Traditionally, student accommodation in Cambridge has been provided by the University colleges the students attend. In some cases, the students may move out during their second year, normally into shared accommodation such as a house or large flat: during the first and often third years, though, accommodation is based in halls of residence.
The layout of Cambridge’s halls of residence changes from college to college, though there are typical features. Clearly, each hall complex features bedrooms designed to accommodate single students – that is, students sleep one per room rather than in the dormitory fashion common among public school institutions.
Many halls of residence in Cambridge colleges also feature common rooms. These may be divided into two types. The first type, called a “study”, is normally the “property” (temporarily, of course) of a small group of students – traditionally this group has been as small as two, though one may also find studies shared between three, four or even five people.
The study has a dual purpose – as a kind of academic breakout room; and as a place where students traditionally receive visitors. Indeed, its name and its purpose seem to be somewhat at odds – a fact that becomes much more explicable when one looks at the roots of the word.
A small room shared between more than one student is called a study in boarding schools, where the dormitory layout of the bedrooms makes it impossible for any “study” to be done where a student sleeps. So separate study rooms are shared between students (usually, or traditionally at least, two per study) – and this is where the nomenclature derives from.
The second type of common room is much larger – a more informal space similar to the common room familiar to any state or public school sixth former. It may be allied with a kitchen complex – though in some Cambridge colleges, the catering is done by college staff and meals are served in a refectory or large dining room.
The colleges in Cambridge are of differing ages, and have different rules and traditions. These traditions have changed over the years – for example, St Catharine’s College used to accept only male students, but now takes both male and female scholars, something that is true of many Cambridge institutions.
Summer accommodation for students in Cambridge is a different matter. Outside of term time, it may be the case that students have no right to remain in their rooms: particularly if they are shifting from campus accommodation to live-out accommodation for a second year period.
In this case, it may be possible for the student to take up residence in his or her new digs early – dependent on the restrictions laid down by the rent and the landlord. Or it may be more practical for the student to move into temporary accommodation over the summer period – a furnished flat, for example, or a serviced let. The nature of student life makes it more likely that a renter in this case would require furnishings: services are not necessary, but may make life easier in the short term.
About Author: Emma Hamilton is a freelance content writer and writes articles on travel found accommodation in Cambridge.