Choosing which uni to go to can be a tiresome and daunting task. With 91 to choose from, where do you start? And what exactly do you look for?
For me, one of the first things I looked at, (other than the course and university reputation obviously), was the night life.
Because let’s face it, even if you don’t drink, at some point in your student life you are going to enter a club, or at the very least a pub.
I decided on Southampton Solent university even though that meant moving across the country.
Plenty of people move from north to south or vice versa each year for university.
But is there really much of a difference between student life in the north and south of England?
According to students past and present from both areas, there are. So what are they?
The top five brought to our attention were: Cost, personalities, weather, pastimes and dialect.
It’s not really a secret that the north of England is cheaper than the south, and as a student, you need pretty much every penny you can get.
- Housing: A cost survey done by the NUS and Unipol in 2013 showed that the average cost of student accommodation (i.e. halls) per week, was about £125.62 in the south of England as oppose to £110.79 in the north. The North West proved to be the cheapest at only £103.29 a week while in the south, London was unsurprisingly the most expensive at £135.70 pw. However, it was the East of England which came out the most costly at a whopping £143.57 per week, beating both the north and the south. I deeply sympathise with the wallets of those students in the east.
- Alcohol: Everyone in the north knows you can get a pint easily for around about £3.00 and even that seems expensive to us. Which is why I got the shock of my life when I walked into a pub in London, asked for a pint of the most average beer I could think of, Fosters, and got charged £4.50 for it! Obviously London prices are a bit extreme, but a survey by The Good Pub Guide in 2013 showed beer costs an average of 65p more in the south than in the north and prices have more than likely risen since then. For students in the north this is great news, however cheaper beer means a higher risk of alcohol related health problems and in February this year, it was revealed that twice as many drinkers from the North East are dying than 20 years ago. Have fun, but drink responsibly!
- Fuel: Although fuel prices have seemed to drop lately, there has always been a difference between northern and southern prices. However in October last year, the Telegraph reported that this time, it was the south which was cheaper with petrol prices in the north being 127.4p per litre and only 127.0p per litre in the south. It used to be that cheaper fuel prices up north meant it was more likely for students to own cars, however with prices in the south dropping this might change, but car insurance remains cheaper at the top end of the country.
You get the general idea, it may seem small, but there is a difference in the cost of living between the north and the south which can also affect things like food and the cost of bills.
This section is really down to opinion. Personally I’ve found people in the south to be extremely welcoming, fun and kind-hearted. But northerners and southerners don’t always get along due to there being a certain stigma attached to each person depending on where they’re from.
Generally speaking, northerners are seen as the more friendly. However their upfront and direct attitude paired with their sometimes self deprecating/’piss taking’ sense of humour, can be taken in the wrong way, particularly in the south.
Southerners are the more reserved, more ‘dignified’ English, or so some people think. However it is argued that they sometimes come across as ‘stuck-up’ and two-faced which is possibly why the north and the south can sometimes clash.
Wherever you’re from, student life is about mixing and meeting new people. As long as you’re willing to make the effort and perhaps join your course mates for a pint every now and then, students don’t really care where you’re from.
English weather in general doesn’t have a great reputation. We’re known for our damp drizzly days and lack of sunshine.
But over the past few years it seems our summers are heating up a little, particularly in the south. Whereas the north is known for its cold winters and non stop rain (or so it feels like when you live there).
Last year has been confirmed as the UK’s warmest year on record, but it was also the fourth wettest according to the Central England Temperature series.
Temperatures down south reached 32 degrees on 18th July, while the north saw showers and thunderstorms the next day.
There’s no better feeling than buying a disposable barbecue, a few beers and some burgers and going to the park for a make shift summer picnic with uni friends and it seems the south is definitely the better place to do this.
As a student, you often find yourself looking for anything to do other than your work. The question is, is there more to do down south, or up north?
Nightlife: This one’s tricky because most student cities have a fantastic nightlife but there are undoubtedly some better than others.
In the north, places like Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and of course Newcastle, which was ranked the number one destination for student nightlife in 2013, have a strong reputation for good nights out.
Further down the country, students suggested London, Sussex, Bristol and Brighton as their top destinations for student nightlife.
Midlands cities such as Nottingham and Birmingham also have good reputations.
Day Activities: Feedback from students suggested the south of England offered them more places to go and things to do during the day.
The main attraction of course being London, which with its vast amount of museums, parks, historical sites and other tourist attractions is a tough contender to beat.
The south also has some beautiful coast lines, places like Devon and Cornwall are top holiday destinations and with easy access to ferries to and from the Isle of Wight etc, there’s plenty to do and see.
There’s also things such as Stonehenge and the Eden project located in the south. With such easy access to water and beautiful forests, such as the New Forest, students are offered some great extra curricular activities such as horse riding, wake boarding, sailing and surfing.
But the north does have some beautiful sights itself. The Lake District is a well known tourist attraction and a great place to go camping, there are also many cities up north with historical sites such as Chester and York.
The age old question. What are these?? Barm cakes? Batches? Baps? Or simply bread rolls?
It can actually be quite amusing speaking with someone from a different region to you. You’d think speaking the same language and all you’d have no problem understanding each other but that’s not always the case. And it’s not necessarily just a difference between north and south, ‘scousers’ for example have different words to ‘yorkies’.
The different accents and dialects across England can cause confusion but mostly its just humorous.Where has the better accent though?
According to YouGov Uk it’s the south of England which has the most attractive accent with scousers and brummies scoring the lowest. Well, at least we have our cheap alcohol.
So which region has the better student life? It’s all down to personal preference.
The north although cheaper with a supposedly better nightlife has crap weather and little to do besides drinking.
The south has more of the sunshine and recreational activities, but you don’t get that friendly northern atmosphere and when you ask someone for chips cheese and gravy you get a look that implies you’ve just insulted their entire family.
North, south, there’s pro’s and con’s to each. The one thing we do know, is student life beats all!