Heading to Newcastle for your Studies? Here's everything you need to know



It was back in 2010 when I applied to study Creative Writing from Newcastle University, and was fortunate enough to be accepted. I had applied for several other universities and had got an invitation from most of them too, but I am lucky that I chose Newcastle. Not only does Newcastle University employ some of the best faculty in Creative Writing, it is also one of the best cities in the UK for students. There will be another post about what makes it good for students, but for now let us focus on what you can do to ease into your student life and make the most of it.

It was back in 2010 when I applied to study Creative Writing from Newcastle University, and was fortunate enough to be accepted. I had applied for several other universities and had got an invitation from most of them too, but I am lucky that I chose Newcastle. Not only does Newcastle University employ some of the best faculty in Creative Writing, it is also one of the best cities in the UK for students. There will be another post about what makes it good for students, but for now let us focus on what you can do to ease into your student life and make the most of it.

What to pack  Essentially this depends upon your priority. I have seen students pack everything from pressure cookers to shampoos and medicines. If you are selective about what you eat and feel that you cannot eat anything but Indian food, then I would suggest that you do pack a pressure cooker and a kadhai. However, if you are flexible about this, then don't worry too much. There are enough Indian and Pakistani stores where you can shop for Indian vegetables, spices, and even Indian Maggi. And you can also buy frying pans and other utensils. Moreover, many accommodations are furnished and you do get some utensils with the kitchen.


What to pack
Essentially this depends upon your priority. I have seen students pack everything from pressure cookers to shampoos and medicines. If you are selective about what you eat and feel that you cannot eat anything but Indian food, then I would suggest that you do pack a pressure cooker and a kadhai. However, if you are flexible about this, then don't worry too much. There are enough Indian and Pakistani stores where you can shop for Indian vegetables, spices, and even Indian Maggi. And you can also buy frying pans and other utensils. Moreover, many accommodations are furnished and you do get some utensils with the kitchen.


You get enough good quality cosmetics to keep you well maintained. As soon as you get to Newcastle, you should stock up on shampoos, moisturizers, and soaps. You can even buy waxing strips in the UK and really cool ones are available specifically for face wax. These aren't available here in India. However, you should keep a pair of tweezers in your check-in luggage before you leave India, because I don't remember seeing one in any of the supermarkets. But that may be because I wasn't looking for one. A visit to a salon in Newcastle will cost you a day worth of the salary that you may make while working part-time, so it should be reserved for very special occasions.

You get enough good quality cosmetics to keep you well maintained. As soon as you get to Newcastle, you should stock up on shampoos, moisturizers, and soaps. You can even buy waxing strips in the UK and really cool ones are available specifically for face wax. These aren't available here in India. However, you should keep a pair of tweezers in your check-in luggage before you leave India, because I don't remember seeing one in any of the supermarkets. But that may be because I wasn't looking for one. A visit to a salon in Newcastle will cost you a day worth of the salary that you may make while working part-time, so it should be reserved for very special occasions.

Contrary to popular belief, many medicines, such as crocin, are available over the counter. Rest of the medicines can be bought on doctor's prescription. Since NHS offers free consultation, getting a prescription will not be a problem. However, it is okay to pack a first-aid box.
Contrary to popular belief, many medicines, such as crocin, are available over the counter. Rest of the medicines can be bought on doctor's prescription. Since NHS offers free consultation, getting a prescription will not be a problem. However, it is okay to pack a first-aid box.

Do pack a lot of woolens. If you get there for October session, you will land there at a time when nights can get extremely cold. And if your accommodation does not provide it, buy a duvet as soon as you can. Trust me, you are going to need it. When we got there, the heating in our accommodation wasn't working, so we had to all huddle together and sleep.

Do pack a lot of woolens. If you get there for October session, you will land there at a time when nights can get extremely cold. And if your accommodation does not provide it, buy a duvet as soon as you can. Trust me, you are going to need it. When we got there, the heating in our accommodation wasn't working, so we had to all huddle together and sleep.

Where to stay  If possible, opt for university accommodation. It is clean and convenient. Moreover, you know where to head once you land. However, if that is too expensive or you are too late and everything is booked, you can make a temporary arrangement for 5-10 days in any homestay and search for an accommodation once you get there. I did this. I booked a hotel room for 5 days and then searched for an accommodation.

Where to stay
If possible, opt for university accommodation. It is clean and convenient. Moreover, you know where to head once you land. However, if that is too expensive or you are too late and everything is booked, you can make a temporary arrangement for 5-10 days in any homestay and search for an accommodation once you get there. I did this. I booked a hotel room for 5 days and then searched for an accommodation.

 I stayed in Fenham, which is where most Indian students stay. Accommodation here is cheap and there is a South Asian store at every turn. However, it is not a "nice" part of the city and petty crime is common here. I personally preferred Jesmond. It is clean and pretty and you will find students from all over the world, including India, staying here.

I stayed in Fenham, which is where most Indian students stay. Accommodation here is cheap and there is a South Asian store at every turn. However, it is not a "nice" part of the city and petty crime is common here. I personally preferred Jesmond. It is clean and pretty and you will find students from all over the world, including India, staying here.

Who to hang out with  You will hear different sets of advice from different people in this context. When I was about to leave, my councilor advised that one should try to hang out mostly with people from other countries. It broadens one's horizon and makes your stay more fulfilling. If I think about my situation when I landed in Newcastle, I felt completely lonely. I had never really been away from home and wasn't sure how to find a good accommodation.

Who to hang out with
You will hear different sets of advice from different people in this context. When I was about to leave, my councilor advised that one should try to hang out mostly with people from other countries. It broadens one's horizon and makes your stay more fulfilling. If I think about my situation when I landed in Newcastle, I felt completely lonely. I had never really been away from home and wasn't sure how to find a good accommodation.

I ended up taking up residence with a bunch of Indian Students. On the contrary, my class had only one Indian student apart from me. All of my close friends were from different parts of the world. At the end the combination of Indian flatmates and foreign classmates worked out really well for me. I enjoyed my time at home and roamed all over the UK with my college friends.


I ended up taking up residence with a bunch of Indian Students. On the contrary, my class had only one Indian student apart from me. All of my close friends were from different parts of the world. At the end the combination of Indian flatmates and foreign classmates worked out really well for me. I enjoyed my time at home and roamed all over the UK with my college friends.

The stay did help in expanding my horizons. I let go of several prejudices and hassles. I became much more flexible and accepting of other people's uniqueness.

The stay did help in expanding my horizons. I let go of several prejudices and hassles. I became much more flexible and accepting of other people's uniqueness.

How to make the most of your studies  Depending upon the course you have chosen, you will have different schedules. My flatmates, who were business students mostly, had multiple classes everyday. I, on the other hand, had more free time. That time was meant to be used to complete the huge amounts of homework we received in almost every class. Irrespective of the schedule, it is important to stay on the top of your classes and homework. Don't let it all pile up, because if you do this, you end up compromising on quality of your final submissions.

How to make the most of your studies


Depending upon the course you have chosen, you will have different schedules. My flatmates, who were business students mostly, had multiple classes everyday. I, on the other hand, had more free time. That time was meant to be used to complete the huge amounts of homework we received in almost every class. Irrespective of the schedule, it is important to stay on the top of your classes and homework. Don't let it all pile up, because if you do this, you end up compromising on quality of your final submissions.

 Apart from classes, Newcastle University also organizes various events that may be relevant to your course. Many of these may be paid. I attended several of these events, and my classmates attended very few. In the end, I realized that it is important to attend at least a few. You need to pick and choose carefully, because these events are expensive. I attended a talk by Kazuo Ishiguro and an interview with David Almond. Money that I spent on these events was definitely well spent.

 Apart from classes, Newcastle University also organizes various events that may be relevant to your course. Many of these may be paid. I attended several of these events, and my classmates attended very few. In the end, I realized that it is important to attend at least a few. You need to pick and choose carefully, because these events are expensive. I attended a talk by Kazuo Ishiguro and an interview with David Almond. Money that I spent on these events was definitely well spent.

How to have a holistic experience of Newcastle  Newcastle is a happening city. And if you do not explore it, you will miss out on some really crazy stuff. The nightlife here is great, especially in the summer. It is light till almost midnight, so you will not even feel that you are out late. There are some excellent pubs and bars to hang out in and meet some very interesting people. As long as you are with a bunch of friends you trust, do not hold back.

How to have a holistic experience of Newcastle
Newcastle is a happening city. And if you do not explore it, you will miss out on some really crazy stuff. The nightlife here is great, especially in the summer. It is light till almost midnight, so you will not even feel that you are out late. There are some excellent pubs and bars to hang out in and meet some very interesting people. As long as you are with a bunch of friends you trust, do not hold back.

The city has a fairly rich heritage that can be experienced on foot. Go to the Castle Keep, and walk the Quay. The bridges over Tyne are exquisite. Moreover, there are several pretty public parks that have ducks and swans and a variety of spring flowers. I was particularly fond of Leazes’ Park and used to walk through it every day on my way to the University. It was slightly longer route, but completely worth it.

The city has a fairly rich heritage that can be experienced on foot. Go to the Castle Keep, and walk the Quay. The bridges over Tyne are exquisite. Moreover, there are several pretty public parks that have ducks and swans and a variety of spring flowers. I was particularly fond of Leazes’ Park and used to walk through it every day on my way to the University. It was slightly longer route, but completely worth it.

Also stay tuned to the events happening across the city. All through the year, you will find something or the other happening here. There may be a literary festival that you can attend or a Broadway-style star-studded play. It was here in Newcastle that I presented my poetry for the very first time in a literary festival. It was an exciting, fulfilling experience.

Also stay tuned to the events happening across the city. All through the year, you will find something or the other happening here. There may be a literary festival that you can attend or a Broadway-style star-studded play. It was here in Newcastle that I presented my poetry for the very first time in a literary festival. It was an exciting, fulfilling experience.


And in order to be able to do all of the above and also fund my travel across the UK, I took up a part-time job. Being a software job, it was better paying than most other opportunities and my hours were flexible. I could choose to work once a week or thrice a week. It not only gave me the required money, but also gave me an opportunity to experience the work environment in the UK.

And in order to be able to do all of the above and also fund my travel across the UK, I took up a part-time job. Being a software job, it was better paying than most other opportunities and my hours were flexible. I could choose to work once a week or thrice a week. It not only gave me the required money, but also gave me an opportunity to experience the work environment in the UK.

How to be safe
While Newcastle is more-or-less safe, it is important to be aware of certain things in order to have a pleasant, incident-free stay. Cases of mugging are fairly common in areas such as Fenham, so make sure you move about in groups if you are out after dark. If you see a group of people standing at a location where it is possible for them to corner someone, it is better to turn back or take another route. Keep your doors and windows locked. Break-ins are rare, but if you leave your main door open, someone might just walk in a snatch your laptop or other objects of value. This happened to one of my friends.


How to be safe  While Newcastle is more-or-less safe, it is important to be aware of certain things in order to have a pleasant, incident-free stay. Cases of mugging are fairly common in areas such as Fenham, so make sure you move about in groups if you are out after dark. If you see a group of people standing at a location where it is possible for them to corner someone, it is better to turn back or take another route. Keep your doors and windows locked. Break-ins are rare, but if you leave your main door open, someone might just walk in a snatch your laptop or other objects of value. This happened to one of my friends.

Although incidents of racism are almost unheard of, it is best to lodge a complaint with the police if you are at the receiving end of it. They take such incidents very seriously.

If you are out bar-hopping with friends at night and you are late in coming back home, it is best to take a cab. If it isn't too late and the buses are still running, you can take a bus too, provided it drops you very close to your home. I took a bus back only once and it felt okay. Though I would still suggest everyone else to take a cab.
If you are out bar-hopping with friends at night and you are late in coming back home, it is best to take a cab. If it isn't too late and the buses are still running, you can take a bus too, provided it drops you very close to your home. I took a bus back only once and it felt okay. Though I would still suggest everyone else to take a cab.

Newcastle is a wonderful city and there is a lot to be explored in and around it. Take it on as an adventure and you are sure to find several hidden gems. I did, and I am very grateful for the time I spent here doing all those wonderful things, with all those wonderful people.

Newcastle is a wonderful city and there is a lot to be explored in and around it. Take it on as an adventure and you are sure to find several hidden gems. I did, and I am very grateful for the time I spent here doing all those wonderful things, with all those wonderful people.

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