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By Simon Thompson
The long summer break means one thing for many students: HOLIDAY!! A popular choice is to go travelling round Europe, but the usual visits to Spain, France and Germany can get rather boring! Still, unsure of where to go? Well, as a self-confessed lover of Europe and visitor of cities that no one else has heard of (seriously, when I told someone I was going to Estonia, they replied “That’s in Spain, right?!”); I feel like I am qualified to share with you the top 10 alternative European cities to visit... some places I have visited; some places I am desperate to go to!


After many years of wanting to go to Bratislava, I finally went in February and it was amaaazing. When I first told people I had booked a trip there, reactions were “where’s that?!”, “ewww... why do you want to go there??” and “do you realise you’ll probably be murdered like in Hostel?”; but their ignorance only makes the city even better! Wandering round, you’ll realise you’re pretty much the only English people there, which means Slovakians love you. They’ll be dishing out complements and practising their English because they don’t really get the opportunity to. Another huge plus for Slovakia is how cheap everything is – my friend and I had a two course meal and cocktails every night for under €10!

If you’re wondering what to do in Bratislava, then don’t worry, there’s plenty of things going on. The old town is beautiful for walking round with lots of souvenir shops; and the architecture is stunning with castles and palaces seemingly everywhere! Bratislava’s zoo is a 20 minute bus ride away (and at €3 entry fee you can’t complain); and the amazing Aupark shopping centre (where my friend and I took refuge in for SEVEN AND A HALF HOURS after we got lost trying to find the zoo and ended up on a random Slovakian highway knee-deep in snow... but hey, that’s another story) which has loads of nice shops.

A major plus of a land-locked country is its proximity to other countries – a return train to Vienna costs €17 and gets you there in under an hour; and you can travel to Budapest and Prague in under four hours.

Maybe I’m going on about Bratislava a bit too much but believe me, it’s an amazing place that you have to go to! My top three eateries to visit are: Chocobon (similar to Hotel Chocolat with prices approximately 1/5 cost; the Slovak Pub whose speciality is soup in a loaf of bread, and Sky Bar – the most exclusive, expensive bar in all of Bratislava, with cocktails a mere €6!


OK, I confess, I’ve been here too! The biggest of the Baltic countries (more to come later) does not disappoint, with pretty cobblestone streets which all lead up to the top of the hill with impressive views over the city. The Hotel Viru, which stands by the Viru Keskus shopping centre; holds really insightful tours into life during communism – the hotel was built for foreigners, and every room was bugged with cameras. It’s shocking what went on, but it’s so interesting!

Other things to do in Tallinn include a visit to Kadriorg Park, where the original ‘Swan Lake’ is; a bus trip to Pirita (boasting a long, sandy beach) and ‘Kalev Marzipan Museum Room’; with marzipan sweets in the shape of swan’s, butterflies, cats... you name it, they’ve got it!


This is a place I’ve wanted to visit for years, and being located in Central-Eastern Europe, prices are pretty low (although there aren’t really any cheap flights there). Shop ‘til you drop on the bustling Knez Mihajlova, admire the beautiful architecture including the Crkva Svetog Marka (Serbian Orthodox church) and the St Sava Temple. For history buffs, a trip to the Museum of Yugloslav History is worthwhile; and to wind down after a hard day of sight-seeing; relax at the many cafe’s and restaurants that line the Danube. Just one thing: if you book a trip to Belgrade, make sure you get me a ticket too!


While purse-friendly Budapest is well-known for its spas (of which there are plenty), there are many other things to do here too! A very historical city, it hosts plenty of museums depicting what life was like years ago – particularly for Jewish Hungarians. For a truly heart-wrenching experience, visit the Shoes on the Danube – a war memorial to the Hungarian Jews shot and thrown into the Danube in 1944; I challenge you to visit and not have a tear in your eye!

The nightlife is good too – bars to visit (that don’t have the seedy stag-night crowds) include Kisuzem – cafe in the day, jazz bar at night – Szoda for dancing and Pezsego bar for pizzas and wine.


Gothenburg is Sweden’s second biggest city, and it’s one of my favourite places. Extremely clean and beautiful, as you’d probably expect; Göteborg (to the Swedes) has the largest harbour in Sweden, and a relaxing boat trip is seen as a normal way of getting to the different areas of the city. Nordstan shopping centre is worth a visit, full of Scandinavian brands such as Acne, Odd Molly and Lindex. Theme park Liseberg is a 10 minute drive from the city centre; with entry prices SEK395 (approximately £35). Ryanair flies daily to Gothenburg city airport, so keep a look-out. One trip to Gothenburg will have you exclaiming ‘Jag älskar Sverige’ over and over again!


The smallest of the Baltic States still has plenty going on – the Old Town does not disappoint with its breathtaking buildings, although be aware that Vilnius isn’t really a shopping destination. Unlike some other countries, rather than hiding their Soviet-era years; Vilnius really highlights and attempts to show what life was like back then. The KGB museum consists of a prison on the basement and many exhibitions; and Grūtas Park (otherwise known as ‘Stalin’s World’) located 80 miles South-West of Vilnius is one of the world’s strangest theme parks; where visitors step back in time to 1984 with the help of highly-convincing actors. Well worth a visit!


Another city on my list of places to go; Reykjavik has become more accessible to students due to EasyJet recently operating low-cost flights over there. Iceland is home to a mere 320,000 people; but offers many different experiences such as a swim in their Geothermal pools, like the Blue Lagoon (approximately a 40 minute drive from Reykjavik); the opportunity to see the Northern Lights and go whale watching. There truly is nowhere else quite like Iceland.


The third Baltic state (I’ve been there!); Riga may not have as much to offer as main rival Tallinn; but there is still plenty to keep you occupied. Stroll around the Old Town and admire the views from the top of St Peter’s church, and visit the Cat House (a historical building with a stone cat on the top) housing a nice bar. Riga is particularly nice in the summer, with plenty of outside cafes lining the many squares. If it’s a particularly warm day, catch the bus to the beach-resort Jūrmala, which is popular with locals and tourists alike.


I’ve been desperate to go to Kiev for years but unfortunately haven’t yet. It’s advisable to go to the Ukraine as a large group for safety reasons (not that it’s dangerous!) Visit the many churches, wander around the Pirogovo Open-Air museum, depicting life of rural Ukraine and visit the Chernobyl Museum for an eye-opening experience. If you want to make me really jealous, then you must do one of the things that is top of my to-do list, and that is: eat a kiev in Kiev.


Prague has become increasingly popular with British travellers, but its prices both to the country and living costs still remain low. Visit the many markets for authentic Czech goods (the best are Havelske Trziste and Prazska Trznice); admire the architecture and of course; experience the night-life! Great bars without a trace of stag-nights are Kaverna Slavia, Blues Skelp for cheap booze and Aloha Cocktail Bar – frequently known by locals as the best bar in Prague!

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At last the road map has finally been set out for the end of all the restrictions that we’ve been living under this past year. If you’ve not seen it already June 21st has been set as the date when all COVID_19 restrictions will be lifted. Howeve

Posted by Simon Thompson on 04/03/2021 11:36:09
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As all students know, throughout the semester you can become increasingly preoccupied with meeting all your deadlines, applying for jobs, volunteering, working, and socialising. You can be easily consumed with all your responsibilities and often forget to

Posted by Simon Thompson on 02/03/2021 17:41:31
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Groceries are the second-largest expense on the student spending list just after the rent. However, there are a few things which you can do to limit your food spending. Cooking on a budget doesn’t mean eating less or more boring. It’s the opposite! It’s al

Posted by Simon Thompson on 26/02/2021 13:04:36
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Moving to university is never an easy step, but students this year have had it worse than ever with two national lockdowns and many limiting restrictions. You might have found it difficult to meet people, stop feeling home-sick, or actualise your universit

Posted by Simon Thompson on 17/02/2021 13:31:01
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Staying motivated during the winter lockdown is a challenge for us all. Although lockdown is testing in any season, it’s easy to feel sluggish and like you’d rather sit on the sofa when the nights are drawing in at 5pm. You’ve probably had days when you ju

Posted by Simon Thompson on 11/02/2021 16:58:05
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The Government has recently announced a support package of £50 million for students who have been affected by the Covid 19 pandemic. This is an addition to the £20 million that was announced in December of 2020.

Students in difficulty <

Posted by Simon Thompson on 08/02/2021 17:34:14
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For many university students the January assignments have finally been submitted and semester one has come to an end. Whether you’ve already started your second semester, or whether you don’t start back again until next week, it’s always good to take some

Posted by Simon Thompson on 05/02/2021 13:35:32
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Health and wellbeing have been spotlight topics for the last few years, and rightly so! We are all aware of the importance of being kind to others, checking in our friends, and how it’s OK to ask for help if you need it! Our mental health and well-being ar

Posted by Simon Thompson on 22/01/2021 15:17:04
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Both in student and professional lives we lead one’s general success or lack thereof is often boiled down to a calculation of little victories and failures. We compare ourselves to our peers, we quantify our performance—be it through per cents on our essay

Posted by Simon Thompson on 08/01/2021 13:36:41
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If you’re a student on a budget, you probably already know that it’s a challenge to make your student loan stretch until the end of the semester – and that’s before you’ve considered Christmas. Perhaps you’ve saved some of your money during lockdown as you

Posted by Simon Thompson on 17/12/2020 14:43:32
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How to prepare for online exams

Exams are a daunting part of the university experience for any student. This year the introduction of online learning and assessments has left many students apprehensive for the upcoming examinat

Posted by Simon Thompson on 11/12/2020 09:27:36
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The long-awaited Christmas break is finally here. With the extra pressures on students this year, to adapt to online learning and to complete their assignments under the additional strain of the pandemic, many students will likely be looking forward to som

Posted by Simon Thompson on 04/12/2020 14:54:14
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Mental health…it’s a complicated topic. Knowing what it is is important, and how yours might change and what to do is useful for maintaining the happiest version of yourself. So what is mental health, how is it affected, and what can we do?

Mental h

Posted by Simon Thompson on 30/11/2020 15:47:32
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Carbon Neutral is a term we hear a lot these days. From UK pledges to be it, to companies telling us it’s what we should aim for. It seems such a large concept, achieved by mass effort towards a common goal, but what actually is it, and how can the single

Posted by Simon Thompson on 11/11/2020 15:04:41
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As the new academic term is underway, many students have moved away from home and relocated to embark on their studies at university. While you may feel that moving away to a new city is a big step outside of your comfort zone, it’s simply just the next chapt
Posted by Simon Thompson on 14/10/2020 22:29:29
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With most UK universities beginning their Autumn terms somewhere near the end of September, it’s time to start thinking about heading back to class. Over the summer break, it’s easy to get out of your old routines, and with the added factor of the coronavi

Posted by Simon Thompson on 24/09/2020 14:54:03
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The five best IQ student properties:

IQ student accommodations is a great place to find your next place whilst studying, but with so many flexible choices, it can be hard to work out what’s best for you! So which are the five best properties on

Posted by Simon Thompson on 24/09/2020 14:44:48
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Let’s face it: freshers’ is probably the moment you look forward to the most when it comes to starting university. After all the chore of packing your life away into boxes and swotting for exams, meeting new people and letting loose in pub crawls or club n

Posted by Simon Thompson on 15/09/2020 12:32:35
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Living with your family is often hard enough but going away to university is a whole new kettle of fish. You’ve more than likely never met the people you’re going to be living with, and there’s no guarantee that they’re going to be clean and tidy, and even

Posted by Simon Thompson on 07/09/2020 17:52:06
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As the new academic year draws nearer and nearer, both new and returning students are beginning to prepare for the return to university. Looking towards September, there are many things students can do to make sure that they’re ready to return. Whether you’re comin
Posted by Simon Thompson on 01/09/2020 12:16:28
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As many recent graduates begin to enter the job market, many individuals may find themselves facing the dauting prospect of an online interview. Due to the COVID_19 restrictions, and the surge of online video technologies, such as Zoom, many companies have

Posted by Simon Thompson on 19/08/2020 12:18:00
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Our research shows that some students think that finding accommodation is more stressful than finding a University place through clearing. Things are likely to be a little different this year, so here are our top tips for finding accommodation during clear

Posted by Simon Thompson on 11/08/2020 10:57:32
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This year Accommodation For Students are working with a number of leading student accommodation operators as part of our 2020 clearing campaign. Each partner provides high quality student accommodation and is working closely with our team to respond quickl

Posted by Simon Thompson on 06/08/2020 12:05:44
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Ugh bills. Do I want to check my bank account…nope I really don’t want to. Saving on bills is a proper issue, but I don’t want to save on my bills at the expense of the environment! So here’s a few ways you can do both!

If you’re

Posted by Simon Thompson on 03/08/2020 20:22:44
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For many students, the return to the pub has been long awaited. Three months after the initial lockdown began, Boris Johnson gave the go ahead for pubs and restaurants to re-open their doors to the public on 4 th July. This announcement marks the thir

Posted by Simon Thompson on 15/07/2020 17:36:57
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Bread? Check. Milk? Check. Drinks for club night? Check.

These are some of the typical items on a student weekly shopping list. Other popular features are cheese, pasta (can’t forget the pasta) mince, fruit and veg. Budgeting is something drilled into us

Posted by Simon Thompson on 13/07/2020 17:31:17
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The development of the coronavirus pandemic was as rapid as it was confusing: everyone thought it was an overreaction to a virus ‘less deadly than the flu’, but it managed to quickly mutate into a serious crisis that threatened our well-established student life. Du
Posted by Simon Thompson on 06/07/2020 10:27:44
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It is important to take some precautions when you are using Accommodation for Students, particularly if you are trying to book a room in a property without viewing it.

Accommodation for Students has been around since 2000 and during this time

Posted by Simon Thompson on 19/06/2020 11:41:39
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Over the past few months, the world has changed in ways previously unimaginable. With the job market taking a plunge, and uncertainty becoming all too familiar, many individuals are choosing to use their extra time indoors to enhance their CV and career prosp
Posted by Simon Thompson on 16/06/2020 22:17:15
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Universities, as independent institutions have complete governance over how they structure their courses and which platforms they use to deliver sessions. However, with the global pandemic changing the way society operates, universities must take decisions

Posted by Simon Thompson on 10/06/2020 11:31:35
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After the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic this March, many UK Universities underwent rapid contingency measures to swiftly convert teaching from the traditional face-to-face lecture style, to online or virtual platforms. While in March, this online co

Posted by Simon Thompson on 08/06/2020 10:58:16
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The unprecedented national outbreak of the coronavirus has changed the platforms for viewing accommodation. While, previously students were able to preview their potential accommodation choices at University open days, such large events, for the foreseeabl

Posted by Simon Thompson on 29/05/2020 16:23:01
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Since the national outbreak of the corona virus, many UK Universities have taken the decision to deliver the summer term online, encouraging students to leave campus and return home. When this was announced in March, many students and lecturers assumed tha

Posted by Simon Thompson on 22/05/2020 07:36:04
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Over the last few weeks Accommodation for Students has been taking feedback from students and the landlords that advertise properties on our website. It is clear that both students and landlords have been hit by the current crisis and in some cases are str

Posted by Simon Thompson on 07/05/2020 17:12:56
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AFS students recently shared their thoughts on who makes the best housemates and offered advice on how to get on living with others.

Hundreds of you completed the survey and the results showed that the most popular housemates are usually studying

Posted by Simon Thompson on 06/08/2019 11:42:56
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By Jordan Darlington

Is staying on trend more important than standing against morally corrupt branding?

Our recent survey found that despite more people valuing ‘design and popularity’ over ‘brand morals’, 75% of the respondents stated that they would

Posted by Simon Thompson on 18/03/2019 10:44:31
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What does the future hold for the holidaymakers and travellers of post-brexit Britain?

With yet another parliamentary rejection, we are no closer to finding out. All that can be said is that, at this point, it’s anyone’s guess. Will you be able to travel visa-free?

Posted by Simon Thompson on 14/03/2019 12:09:17
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The mere mention of the word vegan is often enough to make the vast majority of us roll our eyes in judgement (I know, I’ve done it too…) however, it can’t be denied that the term and lifestyle have become increasingly popular over the last few years. On Instagram alone, #vega

Posted by Simon Thompson on 20/02/2019 11:04:26
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When we hear the word ‘private’, we tend to think of things such as private education and the big price tag that often comes with it. However, fear not! This is a common misconception and far from the actual truth. Private Halls are usually a block (or blocks) of shared flats

Posted by Simon Thompson on 23/01/2019 12:08:25
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The age-old question that plagues every student and the answer is... There is no answer. Starting the search for accommodation is a personal experience and therefore different for everyone. Some students will find what they are looking for with relative ease and others will fe

Posted by Simon Thompson on 17/01/2019 14:47:34
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Student life is all about studying. At least that’s the sensible version. In reality, being a student means hard study, but also a darned good party.

That can be pretty expensive though, and if you’re a social animal then having fun with your mates isn’t

Posted by Simon Thompson on 29/10/2018 11:14:50
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For students who have made the unfortunate mistake of not packing a lunch from home before heading out the door to lectures, it can be tricky to find affordable yet still delicious food on the go.

There’s nothing more frustrating than spend

Posted by Simon Thompson on 11/10/2018 15:25:35
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By Elizabeth Whittingham

‘we must find the means to recruit the talent that exists within the breadth of the student body’

According to a study by the Independent, state school students, women, first generation graduat

Posted by Simon Thompson on 04/10/2018 10:55:39
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We thought we would run through the worst student house fails to date, in celebration of students starting the house search this October.

Don’t worry, whatever happens, it can’t be as bad as this! All tales sourced from the good old

Posted by Simon Thompson on 03/10/2018 16:15:02
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It’s that time of the year again, and everyone is at it: house hunting. We’re here to help you along the way.

You’ve organised a million and one viewings, and you can’t discern

Posted by Simon Thompson on 03/10/2018 14:58:30
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If you’ve just started your second year at university, then you’re probably all moved into your new student house by now.

As opposed to student halls, this time you’ve got yourself a brand new bedroom which will probably be much larger and much m

Posted by Simon Thompson on 03/10/2018 11:24:07
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Although the idea of organising a student house when you’ve only just moved into student halls may seem a little alarming, for some students, the sooner the house is sorted, the better.

If you’re finding yourself i

Posted by Simon Thompson on 02/10/2018 17:16:51
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When it comes to student halls, most people think of little shoe box sized, damp, cell like rooms where students can touch each wall by spreading their arms.

However, more and more universities are realising the staggering finan

Posted by Simon Thompson on 02/10/2018 15:21:35
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because going out takes a lot of effort

The time has come, you’ve moved into your second year of university, and you’re pretty sure that you’re ready for the year ahead. However, whilst you may think you’re a dab hand at the whole un

Posted by Simon Thompson on 02/10/2018 11:02:25
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If you’ve aced your CV, got through the interview process and have been accepted into a new graduate role, you’re probably waiting with baited breath for your first day at work to roll around to your doorstep.

Although the idea of a

Posted by Simon Thompson on 02/10/2018 10:33:44
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