I'm in Mardon - a few of my friends are Gap year students but I wouldn't say a whole lot of them are.
Go for Mardon if you like - I got a single room and it was my 2nd choice. Hope Hall en suite was my 1st choice but I'm glad I got to Mardon, not so far to walk to the campus centre!
I'd say the food's pretty good - in Mardon anyway.
They're meant to be knocking Birks down but apparantly the food is OK there as well.
Looks like Holland is glass fronted, it's really grown in size over the past few months, and it looks amazing.
My friend was originally in Nash Grove self catering, but within the first week she found it was very unsociable (partly to do with the type of people she'd been put in with as well) and she was desperate to move out. Luckily she got into a shared room in Mardon. If you want the ultimate social experience - go into catered halls. I'd say it's also a better way of meeting lots of new people. I'm leaving cooking for myself till next year.
Single rooms are definitely a bonus. This friend in particular fell out with her roomate and had to move rooms, so shared can be a problem. However, most of the shared students have had no problems, and some have been lucky to have ended up really good friends.
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