So why did you choose to do an Erasmus in Leeds?
Are you in love with the idea of cheap accommodation and even cheaper alcohol? Was the University’s Thai Studies and Theatre and Performance degree exactly what you’d been looking for? Do you adore the idea of chatting to people who have little or no filter for their internal monologue?
Or did you just stick a pin in a map?
Whatever your reasons, we thought it would be best to compile a little list of what to expect from studying in the unofficial capital of God’s Own County.
Here are 15 ridiculous things to expect from your Erasmus in Leeds:
1. Ridiculous Student Accommodation
Okay, so this place is frankly ridiculous, take a look at the article in the Mail Online for more details. But if you can’t afford around £140 a week to get instant access to a gym, cinema and a friendship group who all attend debutante balls, then fear not; this is maybe the most ‘un-Leeds’ thing in the world.
2. The people do what they want
These two chaps, when faced by a full local pub and an overflowing local river, chose the water over their own wellbeing. People tend not to care much about what others think in Leeds, and they’re belligerent enough to just get on with it. Expect this attitude, in spades.
3. Speaking of drink, here are some prices
Not all prices are like this, but if you’re careful you can pay 30% of what you would in London!
4. Don’t expect the best landlords
Student landlords can be a bit, erm…terrible across Britain; and Leeds is no exception. It’s always a bit hit and miss, but you can at least get accredited landlords through Uniplaces, so this sort of thing can be avoided.
5. Meals fit inside puddings
Yorkshire pudding, essentially a tall pancake, is eaten country-wide, but only really expect to see it in these gargantuan proportions in Yorkshire. Speaking of which, expect most food to come in huge proportions, and at value prices.
6. …only in Yorkshire is it also a dessert
It’s typical to see any leftover Yorkshire pudding smothered in jam or golden syrup and then used as a proper pudding. This will get some pretty strange looks outside of the city.
7. People don’t admit they’re wrong. Ever.
You’re gonna experience a bizarre amount of confidence in the local people, who know everything about anything. They might only really know a small pocket of what they actually think they do, but you can’t tell them that. You’d be wrong. Don’t you see?
8. The beer is fantastic, and not what you’d expect
Yorkshire bitter, is a proper beer. Not designed to be served cold, it’s easy to drink and frankly iconic. Local brewery Samuel Smith’s is the best place to try it, as they make EVERYTHING in the pub themselves; even the tonic and the crisps.
9. Rah infested
That’s right, I said ‘Rah’, not ‘Rat’. Have you ever wondered what happens to all those young, rich and terribly self-centred kids that failed to get into Oxford or Cambridge? Well, they all go to universities like Leeds. It’s a little hard to explain what they are, and how they act, in just a few sentences, but this Wikipedia entry does a good job.
10. You won’t blend in. So relax
There’s no point trying to not be Spanish of French or whatever. People are open with you for the most part, if you don’t care they won’t. People in Leeds respect loud forward confidence. Tell them to “piss off”, show them you don’t care and they’ll love you more for it.
11. Mention the local football team with caution
Leeds United were once a powerhouse of English football. Around the turn of the millennium they were involved in one of the biggest financial meltdowns in football history. After having a string of owners they seem to hate, they are now scraping a living in The Championship. Not everybody wants to talk about it, so tread carefully.
12. Rugby League is not the Rugby you know
Rugby in Leeds is not the messy stuff with fat men you’ve seen on TV. Leeds is home to the HQ of The Rugby Football League, a different sport entirely. The sport has different rules, less players on the pitch and a very working class culture. Leeds are really quite good at it too. As their stadium is in the student area of Headingly and prices for students are cheap, you should get to at least one game.
13. Expect to get to know your neighbours
Housing in Leeds is often built “back-to-back” and in long terraces, often on hills. Don’t expect big gardens or even much grass on the streets – although the city is blessed with a massive amount of parks that make up for it. Even if you don’t meet your neighbours, you’ll hear them – through the walls.
14. Leeds has a rivalry with basically everyone
This is a problem for most of the UK. Every city is desperate to tell you how terrible every other one is, especially its neighbours. Leeds, famous for being right all the time, hasn’t made many friends doing it. Manchester, Sheffield, York, Hull, London, the entire South and, of course, neighbours Bradford, are usually in the firing line.
15. The city has ‘gentrified’
Despite all this talk of earthy, honest people, Leeds is getting pretty stylish these days. There’s no shortage of pulled pork or hipster beards to pull, but Leeds still does retain its old charm. In student-land the drinks are cheap, but if you leave it expect to pay quite a bit more for almost everything. (BTW, not sure how true that news story is! It’s from a British tabloid newspaper after all).
Thanks for reading this post! We hope to see you soon, coming back for more.
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