A few useful pointers to help you get started, from getting settled down into Homerton to finding your way around the historic city of Cambridge!
Tip 1: Find your pigeon hole
Your pigeon hole is your personal college mail box (all students have one, even if they are living out of college). The pigeonholes are located on the ground floor corridor of Queens Wing (image on the left). When you arrive it will contain a copy of the MCR brochure containing useful information for new students, along with other publicity and university correspondence, such as your matriculation tickets. During term, post will be placed into your pigeonhole, but if it’s a package/parcel, it’ll be kept at the Porters’ Lodge and a green or yellow slip will be placed in your pigeonhole instead. This is to keep the package safe!
Tip 2: Visit the common room
While you are at your pigeon hole, why not visit the MCR common room (confusingly also called just “MCR”), located on the ground floor of Morley House. All MCR members should be able to access the side door of Morley House, and hence enter the MCR. This is the hub for graduate students living on and off college grounds and is always open for people to relax in and meet their fellow students. It contains a table football, TV and DVD player, along with a small kitchenette.
Tip 3: Freshers’ week events
Make sure you familiarise yourself with all the events happening during the first weeks of the year, traditionally refered to as Freshers’ weeks. Every year the MCR committee organises a wide variety of events to help you meet other new and existing students from Homerton and other colleges. We try and ensure there is a range of events to suit everyone, and recommend you attend as many as possible! Head over to the calendar to get a list of MCR events.
Note: Due to the fact that the PGCE course starts earlier than other courses, a separate early Freshers’ Week has been organised for PGCEs in mid-September. However all MCR memebers are welcome at the PGCE (mid-September) and the Graduate (October) Freshers’ Weeks
Tip 4: Getting around
The best way to get around Cambridge however is a bicycle! This will be evident from the moment you step into the city as you will be swamped by cyclists. However the city has a good local bus service which many students choose to use.
Homerton College is one of the furthest colleges from the city centre but it is very well connected by local bus services. The Uni4 is a bus service subsidised by the university for students (trip costs 90p) and stops right outside college. This bus route links up most of the University departments including Addembrookes, Sidgwick site, the University Library, Maths, West Cambridge (Physics, Computer Science, IMF, CAPE, etc) and also passes near the city centre. From the bus stop outside college you can also get City buses 1 and 7, providing regular links to the city centre and train station, although these cost around £2 for a single and £3.70 for a Day Rider.
Bus service is limited in the evening and usually stops all together around midnight. Most resident students at Homerton tend to use Taxis to go out or return in the evenings. A trip to the centre in the evening will cost around £7 – £8 but sharing with other students makes it an affordable way to travel, the larger taxis will take up to 7 people.
Walking is also quite easy in Cambridge given the compact nature of the city. It takes around half an hour to walk from Homerton to the city centre.
Tip 5: Where to eat and shop
The fist things most people look for when they arrive is somewhere to eat, followed by were to get things you might be missing. We have prepared a short guide here to help you get your bearings. The porters are very kind and helpful so go and ask them if you need any more help finding places.
Tip 6: Societies Fair
The University Societies Fair is a must for any new students! Put an hour or two aside and make your way down to the Kelsey Kerridge Sports Hall where all the university societies will have a stall. If you are interested in any sort of activity, from polo to sailing and even skydiving this is the place to find out about it. Not to mention all the freebies that you will get!
The fair takes place at Kelsey Kerridge Sports Centre in October. Consult the Freshers’ Guide for the relevant info for this year.
Tip 7: Maximise Student Discounts
The student unions at Cambridge University are part of the National Union of Students (NUS) and as such students are entitled to discounts at different shops and services. For this you will need to show your CUSU/NUS card which is free.
To get your free CUSU/NUS card come into the HUS office (on the ground floor of Queens wing) or visit the CUSU offices in town with a passport sized photo of yourself. More information on the CUSU card and other NUS cards available to you can be found here.
Oyster Photocard: Click here to register yourself for an Oyster card. This can be used on any of the London public transport services (tube, bus, tram etc). It gets you 30% off ticket prices – and this is worth it because travelling is expensive! It costs £10, but even over a year you’ll almost certainly save money if you visit London a few times.