adults, to fundraising at university or helping out at the annual half marathon event in your city, there’s something for everyone and all interests. And besides the fact your helping others, there are a whole host of benefits you can gain from volunteering. Take a look at the Host blog for more.

Visit family and friends
Make the most of the extended break from university and take a trip home to visit your family. You might not have seen them since the Christmas holidays, so it’ll be great to catch up with them and of course enjoy a home cooked, hearty meal. Old school friends may also be back from university visiting their families, so it’ll be the perfect opportunity to all catch up, exchange uni stories and reminisce about the good times.

No matter what you have planned for the holidays, it’s important to take some time out and recharge your batteries ready for the final few weeks of term.

Starting university in London this September, or continuing with your studies in the city? Make yourself at home with our all-inclusive student accommodation at The Hub in London. For more information contact us on +44(0)20 3770 9120 or at thehub@host-students.com.  

 

6 things we hate about shared student accommodation

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Becoming a student often means living on your own for the first time. And, by living on your own I mean without your parents, but crammed into a shared house with 10 other people (and their hangers on’ers) all living independently for the first time. Finding yourself reliant on, well, yourself, can be a bit of a steep learning curve.

Now, you might be thinking that for the next three year’s life is going to be one long Friend’s episode. Beautiful apartment, wonderful friends, sitting around drinking coffee and sharing amazing times. Oh, with a bit of study chucked in for good measure. And, actually for those students living at The Hub you’re not far off. Our apartments are beautiful little oases of calm and tranquillity while our communal areas are clean and our onsite staff are only too happy to help.

However, if you speak to anyone who’s ever lived in shared student accommodation their experiences can be VERY different! Shared student accommodation is more a recipe for a special kind of human soup… kitchens breeding new types of mould, pulsating piles of washing and dubious sludge in the bathroom.

Here are SIX things that every student living in shared student accommodation will experience at one time or another (probably)…

Shared bathrooms
This is proper filth. Dirt like you’ve never experienced in your life. And it’s not just that, it’s human dirt. SHUDDER. Someone else’s hair – from goodness knows where WHY IS THERE SO MUCH – clogging up the plug hole, you attempt to clean it and its ON YOUR HAND…. You’d bleach it if there was any. Every person in the place has either forgotten how to flush a toilet or actually just use one properly. There’s never any toilet roll and it really does smell like someone has died in there. But who is going to clean it. Certainly not you… Oh and don’t leave any nice toiletries in there you’ll discover your roomies will put a plague of locusts to shame.

No boundaries
Just because you share the same house does not mean you can walk into my room whenever you like. That extends to ‘borrowing’ clothes, books, chargers.

Disappearing food
Just because the fridge is communal doesn’t mean the food is too. Write your name on it, only use your shelf… whatever, it’s all academic if someone comes in from the SU and NEEDS noodles/cheese/eggs/stale bread. If it’s in there its fair game.

Washing up Jenga
A pile of mould encrusted plates and cups so precariously balanced that the slightest breath will send a greasy, slimy avalanche across the kitchen.

The great wall of Beer cans in your living room
No it’s not art, it’s not even funny. Just put them in the bin, if you can find one that’s not overflowing…

Noise
All. The. Time.

Living in shared accommodation is no walk in the park but, for the students that make their University home at The Hub… well, they get all the good bits of student living and none of the bad. Each of our self-contained apartments has a fitted kitchen and en-suite bathroom. That means the food in the fridge stays in the fridge until you want it. The hair in the plughole is your hair – slightly less gross to clean out, and when you want some peace and quiet, you can have it.

To find out how you can join our thriving student community please contact us today on 020 3770 9120 to arrange a viewing.

What’s on in London this Easter

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The end of this term is a busy one. Everyone is working egg-strodinarily hard to get dissertations finished and handed in before getting on with some serious revision. In fact, you’re probably so busy working you won’t be going home for Easter. But WAIT…. don’t be sad, while we know you’ll be spending most of the break hitting the books you will need to take a break at some point. AND, good news is there are loads of really egg-cellent Easter-y things happening in London that you and your friends can enjoy.

So, if you thought you’d be spending your Easter break with your head in the books eating yourself into a chocolate coma.. think again. Grab some friends and hop on out (you know like Easter bunnies) into the beautiful spring sunshine and grab Easter in London by the (egg) basket – bunny ears optional.

Easter Egg hunts
You don’t have to be a child to enjoy a good egg hunt and there are LOADS going on in various museums and parks in London. We quite fancy the one at The Museum of Brands and Packaging on 25th-28th March 2016 to celebrate their new home, they’ve recently moved to swanky new premises in Notting Hill, where they are having an Easter Egg hunt along with a chance to handle some of the objects, watch some advertising screenings and just generally do some cool things that you wouldn’t normally be able to do – find out more here.

Chocolate Market at Duke of York Square
Easter Saturday 10am-4pm
It’s Easter you can’t NOT have chocolate and you can’t get much more chocolatey than this! Now in its third year the Chocolate Market is THE place for chocolate lovers to indulge their passion with some of the finest chocolate you’ll ever have the pleasure of putting in your mouth. If you’re going to do something you might as well do it right.

Did someone say… Easter P-A-R-T-Y
What’s that? You REALLY want to let your hair down over Easter… London will not disappoint.

Idris Elba, Big Dris to his friends, acclaimed DJ turned award winning actor – is there nothing this man can’t do? – makes a welcome return to the decks – he’s back on home ground and is playing Egg, (that’s not one of my terrible jokes). PLUS you don’t just Idris there’s a VERY special guest yet to be announced. This is definitely one NOT to miss – get your tickets here.

If you like your beats a bit more mellow Deadly Rhythm are taking over the Bussey Building for one serious Easter Party. Just £5 for advance tickets – £10 on the door, which is still PRETTY reasonable and WHAT’S more it’s literally 20 minutes from The Hub in Peckham. I’ll get the tickets, you book the Uber…!

Easter Sunday Lunch
It’s traditional in the UK for families to get together on Easter Sunday to enjoy a traditional roast lamb dinner. So, for the quintessentially British Easter experience – yes a roast in a Pub is VERY definitely quintessentially British – why not head over to The Vauxhall Griffin for one of the best roast dinners in the area? With the added bonus of when you’re weighed down with roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and pints of gravy it’s just a short roll away from home – and back to the books! There’s still studying to do you know!

The Hub provides egg-cellent student accommodation for international and domestic students. If you would like to speak to us or arrange a viewing of our egg-strodinary living spaces please contact us on 020 3770 9120.

5 University life hacks for savvy students

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Christmas, by now is a distant memory. So too are the ‘care packages’ – you know the box of food and ESSENTIALS, that your Mum wouldn’t let you leave home without – everything either, eaten, drunk or in the case of any cleaning products, stashed under the sink only to be used moments before your parents arrive for their next visit.

Here at The Hub we know balancing a full study schedule, looking after yourself AND finding time to socialise is not easy. We want to make sure that you are getting the most out of your time as a student so we’ve put together a list of our favourite so-simple-you-won’t-believe-you-didn’t-think-of-them-yourself life hacks for savvy students, like you. Tips to help you study smarter, eat better, live easier, clean quicker… generally WIN at being a student. You are welcome.

1 – Make better notes
Notes are an invaluable study tool. But, half an hour in and even YOU can’t read your own writing. So try this… imagine you’re writing notes for someone else to read. Hey presto, better notes = better studying.

2 –You deserve a treat
Studying can be a hard slog at the best of times so why not pop one of your favourite sweets in every couple of pages as a little reward? We aren’t suggesting you cram a Mars bar in between the pages of your text book as… well, you’ll never shut it. A couple of gummy bears are enough to give you a little sugar boost as you get some serious studying done.

3 – Never sleep through your alarm again
If you’ve pulled an all-nighter grabbing a power nap could be a dangerous idea. Before you know 30 minutes have turned into 3 hours and you’ve missed lectures, study groups… DISASTER. So, before you hit the pillow set the alarm on your phone, make sure that it’ll vibrate when it goes off and pop it into an EMPTY glass. The glass not only amplifies the sound of the alarm but the clattering against the glass is IMPOSSIBLE to sleep through. Try it!

4 – Too many clothes and not enough space?
As the saying goes tidy house, tidy mind. Tidy mind, better studying – OK we might have made that last bit up, but it makes sense right? So, if you’re struggling to squeeze your clothes in or just feel like you can’t find anything the KonMari method is exactly what you need. This Japanese method of folding your clothes will revolutionise your life. Say goodbye to jumbled drawers and hello to a beautifully organised, dare we say… better you. Watch founder Marie Kondo fold a perfect underwear drawer here.

5 – Mug cooking, it’s a thing!
Did you know you can cook a three course meal just with a couple of mugs and a microwave? You know, if you wanted to. From chocolate brownies to nutritious eggs mug cooking is your no fuss, speedy alternative to well, proper cooking. Also, VERY little washing up. Win. Win.

The Hub provides secure student accommodation in London. For more information please call us on +44 (0) 3770 9120 or book your viewing here.

Brain boosting food for Students

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I hate to break it to you but… ProPlus, vitamin C tablets and Red Bull is not a three course meal. Granted it is quite the pick-me-up but it’s not going to provide the fats and vitamins that you need to keep your brain and body healthy while you’re studying. PLUS you will crash. HARD. And it won’t be pretty!

If this is your first time away from home then feeding yourself may be new to you. And, with no one policing what you eat it is VERY tempting to just go crazy.  Especially if you’re an international student, it’s harder to find the things you know and love from home so chips/frites/fries/papas fritas/pommes/furaidopoteto always seem like a safe bet. But here are a few other healthy brain-boosting options that you might not have considered:

Oily FISH
This is Salmon, Sardines, Mackerel and they are STUFFED full of Omega 3 oils, the essential ingredient for a fully functioning brain. Which you’ll probably need. Sardines even come in a tin so no cooking required. Just whack them on some wholemeal toast and grill for a few minutes. You’ll have a REALLY healthy, filling snack that ticks the omega 3 and complex carbohydrates boxes.

Study SNACKS
If you’re going to be hitting the books for a good few hours, pulling an all dayer in the library, then it’s wise to take a snack. A rumbling tummy is VERY distracting. While a handful of Haribo will deliver a lovely sugary hit.… what goes up must come down. Instead take a bag of Almonds with you dried cranberries mixed in. The healthy fats you’ll find in the nuts combined with dried fruit will not only give you a sustained energy boost but satisfy that sweet craving too. (Keep a little bag of Haribo for when you’ve finished!). Also, protein rich Hummus and its friend the carrot stick make a really good, convenient snack!

EGGS
Packed full of protein and healthy fat which will  help sustain your energy levels, keeping you satisfied for longer. Versatile, quick and really hard to mess up a breakfast of Eggs is a breakfast of champions. You’ll be pleased to know you don’t need to be chugging down glasses of raw eggs Rocky style, scrambled is fine!

Fruit and VEGETABLES
Don’t groan… you know why you need to get them. The vitamins. Not only will they keep you ‘regular’ but fruit is full of healthy fructose that will stave off those sugar cravings and provide you with some much needed energy for all those last minute assignments and late night cramming!

You’ll definitely want to include some Spinach in your veggie draw. CHOCK full of brain boosting folic acid Spinach has even been known to reverse memory loss. If you don’t like the taste pop it in a smoothie with potassium rich bananas, super blueberries and mystical apples (OK we made that one up) but smoothies are a really easy way to get the nutrients you need in without you know, having to eat icky fruit and vegetables.

Look after yourself, have fun, work hard and enjoy yourself. And don’t just live on chips…!

Safety tips for the parents of international students

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As parents we worry, it’s just part of the job. We know we will, our children know we will and, secretly, they like it. Maybe. Now, as they get older its different things like cars, relationships and traveling half way across the world to study that keep us awake at night. Continue reading “Safety tips for the parents of international students”

6 IMPORTANT things every international student should know

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Starting University is equal parts exciting and terrifying…. then add in doing it in a completely different country and it becomes daunting to say the least. To make your transition to INTERNATIONAL STUDENT status just a little easier here are our 6 top tips…

1 – Visas and paperwork

You won’t be able to study without the relevant paperwork! You don’t want all the hard work that went into securing your university place to go to waste, and your local government authority will be happy to help you out.

Also, European students… in order to access free (or reduced) NHS healthcare you’ll need a European Health Insurance Card.

2 –Accommodation

London living is notoriously expensive so you’ll need ‘digs’ that not only meet your budget but offer you the security and comfort that is so important during those first few weeks and months. That’s why at The Hub we work hard to ensure your move is as straightforward as possible. Everything you need is here, PLUS reception is manned 24/7 so if you need anything there is always someone available to help you.

3 – Keeping in contact with home

You will be here for a long time so you need a cheap way of keeping in touch with your family… how else are you going to get your food-package orders in?

Email is great but you can’t beat face to face conversations (sometimes). So, as Wi-Fi is included as standard in every room at The Hub we have a feeling Skype will become your new best friend!

Create your account and, one for everyone you want to speak to BEFORE you leave. And, make sure everyone knows how to use it! You don’t want your first few calls to be endless rounds of ‘I can hear you can you hear me?’ ‘There’s sound and no picture’ ‘Is the video on…’ agghhhhhh….!

4 – Getting about

London’s public transport system is fantastic, buses, trains, tubes, the driverless DLR (you MUST try this out!) EVEN a cable car. To pay for your travel you will need an OYSTER CARD you can add weekly or monthly travel cards or pay-as-you-go – more information here.

Plan ahead: Last tube is around midnight, the first not until 5:30am! Black Cabs (Taxis) are notoriously expensive at that time of night or… you can get a night bus. Make sure you familiarise yourself with the routes as they are completely different to the buses that run during the day.  Also, we recommend giving Uber a go – it’s convenient, cheap, and you can share the taxi fare with friends.

5 – Working…!

London living COSTS so you might want to find a part time job. Before you apply for ANYTHING check out the rules and regulations here… you don’t want to get yourself in any trouble!

6 – Culture

You may find yourself having a few ‘it’s all the same but different, what have I done’ moments. Your lecturers may approach your subject slightly differently or you just don’t GET Marmite (many don’t) but give yourself a few short weeks and you’ll be fine. Don’t forget that it’s very strange for the students coming from the UK too.

But most of all… Study hard, enjoy the UK, have some FUN… and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

The Hub provides secure student accommodation in central London. For more information please call us on +44 (0) 3770 9120 or book your viewing here.

3 Fun things for students to do in Vauxhall

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Life at University isn’t all about knuckling down to hard work (ok, it is a little bit about that, but bear with us).  Sometimes, a break from your studies is required, and that’s when it comes in really handy to have the delights of London right on your student accommodation doorstep.

Vauxhall is a transport hub for London, with tubes, trains and buses that will get you into the main part of the City within minutes.  So, with that in mind, here are our top three things to do in Vauxhall when you want a little time off from your studies.

  1. Jump on the 87 bus, get off at Trafalgar Square and stroll up to Covent Garden, Leicester Square, or Soho for pubs and clubs. The N87 bus runs all night and will take you back to Vauxhall in no time.
  2. Can’t be hassled with London transport? Even closer to home is the delightful Brunswick House, Vauxhall’s most popular restaurant, café, art gallery antique emporium and creative hub (it really is all those things, we promise!).  For a quirky and relaxed afternoon/evening out, there really is nowhere better, and the gorgeous roof terrace lets you soak up the sun whilst gazing out over the Thames.
  3. Time for a bit of culture – so cross over the river via Vauxhall Bridge and step into the recently refurbished (at a cost of £45million!) Tate Britain. Admission is free, and you can spend days wondering around the multitude of galleries, exhibitions and café

There’s a whole lot more to Vauxhall than the above, of course, but we hope we’ve given you a little taste of inspiration for what your London student experience has to offer.