Coming from a tiny island in the middle of the English Channel, I knew that if I wanted to pursue higher education I would only have two options; college or university. While the college courses offered in Jersey are well-taught, they are limited in variety. University options were either through the college, online or overseas on the mainland, and as someone that has always had a longing for travel, going to the U.K. was my main priority.
After school, a lot of my friends moved to the U.K. to start university which meant moving out of home, however there were still some that stayed at home to do online uni or college courses. I did wonder whether they felt like they were missing out on a new experience or whether they felt like staying at home was the better option. Since moving to Australia, I have made friends that either live at home, in campus accommodation or in share houses around Wollongong. However, the question remains as to whether my living on campus impacts my experience of university in a way that is different to a friend who lives at home.
Because of the living arrangements of myself and my friends, I am curious to conduct research on the question: “To what extent does living away from home change the experience you have while attending university?” Through my investigation, I hope to identify the differences and/or similarities students encounter based on where they live whilst attending university.
To answer this question, I will conduct surveys and questionnaires to students in various living situations to gain qualitative data on where they are living, if they would prefer a different arrangement, and what they think is the best option. Including a short answers section will allow me to gain more depth into the answers they give, and provide a better description of their thoughts and feelings on living arrangements. To further deepen my research, I will also conduct face-to-face interviews with a student in each living situation (home/campus/off-campus) as this will give me the chance to understand their experiences and listen fully to their stories. This will also provide useful quotes, clearer information and arguments to back up my quantitative data.
As with all research, I must be aware of the ethical constraints surrounding this project. I will ensure that the intentions of my research are clearly explained to all participants so that they are fully informed and consenting. I will also ensure that any participants remain anonymous for the duration of the research and thereafter.
I hope that upon completion of my research, I will be able to accurately represent the differences and/or similarities of student experiences, the reasons behind choosing certain accommodation and be able to answer to what extent living circumstances change your university experience.