Can I bring my pet gerbil / giraffe / greyhound?
Unfortunately, all pets are banned in university halls. Guide dogs, are, however, allowed.
Can I bring my car / bike / motorbike / donkey?
How can I decorate my room?
- There are car parking spaces across Fallowfield Campus (and, I believe, Victoria Park, but none in City unless you have a blue badge). You have to pay for a parking permit, and I believe that's about £125 a year. However, most students have very little need for a car in Manchester – there's barely any parking on campus, and parking is a nightmare in the city centre. The only people I know who have cars and actually use them for something other than driving around South Manchester for fun (I kid you not) are those who have placement, those who play sport at a high level and have to travel to other cities for practice, and those who have to travel to sports competitions in other cities.
- There are bike sheds available across all campuses, for which you have to pay a £15 key deposit. Bikes really are the quickest way of travelling around Manchester, so if you have one, bring it.
- Motorbikes are pretty rare, but I've even seen one in the bike sheds, so they are allowed.
- Alas, there's not enough grazing to bring your donkey with you to halls, although I suppose you could tie it to the bike racks after you've ridden it into uni for lectures!
Blu-tack is officially banned, but in reality that rule is never enforced. There are poster sales at the beginning of the year in various locations (e.g. Owens Park in Fallowfield and outside the Students Union). Alternatively, you can buy them from somewhere like www.allposters.co.uk
and have them delivered. Fairy lights are also a good option, as they aren't banned either. Those wall stickers won't stick very well, however, as most halls just have painted breezeblock for walls rather than a smooth surface. Candles, incense sticks and halogen lights are, however, banned, because of the fire risk that they pose.
Am I allowed a mini-fridge / pressure cooker / George Foreman grill in halls?
I've never seen anything to suggest that they are banned, so it's a reasonable presumption that they are allowed. My flatmate had a mini-fridge in her room, and the uni didn't complain, but they're generally fairly lax about enforcing regulations in halls anyway.
The only things that really are banned are deep fat frying (with a £400 fine for violations!), halogen lights, candles and joss sticks.
Help, I don't know how to cook! What should I bring?
Firstly, try and get someone to teach you how to cook the basics – pasta, for instance. Don't be that person who is stood there asking how to cook pasta, or if sushi goes in the oven, or who sets fire to the flat on the second time they cook
). I've found that the Beyond Baked Beans
cookbooks (there are three – the original one, budget, and veggie (“green”)) are very useful in teaching people how to cook the basics, and more advanced stuff. In terms of kitchen equipment, the absolute basics are
- non-stick frying pan
- baking tray
- medium-large pyrex bowl (it doubles as a mixing bowl, and as a bowl to bake things like pasta bake)
- small sharp knife (and some way of sharpening it when it inevitably gets blunt)
- silicone spatula / wooden spoon
- plate (there's two schools of thought on this - get some cheap plain ones (Ikea has them for 40p) and accept that they are going to get lost / borrowed, or buy some in a funny colour so that yours are really recognisable, and people are less likely to wander off with them)
- cutlery - Ikea and Wilkinsons both do them for ~£1.50 for a set of 16
- tea towel(s)
- tupperware containers
- tin opener
Things that it will be beneficial for you to have include
- potato peeler
- potato masher (go for an all-metal one with small holes)
- cheese grater
- non-stick, flat-bottomed wok - it needs to be flat bottomed because all halls have electric rings, so traditional round-bottomed woks won't work.
- measuring spoons
- more than one saucepan / frying pan.
- a chopping board - although I always just use a plate
No kitchen equipment, other than a kettle, hobs, microwave, bin and ovens are provided in halls, but wait until you get to halls before you buy a toaster – otherwise you'll end up with 8 toasters in your flat.
Ikea is one of the best places to go for kitchen stuff - it's cheap and of fairly reliable quality, although their knives and potato peelers (and anything with a blade in general) aren't that great. Wilkinsons do some stuff (I'm rather a fan of their crockery at the moment!) but some of it isn't that great in terms of quality (the scales I had broke after 5 minutes).
What else should I bring?
- everything that you ever wear on a day-to-day basis
- any fancy dress you own
- winter clothes
- clothes suitable for black tie events - societies and halls usually hold balls at the end of the year, and sometimes at Christmas too
- any uniform for a part time job (e.g. black shirt and black trousers for a bar job) if you already have it
- sports kit, if you plan on doing sport at uni
- Shoes - suitable for the above situations
- Clothes hangers
- Rubber flip flops - to wear in the shower, in case it isn't quite as clean as you might like (you'd be surprised how comforting being half an inch off any grime is - it's an old backpacker trick and works wonders)
- Bedding. There is an option to buy a bedding pack from the university, which will be there when you arrive. However, if you want to buy your own then you will need to buy a fitted sheet, duvet cover, duvet, pillow and pillow case. Mattress protectors are provided. Don't spend too much, as when you move into a shared house for second year, chances are you will have a double bed, so you'll have to replace it all then anyway.
- Desk lamp (not halogen)
- Extension leads
- Laptop and associated gubbins. If you don't already have one, then you may be eligible for the Laptop Bursary scheme
- Things to decorate your room with - the eBay Home Decor section is a really good way to find cheap (but nice, and brand new) things like cushions. There's also a poster sale every year, with locations dotted around campus (last year those locations included Owens Park halls and outside the Students Union).
- Laundry basket - you will often have to go to a neighbouring building to wash your clothes.
- Bins are provided rather intermittently - some people get them, others don't. If you don't, then Sainsbury's sells white translucent basics ones for £1.50.
- Radio / iPod speakers
- Chargers for the above
- Alarm clock (if your phone isn't loud enough!)
- Toiletries - shampoo, shower gel, toothpaste, comb, razor etc. etc. (you know what you use, I don't) Toilet roll is provided in halls, unless you have an en suite, so there's no need to buy that.
- Hair dryer (and straighteners)
- Laundry basket
- Washing powder
- Stationery (NB wait until you start your course to buy textbooks, and consider what you really need, and what you can borrow from the library)
- Suitcase - for when you go home for the weekend
- A doorstop
- If you intend on having friends to stay, then take an airbed and pump. NB it will be used by all of your flatmates for their friends!
- A 'starter pack' of food (try and get your parents to fund this!) including pasta, sauce, milk, herbs and spices, butter, bread, and anything else you think you will eat. This is your golden opportunity to get your parents to fund the stockpiling of food! If you get them really well trained, then they'll give you food every time you return to uni after the holidays
- Bike - honestly the quickest and cheapest way to get around Manchester, even over distances of 5 miles+. It's pancake-flat which makes life a lot easier. If you are taking a bike, then remember that Manchester bike thieves are moderately sophisticated and so you will need a D-Lock (not a cable lock!). You'll also want a helmet and lights. If you plan on doing your shopping by bike (particularly relevant for those not in Fallowfield) then a set of panniers is a very good investment.
- ID (only a driving licence / passport will work for buying alcohol in Manchester; you'll also need photo ID if you plan on getting a job)
- Debit card
- National Insurance number
- Railcard - NB Natwest does a free one for pre-existing customers who switch to their student account
- First aid kit - because you are going to wake up with a hangover and a small injury sooner or later!
- Sewing kit - surprisingly useful. And yes, you should be able to do basic sewing by the age of 18, even if you'd rather be playing rugby.
In reality, the general rule of thumb is that if you aren't sure if you'll need something, then wait until you get to Manchester and buy it there if you find you do need it. You're not going to Antarctica, or even Aberystwyth - we do actually have shops here! Of course, if you already have it then bring it along anyway.