Location really makes a difference in the experience of a student looking for a "home away from home." Not only do they want to feel comfortable and safe in their surroundings but today location and leisure seem to go hand-in-hand when selecting student accommodation yet affordability is essential.
As the saying goes: "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Factor this into the lifestyle of the average 20 - 25 year-old student, who socializes at bars and pubs at least three days per week and it is evident that students like to be entertained.
Participation in leisure activities is a must. Other popular student spots are the football stadium, the beach during the tsummer, the movies, aquatic and fun sports centres, museums and other places of interest.
In addition, a wide variety of food and shopping outlets is important to keep students busy. No more are women the "big spenders" but today just as many men are heavy shoppers, for instance when it comes to having a fine car and designers' clothing.
However, students often have a small budget. They tend to look for bargains or ways in which they could enjoy all these leisure activities without over spending - although some actually do. For this reason relatively close proximity to home is essential whether or not a student has a car.
So where are students selecting to live? In Sunderland a vast majority of students live in Roker Avenue, the city centre and Chester-le-Street. Of all the locations, Roker seems to be the most preferred.
According to Vern, a postgraduate student, "Roker is a very quiet place. It's within five minutes walking distance from the St. Peter's campus of the university. What I like best of all is that it's close to the metro station, football stadium and aquatic centre. There's the Roker beach and many attractions are in walking distance. Low-cost supermarkets and fast-food outlets are available. And for religious students, there's a pretty little Anglican church. It's perfect for easy access to and from the city and surrounding areas. The fact that it's close to the beautiful coast makes it one of the best places to live."
By comparison, the city centre is a very busy place. At the heart lies the Bridges shopping centre and students can find many local bars, restaurants and also fresh food markets. For those who prefer to walk to and from the university rather than take the metro, the city campus is only less than 10 minutes walk from the shopping centre, but it takes about 20-30 minutes to walk from there to and from the St. Peter's campus. Accommodation in the city centre is generally higher by at least 10% compared to Roker or Chester-le-Street, which is within the city.
Knowing this before-hand makes finding a suitable place to live and study a lot easier especially for international students. And for those offering places for rent, they too should be aware that the location and leisure combination is very important to many students.