Moving to university can be stressful. Thankfully, Virginia didn't have to worry about her living situation thanks to the accommodation guarantee.

Law and International Relations student Virginia Sala began her uni journey during the strangest of times – in the middle of covid. Not only did she begin her degree in a lockdown, but she had moved to Canterbury from Milan in Italy.

Here, she shares her experience in student accommodation and the benefits of the accommodation guarantee for first year students at Canterbury Christ Church University.

Student accommodation guarantee – a relief

“Having guaranteed accommodation was very helpful, especially as an international student. It was amazing because I had the time to settle down without worrying about where I was going to live.

"When I arrived to the UK, I was very disoriented. I had such a culture shock. So, not having to worry about my living arrangements or worrying about paying bills was great.

"It also gave me the space to learn how to handle my finances before moving into private renting in my second year – I’m relieved that I had my entire first year to settle."

The good, the bad, and the messy

“I arrived here during the second lockdown. It was strange but also amazing because I met my best friends, who I ended up living with throughout my time in Canterbury.

"Living in student accommodation during lockdown was great because we had a huge garden where we could all meet safely. At home, my family lives in an apartment, so being in Canterbury with my own bathroom and a garden was heaven.

"But there are also downsides to student accommodation because you don’t get to choose who you live with, and some people can be so messy. Oh, the mess in the kitchen. I thought, God this is hell!

"But overall I’m glad I lived in student accommodation for my first year. I learned a lot about myself and a lot about this country. I then went into my second year with a lot more knowledge of what was happening around me. So, there are no regrets.”

Advice for future students

“First of all, don’t be afraid to ask questions. I didn’t know I could ask security questions, but when I started speaking to them, they were always willing to help.

"And secondly, don’t pack loads of books because you won’t have enough room. And you most probably won’t read them.

"Also, for international students specifically, my advice is to not be scared. It’s going to be strange at first, but it’ll be worth it in the end. Canterbury is a lovely place to live and CCCU is a wonderful university.”

Next stop – South Africa

Now that Virginia has officially graduated with a degree in Law and International Relations, her future plans look bright and exciting.

“I’m leaving for South Africa in October for an internship in Comparative Law. This is for five months, then I don’t really know what the next plan is. I’m just going to go with it.

"I know I want to work internationally, and I want to work in law and humanitarian crisis. I’m very excited!”


We’re so glad to hear of Virginia’s plans now that she is a CCCU graduate. And a huge thanks for sharing her experience in student accommodation.

Unlike many other universities, our first years don’t have to have the stress of finding somewhere to live. Our student accommodation is modern, spacious and clean. And, what’s better, is that all bills and Wi-Fi are included, so that’s one less thing to think about when moving to uni.

Not only can you benefit from our accommodation guarantee, but all students who live in uni accommodation can get full and unlimited access to the Sports Centre until 2024!

Whether you’re based in Canterbury or Medway, check out our accommodation options and read why student accommodation is the best option for your first year.