How I solved my student housing nightmare

Morgane Souihed was scared about studying social policy in London, but things got even scarier when she saw where she was going to be living! Fortunately, she sorted everything out nice and quickly.

My decision to change course and start studying social policy took everyone, including myself, by surprise. While I had this irrepressible gut feeling that this is what I wanted to study, leaving the well-trodden path of medicine for a subject I had a problem defining was a scary decision.

Housing nightmare

The first house I moved into when I came to study in the UK changed all that.

It was a dank, cold (I cannot emphasize how cold it was), dirty place. The landlady obviously preyed on gullible international students, who couldn’t possibly view the house prior to moving in so they were forced to sign the shiny contract before realising they would be imprisoned for a year, or pay through their nose to move out. Studying social policy (i.e. the study of human welfare provision) really made a lot of sense for me then!

Studying social policy

Social policy has a long history in the UK. Theoretically it dates right back to just after the Second World War. It has put the country at the forefront of academic study of the subject.

Naturally, which university you study at will have considerable impact on your experience, but irrespective of where you choose to study, you will have the benefit of observing social policies playing out in British society through your every day interactions. Feeling ill? You’re experiencing social policy first-hand when you go to the NHS for treatment. Having housing problems? Your deposit protection scheme lets you experience social policies first-hand too.

My studies have thrilled me.

It’s easy to say “I want to change the world”, but far more fulfilling to study why it is difficult to change the world and the solutions. The good thing about a Master's level course is that a lot of the work is self-directed. So, not only do you get a grounding in core social policy theories, you actually get to explore how those theories work out in a real-life situation of your choice. It’s hard work. But totally worth it.

But then what happened?

I’ve since settled into the course quite well. I’ve also moved out of the clutches of the less-than-honest landlady – sometimes a luxurious student flat is the best choice, particularly when it’s just around the corner from my university in east London!

So, if you are a jaded medical student like I was, wondering when the dream of changing the world faded into one lecture rolling into another long lecture rolling into another long lecture, consider studying social policy.

You’ll never know until you try it!