- If you’re new to the area, ask for recommendations and go exploring. It’s not just about finding the nearest supermarket and library – you’ll want to find places you can enjoy going to in your free time as well. There will probably be some kind of daily or weekly magazine that will tell you what’s happening in your local area (along the lines of London’s ‘Time Out’ or Oxford’s ‘Daily Info’). This is a great way to find out about plays, markets, festivals, free workshops etc.
- If you’re returning to university, spend time revisiting some of your favourite places around town: parks, restaurants, shops and other local sights. It’s good to remind yourself that going back to university is not just about studying! I recently moved back to Oxford after a year in London and one of the first things I did was to walk all of my old routes through town, from college to my department to the local park. It’s always interesting to try and work out which shops have changed, who has painted their door red and what has stayed exactly the same.
Revisiting some of my favourite spots in Oxford...
The lovely University Church - you can climb up the top of the tower and look out over the city, or go to the Vaults & Gardens café which has some of the best food in Oxford.
Walking along the river - it took me about three years to discover that this path existed, but it was always the perfect place for some 'me time' on a Sunday morning.
The botanic gardens - perfect for summer picnics and autumn walks. You get free entry as a student so definitely something to make the most of!
Happy exploring, and I hope you're all beginning to settle in to life at university :) We'd love to hear about your favourite places - do you have any tips to share with new students at your university?
Next up: how to overcome homesickness.