In the second installment of Resi Residents, a fictional series showcasing what it’s like to live in a Resi Land property, meet Japanese student Emiko Tanaka:
It’s scary leaving home for the first time, especially when you’re leaving to study in a foreign country.
When I was accepted to study Architecture at University College London, my family were extremely proud of me – but they were worried, too. I’d never been away without my parents for more than a week, and now I was going away for nearly three years!
London is one of the most culturally exciting cities in the world, and I can’t think of anywhere I would rather be as a student. There are a dizzying array of cinemas, nightclubs, restaurants, cafés and museums. In a single afternoon, I could walk from the bizarre Hunterian Museum in Holborn to the brutalist Barbican Centre for a movie and dinner, before dancing into the small hours at Fabric nightclub.
And the buildings! For me, it’s perfect. I can study both ends of the architectural spectrum by simply walking a few footsteps. London has it all: from the awe-inspiring history of St Paul’s Cathedral to the Victorian majesty of the Unilever building’s exterior and the super-modern interior of gleaming glass and bridges within. Then there’s Lloyds of London, Tate Modern, Leadenhall Market… almost too many to list. It’s an architect’s paradise.
On the other hand, London is a big place. If you’re new here it can feel intimidating, and even more so if you’re a foreign student living in halls, your family home a 13-hour flight away. Student accomodation never really feels like home, and if you’re an overseas student Christmas can mean spending the holidays in halls on your own while your friends go home to their families.
My parents’ worry is safety. I think they worried about things such as the security in halls. For me, that’s not a problem – I was more concerned about having my own space. I love to party but sometimes I need to switch off and have my thinking space too.
It was lucky my aunt told my mum about Residential Land; my cousin Norio rented from Residential Land while he was studying at King’s College London.
I remember when Norio came home in the summer holidays, he was always talking about his cool place in London. “There’s this guy who collects my posters for me if they’re delivered when I’m out!” or “I can play music from the ceiling!” It’s all he ever spoke about, he was like a broken record!
My dad phoned Residential Land and they found somewhere near my university. The building was called Cedar House, in Marylebone, and it was a 20 minute walk from class. Great, I thought.
It didn’t really cross my mind again until my taxi pulled up outside Cedar House – a gorgeous terraced building with its original terracotta Victorian facade. “This”, I thought, “this is London.”
The building manager Sasha was waiting to meet me and show me to my new apartment. I followed him to room 11 and it was already furnished, so I wouldn’t have to use my student loan buying things to make it homely. Once Sasha was gone, I jumped onto the bed, wrapped myself up in the duvet and realised this was the first space I’d ever had that was all my own. I called my parents and thanked them again and again.