Category Archives: Newcastle

The Student Channel, Newcastle

Nights Out for the Laid Back: A weekly Newcastle guide

This article will be of interest to you if you find that, although you are in one of the biggest party cities in the country, and you are still trying to find out why people can go out without wearing coats in the middle of winter, bright lights give you a headache and you think ‘mushroom’ is a stupid name for a club. Do you find yourself not knowing where to go every day of the week?

But fear not! Newcastle has plenty to offer you, there are clubs with a more laid back atmosphere. The two universities in a small-ish town guarantee that there is a vibrant musician atmosphere, with plenty putting on open-mic nights and random gigs.

Monday: Ice Skating!

The Centre for Life in the middle of town opens an outdoor ice skating ring in the winter. For a nominal fee, you can make a fool out of yourself in front of the people you want to impress the most.

Tuesday: Open Mic Night at the Trent

Exactly what it says on the tin: the open mic night at the trent runs every Tuesday and is usually packed with professional and amateur musicians. It’s a lovely atmosphere, and if you had gone there before and been scared by all the creepy doll pictures, you don’t have to worry anymore: they have replaced it with art you can (and would like to!) buy. The Trent is right next to Newcastle uni, so you won’t even have to walk that far. Awesome.

Wednesday: Eat at Eye on the Tyne

What? You need to eat, right? Although Eye on the Tyne isn’t super cheap, if you have a taste for good food you can probably enjoy the rustic platters which have amazing ham and bread. You haven’t lived until you have tried their stuff olives. Don’t like olives? You will. 

Thursday: Jazz Cafe

Yeah, go to the jazz cafe. Jazz is still cool, right? Smack in the middle of town, the Jazz cafe is an affordable pub with different entry fees. Call ahead and ask if you remember. It’s a cozy, intimidate atmosphere, with loads of beautiful calligraphy everywhere and a man with a great big white beard. Don’t worry, I hear he is good at jazz.

Weekend: Before you go to your normal clubs or whatever it is you people do on the weekends, consider going ghost hunting. Newcastle is a really, really old city, full of tortuous history which, if there are ghosts, is very conductive to them. There are a couple of companies around the area that do ghost hunting tours, but the best thing to do is sleep over at a haunted place. One of them even lets you stay over at the Castle Keep, and that place is dark as anything. Enjoy getting your soul taken in your sleep for under £20 per person!


Meeting people and making friends at university

The pressure during the first couple of weeks of uni to instantly make loads of friends can be intense. Freshers’ may be over, but that doesn’t mean your window for meeting people is closed. Think about it – how many people can make friends for life in a week? But if you’re struggling and not sure how to go about connecting with people, here are a few pointers from somebody who’s been there.

1)    Join a society

Even if you don’t have a hobby and even if you can’t see a society that you particularly want to be a part of! It’s free (usually) and a really easy way to meet new people. If you’re having trouble getting on with your flatmates or meeting people on your course, why not join several? You can always leave later, and still hang on to your new-found friends.

2)    Talk to people

Wherever and whenever possible, find a reason to strike up a conversation. A simple “hello” when passing someone you recognise in halls, “have you done the reading?” to the person next to you in a seminar, “what are you making?” to someone in your flat or shared kitchen… the possibilities are endless. Don’t wait for other people to come to you – if you seek out opportunities yourself you’ll make friends so much more easily. Or why not take advantage of Dutch courage and introduce yourself to the person next to you at the bar? In the first couple of weeks everyone is very open and friendly – the chances of embarrassment really are minimal.

3)    Keep your bedroom door open

It may seem obvious but wedging your door open during the first few days is the perfect zero-effort way to meet people. The super-confident types who are wandering around meeting people are bound to put their head round an open door – you’re essentially inviting people to come in and talk to you.

4)    Fake it ‘til you make it

It’s a well-known theory, and completely applicable here. If you’re naturally quite shy and reserved meeting people can seem like an uphill struggle. But university is a fresh start – no-one here knows that you’re not chatty, outgoing and oozing with confidence! So why not pretend? It might seem scary at first, but your fake confidence will help you make connections with people, which will boost your confidence, which will help you make even more connections, and hey presto! you’ve got yourself a nice group of mates.

5)    Use props

Taking along fun, interesting items is a great idea. Think shot glasses, shisha pipes, games, packs of cards, or even just a Frisbee. If you can propose activities that people want to be a part of, you’re already getting a headstart.

6)    Facebook

Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting that you add people you don’t know (although that would work too!). You can, however, use Facebook to your advantage. Met someone new and caught their name? Add them on Facebook. Noticed your flatmate is now friends with that girl you met in your first lecture? Add her as a friend too. It’s called social networking for a reason – it’s a great way of expanding your network of acquaintances and cultivating new relationships. If you’re really struggling to pluck up the courage to talk to people, why not reach out from behind the safety of your computer screen? Add a coursemate and message them about this week’s assignment. Comment on group photos with you in. Find out which events the people you know are going to, and go along with them. And all without leaving your bedroom.

7)    Eat with people

This is a really easy way to get talking to your flatmates or the other people on your corridor. Try to time your meals so that there are other people around cooking too, and eat at the table rather than taking your food back to your room. The same thing goes for catered halls – try to arrange to go down to dinner together instead of alone.

But most importantly of all, relax! Seriously. It might seem like you’re the last person on campus not to have made friends yet, or you might feel you’re stuck with a group of people you don’t feel very strongly about, but you’d be surprised how much things continue to change over the first couple of months or even the whole year. It’s not too late to reach out to people – remember that everybody is in the same boat, and other people are just as keen to meet you as you are them. How many times in your life will you be in a situation where thousands of people are actively trying to be your friend? Make the most of it.

Written by Lucy, Bristol.

And where should I eat?! For the Newcastle Foodie

So you are due to arrive in this North-East city within the next couple of weeks. You are all set: you already think you know the best spots to party and are looking forward to the heaving night life scene. But have you thought about food? Of course you have, what else do students think about?

Newcastle has all the normal fast food restaurants you need for your night out, along with a massive selection of chippies and take-outs. In the city centre, you have your KFC, McDonalds and Burger King, and then the more stereotypically Northern Greggs. If you want some, ehem, local food, you can always head down to Greggs and acquire a sausage roll for a little under a pound, always making it ideal for the student budget.

But what about when you fancy someone and want to impress them, or when your parents come to visit and they say they’ll take you out to a meal, wherever you want? You can’t just mutter ‘Greggs’ at them, can you?

Here is a handy guide for some of my favourite restaurants in Newcastle. It is a surprisingly multicultural city, with China Town at the centre of it, and places scattered around everywhere.

Paprika Tandoori – Indian Takeout – Gateshead

Paprika Tandoori is located about 15 minutes away from Newcastle by bus, on Old Durham Road. Although take-out and delivery are available, this is also a small, well-lit restaurant that has recently undergone refurbishment, and the prices are reasonable. But where Paprika shines is its food and customer service: always delicious and always willing to go the extra mile.

Nudo Japanese Food – Town Centre

Nudo is a Japanese restaurant in the middle of the town centre which serves sushi and other japanese plates. The food is reasonably priced, and the concept of the place inviting and relaxed: someone will keep coming to your table to get your sushi orders, or you can order a main if you are short on time. The food is very high quality and the servers friendly and helpful, as I can attest after looking at a bottle for about 30 seconds somebody came and explained what it actually was.

Da Mimmos – Italian – Town Centre

Also located in the town centre near the comedy club, this genuine Italian restaurants offers all sorts of Italian food, from risotto to pizza. It also has very good promotions on occasionally, from 3 courses for £10 pound, making it ideal for the broke student. It has a much posher interior than its atmosphere would let you to believe, but don’t let that intimidate you! Everyone is more than welcome.

The Charles Grey – Pub Food – Town Centre

The Charles Grey is the epitome of the town centre pub, situated up four flights of steps right next to the famous Newcastle monument. It is a great pub to go have a drink at, but they also do food, and it is surprisingly nice. Their opus magnum, however, is their home-made chips, which are only available during the weekdays. They also do student discount so it isn’t painful.

If you are already in Newcastle and have some more recommendations, please do not hesitate to leave them in the comments!

Newcastle for Nerds

Have your friends always teased you because you prefer to sip on white wine, wear tweed sweaters and are often partial to watching QI. Does this sound more appealing than going out to a club where everyone’s going to be all sweaty and touching each other?

Are you the type of person that would save your books over your fashionable shoes if there was a house fire? Oh, you have no fashionable shoes? Then this is the perfect post for you. Consider this a nerdy guide to Newcastle, where you can do nerdy things for fun – like play board games and talk about science. Here’s a helpful list with some attractions:

  • Adult only events are put on by the Centre for Life almost all year long. There is one which explores the science of fire  and an event called ‘What’s your poison?’. You get 5 cocktails when you buy the tickets for the latter one. You know, for science. Keep checking the website for more events, as they are constantly changing!
  • The Cumberland Arms, located in Byker near-ish to the Cloony has board games available to play while you have a drinkie. They also put acoustic nights on, and story telling nights, too. Again, it’s always changing, so go check out their website here.
  • Tyneside Cinema: If you are a more artsy nerdy type and into foreign, artsy and cult films, this is the place for you. They are an excellent student-y cinema, as well, since they occassionally put on free movie night. So you can just pop in! They also have slam-poetry session and other artsy stuff. And a coffee shop that doesn’t close until eleven o’clock at night. Best in Newcastle.
  • The Sage Gateshead: Although not technically in Newcastle, this slug like building has many offers for the more musically inclined nerd. If you are into Classical music then you are very much in luck! The Sage has several shows a day. But it’s not just that, it’s also the heart of folk music in the Northeast. Oh, and I guess if you are an architectural type, then you wouldn’t want to miss the building either.
  • The Lit and Phil society: Are you a book nerd? Do people look at you weird because you get a dreamy look in your eyes while you sniff a yellowed page deep? The Lit and Phil society is the place of your dreams. Lined with old books everywhere and old staircases, this is a totally fascinated place in which I – cough – I mean you – could spend all your time
Now these are not the only events and places like this in Newcastle. If you know of any please do share in the comments.
Posted by Lina, Newcastle Uni

My 20 top sights of Newcastle/University

My 20 top sights of Newcastle/University

(In no particular order)

  1. Mackams vs Geordies street riot – must see viewing (stand well back)
  2. One or more members of the ‘Geordie Shore’ cast lapping up the attention on a night out – a common sight in clubs across Newcastle
  3. The mid-morning line of taxis waiting for individuals taking ‘the ride of shame’ leaving various student halls across the city – those on a budget prefer ‘the walk of shame’ something I would not recommend
  4. The queue of students in banks across Newcastle begging for their overdrafts to be increased – usually busiest the week after freshers
  5. The sight of a 24hour Greggs on a drunken walk home – magical
  6. Students (usually hungover) struggling to run to a lecture late in the snow – you are guaranteed at least one fall during the winter
  7. The average sleeping student in a lecture – always definatly more fascinating than the lecture itself
  8. People lost in the metro centre – not hard to do as its bigger than your middling townPrepare to be confused
  9. The sight of your face the next morning after a heavy night in Newcastle – not pretty
  10. Random objects on the streets outside halls of residences – oranges, shoes, clothes… the list goes on
  11. Your parents arriving on a trip up to visit you armed with bags of food – usually after a good week of living off supernoodles
  12. The email from university to say your deadline has been extended – perfect timing
  13. The great fire of Byker – 19/05/11
  14. The amount of students in Primark the day of carnage – usually looking for a quick fix fancy and leaving disappointed
  15. The angel of the north when your arriving back for another term at Northumbria – welcome homeWelcoming sight
  16. The email confirming you have past first year – meaning so many more memories can be had in the second
  17. Your bank balance when your loan comes through each term – and then watching it slowly diminish the days following
  18. 4od, bbc iplayer or itv player – One thing that university gives you is sleepless nights
  19. Alcohol – clear, fizzy, cheap surprisingly you wont be sick of the sight of it by the end of the yearDrink, drink, drink, drunk
  20. The endless amount of leaflets, freebies, posters you will have collected by the end of the year – honestly you will fill bag after bag with this tat

What (and what not) to take to uni

Moving to university is a scary time and a brief Google search will throw up a huge amount of conflicting advice on what you ought to take with you. With this in mind, rather than an exhaustive list of absolutely everything you will need (and definitely won’t), this article aims to point out a few things that you might not have thought of when packing your bag.

The top 5 things I wish I had brought to uni:

1. Posters, photos and knick-knacks.

Anything that will personalise your room and make it feel more homely is a must! The more settled you feel in your own space, the more quickly you’ll settle into your new life. There’s no need to panic if your room is looking a little bare, though: most universities run a poster sale in freshers’ week.

2. Fancy dress.

Like it or not, you can bet that within your first ten days at uni you’ll need at least two different costumes! There’s no need to go overboard, but anything you have lying around which could make a good army, school disco, or cowboys and Indians costume is definitely worth throwing in your bag.

3. One of: a bottle opener, a tin opener, and a cheese grater.

These three are often overlooked in the pre-uni Ikea frenzy, and it’s not uncommon to arrive in halls and find that your kitchen has 25 plates, 10 saucepans, 2 toastie makers and no corkscrew.

4. Playing cards.

Essential for drinking games. If you can get waterproof ones, even better!

5. Tea towels.

With a good 6-10 people sharing a kitchen, you can never have too many tea towels – especially since no-one will ever volunteer to wash them.

And now, the things you really don’t need:

1. Everything you own.

Rooms in halls are generally very small, and there won’t be space for you to store all your childhood teddies/40 pairs of shoes/GCSE coursework. Remember that a term is only 10-12 weeks long – how much stuff do you really need?

2. Extra furniture.

Your room will have furniture in that is designed to make the best possible use of the limited space. Anything extra will only get in the way!

3. Your own kettle/toaster/fridge.

All of these are provided as standard by the university if you’re in self-catered halls (and sometimes even if you aren’t) – not only will they take up precious space in your room but they’ll waste energy too. Also, do you really want to be the flatmate who hides all their food in their room?

4. In the same vein, you really don’t need an egg poacher/deep fat fryer/blender/apple corer.

Chances are you only occasionally use these things at home, and they’ll just sit in a drawer gathering dust.

5. Your hamster/rabbit/fish.

Not only because pets are against the rules, but also because halls just aren’t a good place for animals to live – they’re cramped, noisy and dirty.

Whilst it’s important to be prepared in order to get the best out of your first weeks at uni, there’s no need to get overly stressed about it. Forgetting to bring a frying pan or your favourite poster is not going to have much of an effect on how well you settle in. So think carefully about what you want to pack, but most importantly relax and enjoy yourself – you’re about to embark on the best years of your life!

Written by Lucy, Bristol

The Problem with Summer

I think we can all agree that uni’s pretty hectic. It’s a crazy blur of essays, parties and cheap drinks. So when summer hits, and we’re presented with three stretching months of freedom, what do we do? Whilst the thought of so much time off is enough to strike fear into the hearts of students across the country, others seize the opportunity and make as many crazy plans as humanly possible. I, unfortunately, fall into the former category. Three months back in my ridiculously rural hometown is enough to turn anyone into a serial killer. That’s why this time last year I blew my the rest of my loan (and more) on two months in Australia.

It was actually surprising how effortlessly I blew £950 on flights alone, and hardly batted an eyelid when I forked out £120 for my visa (although I’m sure my overdraft did!). Looking back, it was a bit of a harebrained scheme…but oh-so worth it!

The plan was to fly over there, get a job on a vineyard, travel a bit and make every penny back. It was definitely easier said than done!

After a deliriously tiring twenty-three hours, I landed in Perth airport and checked into a hostel. The next day I got on a coach and within five hours I was in the wine region of Margaret River. It was here that the vineyard work began. What can I say about pruning? Perhaps it wasn’t the ideal choice of jobs for a chronic mirror-checking girly girl. It definitely took a while to adjust to the achey hands, makeup-less face and rude awakenings at 6am!

The good thing about seasonal work in Australia is that minimum wage is high. I was getting $18 an hour for essentially chopping at trees. You’re never going to make a killing pruning vines, but it’ll keep you going for a while at least (2 months in my case!).

After abandoning my short-lived pruning career, I travelled back to Perth with some friends that I’d met on my travels. A year later, I can still honestly say it was the best time of my life. The friends I made and the laughs I had there just can’t be matched.

Of course, coming back to England brought me back to earth with a bump. I realised it was time to come back to real life, and jump back into the (amazing but emotional) world of university again. So back to uni it was, and here I am again, faced with another endless summer.

Whether you’re content with getting your chill on (and making the most of the free meals) at home, or flying halfway across the world to make the most of a few months, just remember that these could be the longest holidays you’ll have – make the most of them!

So where will I be going this summer? China, New Zealand, Nepal? Not quite. I’ll be staying put, saving for next summer…

Written by Sarah, Manchester Uni