London by Michael Flatt

Where to Stay: Living at Nido

Before studying abroad, my university recommended Nido Student Living as a reliable accommodation for me to stay during my semester in London. Since I was studying alone and knew little about finding an apartment in the city, I decided that Nido was my best option at the time. Nido is located in King’s Cross in transport Zone 1, which covers the central London districts and a majority of the major tourist attractions.

 King’s Cross formerly had a reputation of being run-down but this is no longer the case. While it is certainly not the most aesthetically pleasing area in London, it is suitable for a study abroad student in three ways: 1) it is home to the Eurostar, a high-speed underwater train that takes you to mainland Europe for more traveling, 2) it is home to the King’s Cross tube station, which has the most lines of any underground station and makes getting around London very easy, and 3) it is within minutes of London’s central universities via the underground. As an additional bonus, if you enjoy Harry Potter the King’s Cross railway station has a sign for the notorious “Platform 9¾.”

 Nido is located at 200 Pentonville Road, about a 5 minutes walk from the King’s Cross tube station. The picture to the left is the view from the tube station walking towards Nido, which is the tall light blue building in the background. Nido is a combination of a dorm/apartment style of living with a modern, contemporary design. You have the option of sharing a room with another person or having a larger, single room. I chose to have my own room and was satisfied with the decision.

The rooms are similar to a dorm in that they only include the basics. They are furnished with a stovetop, mini refrigerator and freezer, microwave, sink, two small chairs, file drawer, nice desk for your computer (free internet!), twin-size bed, and a closet space that meets your basic needs. There is also a small, more like tiny, bathroom with a shower and sink. You will need to bring or buy a towel and bath mat. Also included is a heater; this made the room nice and toasty during the cold months of January and February. As you may have guessed, I did not mention anything about a TV. If you insist on having a television in your room, you can pay an additional fee for the hookup. There’s just so much to do in London that watching TV was the least of my priorities (plus you can watch most of the shows online). Additionally, all rooms have a window but a good view is not guaranteed. While the room was nothing fancy, it met my needs for the semester.

After living at Nido for roughly four months, I would say I had a love/hate relationship with the place. The building is fairly new and has an on-site cafe and lounge area where you can purchase meals, drinks, and even toilet paper with a a cashless card.  There are also seventeen inch Mac computers readily available throughout the building for computer use and printing, flat screen TVs in the common areas, and a convenient laundry mat in the basement. With that said, there was always something going wrong in the building. For instance, the first week we moved in, there were several rooms (including mine) that didn’t have hot water and/or their shower head was leaking. I had to enter the complaint through an internal intranet and a handyman came up to fix the problem, usually within a day or two. While this was a good system, it became annoying when the problem occurred a second and third time, especially since the building was so new. Furthermore, there always seemed to be at least one elevator broken at all times and some of the washing machines and dryers (which aren’t cheap to use) didn’t always work.

The most disappointing thing about Nido was that the staff didn’t have a better plan of action for introducing the students to each other and organizing ways for us to interact and get to know everyone. There were hundreds of students living in Nido at the same time as me and I was able to get to know only a small portion of them. Unlike a dorm, the door to each person’s room couldn’t be propped open to meet other people, which was discouraging. In many ways, this was the “apartment” aspect of Nido.

Nido is a high security place with a 24/7 security staff and cameras inside and outside the building. In one sense, this was good because I always felt secure in the building. However, it proved to be inconvenient at other times, particularly when I wanted to check in a friend to come up to my room and had to wait for him or her to hand over their ID and fill out a form that I also had to sign. There is also a strict policy about people spending the night and it seemed silly at times.

All things considered, Nido was a good place to live for my semester abroad in London. Having my own apartment in a nicer location would have been better in some ways, but Nido’s convenience made my life in London much easier and less stressful.