The Maltings: UCB Halls Of Residence, Birmingham

University College Birmingham allowed me to move away from home to 'the Maltings Halls of Residence'. I'm no longer a fresher but I will never forget my first year away from home. Here's one part of student living, where the party never stops and the Student Union sells the best pint of Snakebite! Forgive me because it's been quite a journey since I first moved in! Oh my, B1 1SB!

Sat along the Birmingham canal is 'the Maltings' a purpose built halls of residence for the students who attend University College Birmingham, the city's newest university! I first moved to 'the Maltings' back in September 2010, I was more than ready to begin the first year of my BA Hons Hospitality and Tourism Management course. I won't lie I was petrified about moving away from home but knew that it was the step that I needed to take. Saying my goodbyes and taking a look around my study bedroom that had not long been unpacked I couldn't believe I had made it to uni! I had been talking to some other freshers over Facebook before the move in date before Freshers 2010 kicked off. I was out for something new, the time was right to discover Birmingham! Having my own space was key, independent life within 'the Maltings' had me feeling grown up! I had been wrapped in some serious cotton wool! I was ready!

The Maltings saw many things go on that first year, from the flat pre-drinking parties to the mother of all Halloween celebrations I was certain that life would never be the same again! 142 Davenport House became my new address, we knew it was where the cool kids lived! Teaming up with the Fresher lot we loved our pre-drinking sessions before we smashed the nightclubs of Broad Street. We very rarely made it back separated from a night out because the area around Granville Street had an edge back when I first moved to Birmingham! We were living for those week nights out and those quiet movie nights in because after lectures it was only right to be back at halls. Leaving the first year behind me I said my final farewells to Davenport House, it was onto a second 'Maltings' flat! Memories were made during that first semester, I would learn some valuable life lesson that semester! No shade, it was something that was good for me to experience. We all have to grow. OK!

Student accommodation has changed over the years, pictured to the right is my current room at 'the Maltings.' I'm living in Vulcan House during the final semester of my second year, this room happens to overlook the student union 'Bar One'. It's crazy because my placement means I'm technically on my third year but I'll leave that out for the moment! Aside from my bed I have a study desk which has plenty of storage for personal belongings such as DVD's, books and other items that won't fit in the kitchen. Keeping clothes organised is easy as you can see there is a good amount of draws and a wardrobe. The vast majority of the rooms at 'the Maltings' have their own en-suite bathroom complete with a shower, sink and toilet. When I think about how good I live for a student at this Birmingham halls of residence, it's like a hotel room! I will not be staying at Cambrian Halls ever, no shared facilities! Never, not going to happen!

Throughout the course of my time living at this closely connected halls of residence I have lived in three houses so far. Calling 142 Davenport House home during the first throws of my UCB experience, I learnt to cook basic meals and with my new friends I became a party animal for the first time! Let's just say that Halloween party confirmed something that I had been querying since I moved away to Birmingham, I got my life! After my Disney summer in 2011 I returned to 'the Maltings' for the first part of second year before jetting back off to America for my year long work placement, setting roots within Holder House this time I called flat 170704 my home. That time around I shared the flat with my classmates, Kelly and Hannah. Maltings life changed so much but I appreciated the difference, if I feel nostalgic from the first year I just drag my heels as I walk past Davenport House to think about those terrifying first moments, how much fun was waiting for me there! Get a grip!

Life can take us to many different places, I almost feel like things have gone full circle as I have now returned back to the 'Maltings'. I will be honest that this week has been so surreal! No matter what direction I go towards I will never forget my time spent at the 'Maltings! With my placement completed I needed a place to be whilst continuing with my second year post-placement, no 'Cambrian Halls' for me! I wasn't sharing a bathroom with anybody! You can guess which accommodation I decided to choose? With a stroke of luck I secured a room at the 'Maltings' this time around my room turned out to be 180107 Vulcan House, my post-placement residence. I won't lie to you, moving back to the 'Maltings' was a shock to the system! It didn't feel right, making my moves I go through that semester! Vulcan wasn't Davenport, time told me that change would be good for me! Going from a shared apartment back to halls was mad!

Thankfully, University College Birmingham allows its students to stay in the 'Maltings' for the entire duration of their course! Obviously, I chose to stay up until now and with the clock ticking before my final year I don't think I'll be looking for any other kind of student accommodation. All faults aside I feel safe and secure living at the 'Maltings' the location beats the competition in one shot! Located just over the road from the Mailbox and the main party hotspot of Broad Street is only a three minute walk away, it's a students paradise by any means. I head out to a different part of town when the sun goes down so its always good to know the security will be on hand through the night if anything goes wrong. So, Vulcan House is only for now, I wonder what final year house I will be having? I know that I won't be putting up with crazy business, if a future flatmate wants to relieve themselves in a juice carton in the shared kitchen, then things will go off! No hesitation, I'm serious!

Sharing a kitchen was an initial worry for me when I first moved in, I had never needed to cook before leaving home for university but that wasn't a problem, no I didn't always eat microwave meals but I did for a little bit. I was more worried about the cleanliness because it was all about the good times so after a pre-drinking session the kitchen would be in a sorry state, I made a point of locking away as much food as possible and would monitor what food was on my shelf in the fridge. Even though the semesters have passed me by since Freshers in 2010 I will always remember deep cleaning the kitchen in 140 Davenport House, it was in a sorry state so a whole bottle of double strength bleach was needed. I got mad when I moved back from America, my flatmate never washed her dishes so I became super critical of what wasn't clean! This semester has been interesting, let's just say the kitchen drama isn't over yet! No way!

It might only be a normal halls of residence on the borders of Birmingham city centre but it's got under my skin, I love it sometimes and bloody well hate it in the next breath but I wouldn't change living at 'the Maltings' for nothing! The Students Union isn't my hangout any more, those X-Factor Saturday nights have been and gone, we've moved on but I know that those memories will stay sweet to me. Nothing beats staying in bed all day in my study bedroom watching documentaries on YouTube with a fried cheese sandwich and too much other bad stuff. Pre-drinks have changed but its all good, I still get sozzled before hitting Birmingham's Gay Village at the weekends because weeknight student nights don't impress me much anymore! From that first pint of snakebite and the shenanigans of the rest I know that 'the Maltings' will always be a memorable place that I've lived in. Oh, that kitchen business will be sorted soon enough, that bad bug will be caught! Yes B!

A Home Away From Home? 

Joseph Harrison


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