What to expect: UCT Residences
Many of you will be sitting at home/school crazy nervous to move to a new city and into a res at the University of Cape Town. I was too. I had no idea what to expect, where to go, which res to choose and what to bring with me.
We’ve all been there, so I decided to write a summary of what you can expect moving into res at UCT. A blog post will follow with a summary of each of the different res’ at UCT, so that you know exactly what to expect.
First years; lower campus res’ are the best. They are right near the Jammie shuttle bus stop, which takes you to Upper Campus (where most of you will have your lectures). All the parties also usually start on Lower campus, so it makes getting to the party a million times easier. It’s also far more social on Lower, as most of the first tier res’ are right next to each other – making it super easy to see and make friends. I missed this in Forest Hill, which is about 1km+ from Lower.
Getting into res is tough. I got in at the last minute because some people didn’t arrive, but that isn’t guaranteed. If you are looking for student accommodation close to UCT so that you can still get the same experience, have a look on DigsConnect.com. DigsConnect.com is South Africa’s largest student accommodation marketplace.
DigsConnect.com also list PRIVATE RESIDENCES, which give you the res experience - off campus.
Some of the names to look out for are; CampusKey, Spes Bona, Villa Maria and MyDomain. They give you the exact same experience as the University Residences, but with added luxuries and privacy – which is a BIG WIN!
Now here's a rundown of what to expect from Res at UCT:
The three tiers:
This was without doubt the most confusing thing for me sitting in Kwazulu Natal trying to figure out the UCT res system.
It's not that bad. Most first years go into first tier residences. Usually second years are also put into first teir residences, and then you’ll usually need to move to a second tier residence. First tier residences are fully catered, and generally have really fantastic social activities so that its super easy to make friends.
Second tier residences are more geared towards older students, and have self-catering options. I was put into a second tier residence, Forest Hill, in my first year. It was fully catered, but I had a lot more freedom and flexibility than my friends in first tier residences. I had my own room, a shared kitchen and I could sneak in overnight guests.
All the residences have pretty strict access control though, which is obviously great for security. All the first tier residences also have common room facilities with a TV, which are great social spaces. Forest Hill has a swimming pool, which is also pretty epic.
What to bring to Res?
Res rooms are fully furnished. They have a bed, mattress, cupboard, desk, chair, bookcase, wastepaper bin, curtains and notice board.
You will need to bring your own bedding, a desk lamp, rug and then any cutlery and crockery. I had a really big room, so I went and bought a sleeper couch from Cash Crusaders for like R350, which was a huge win!
You’ll also need to bring a padlock for your door. I preferred a lock with a code, so that I didn’t loose my keys.
What about food?
The food is fine. It definitely isn’t going to win any awards, but I never had any major issues with it. Breakfast is great; cereal, bread, butter, tea and milk and then a hot breakfast option. Dinner is usually things like Chicken A la king, pies, pizza etc.
Lunch is wonderful. You get a ‘meal voucher’ which you can use anywhere on campus, meaning you won’t need to go back to res for lunch (though you can if you want to). What I loved about this was that you can use your voucher and chip in some extra cash to get a really great meal. When I was flush, I ate sushi. When I was broke I just got a toasted roll from ‘Budget rolls’ on Upper Campus which was within the meal voucher budget.
There are also vegetarian options for every meal.
The Jammie Shuttle
The Jammie is super easy to use, totally free and they go regularly! As soon as you find out which residence you are in, take a look at the Jammie shuttle map. Familiarize yourself with it; It makes traveling around Cape Town super duper easy.
There is NO parking for first years. You can’t park on campus. You can’t park at res.
Buuut, I had a car in first year. I parked on the street outside the gate of my Res, and drove around Cape Town. It was totally safe. I couldn’t park on campus though.
The res experience is unbeatable in first year.
You will make a ton of new friends from around South Africa and the world. You will also have millions of social activities in your residence and with other UCT residences, which are such fun.
But don’t despair if you don’t get into res – visit DigsConnect.com and find a catered private residence or a flat near campus so that you can join in on all the activities!