July 17, 2019, by Alina

Adjusting to life in a city

A quick note from UoN: this blog was written in a time before COVID 19 but we think it’s something that will help you in your student life, We hope that you enjoy the blog but please be aware that social distancing measures may change some of the things you read about here.  

Having moved to Nottingham from a small village near Newcastle, I enjoyed the first few years of my University life in halls and then in the wholesome community of Dunkirk. I didn’t find these moves too difficult as I was still close enough to the city to be able to wander and explore it whenever I felt like it whilst also remaining close to the safe student bubble of campus.

But, in my final year this all changed! I found myself living right at the top of Lenton, a stone throw away from the city centre. This small move towards the city ended up changing my whole University experience (and not just because of the additional 25 minute walk to campus) because I found myself heading into the city almost daily rather than solely on the weekends.

It made me realise that had I not settled so well in Halls, and then Dunkirk, then I would have found moving straight to the city waaaaaay to overwhelming. That’s why I’ve put together a list of a few things to look out for (both good and bad) when adjusting to life in a city.


Studio shot of a young woman using a megaphone against a turquoise background

Living right next to a road which heads into the city centre is, unsurprisingly, very noisy. Although I managed to adjust to the endless humming of the cars after a month or two, I still struggled to adjust to the endless shouting and laughing from groups of people heading in/out for an exciting night out in town. Although, it’s worth mentioning that this doesn’t phase me anymore because I choose to eavesdrop on these ridiculous conversations as they can often provide a form of light evening entertainment. 🙂

If you know that you’re going to be living next to a busy road where this is likely to happen, then try to ease yourself in by not going to sleep in a silent environment, but rather leaving your phone on to play music, or leaving the TV on as some background noise. (Fun fact: everytime I head back to my family home in the village, I cannot sleep at all because it is simply too quiet and I can now only drift off with this background noise!)

Endless entertainment

The perks of living near a city centre are mostly that you don’t have to travel too far to get to all the fun and entertainment. This means that quite often your plans may be very spontaneous because you’ll soon find that there is always something to do – you just have to look for it! Nottingham has a fab music scene which often holds various music nights throughout the week. Keep an eye on places such as the Jamcafe (in Hockley) which hosts many chilled live music sessions and Tap ‘n’ Tumbler for live rock music acts if you’re up for something a bit heavier. If you are unsure about where to go, look at reviews on Trip Advisor or, better still, go for a long daytime wander to see that everything that Nottingham has to offer!


Restaurant bill for coffee, credit card and blank smartphone on wooden table, paying for lunch at cafe, copy spaceOne thing I have learned from living in the city is that the key downfall to efficiency is cost. The perks of being in the city mean that you can appreciate the 24/7 McDonalds for a bite to eat before finally head home at 3am however these evening shenanigans can all add up! I now make sure to always keep a spare frozen pizza at home handy for those nights when you really need it. As exciting as it is doing your food shop at 11pm (Kaya food centre is open 24/7 too), they will never be as cost efficient as Aldi or Lidl, so make sure to not get into the habit of always shopping at places which are round the corner from you – but instead, make the effort to walk a little bit longer and save yourself the £££.

New experiences

The key thing to know about adjusting to life in the city, is that it is a whole new world of opportunities and fun activities which you may have not had on your doorstep at home! So rather than comparing and complaining about minor details between your home town and the city (in my case, it’s complaining about being far from the beach for the first time in my life) adjust your perspective to noticing the new experiences which you haven’t previously had such close access to. For example, did you know that you can get a coach and ticket package to Thorpe Park from Nottingham? Or that you’re never too old to walk to Planet Bounce (indoor trampolining centre) with your pals? There are simply so many things to enjoy and experience,  so go out and explore to find your own hidden gems in your new home in Nottingham!

Posted in Alina