Students unhappy with housing move home – but now face self-isolation

By Sarah Danquah

Two undergraduate students are enduring a lonely fortnight of self-isolation due to Leicester’s Covid restrictions after switching university accommodation in the city.

Emmanuel Mensah, 20, and his flatmate Amiri Brad, 19, are first year psychology students at the University of Leicester but decided to change where they lived after being unhappy with a number of aspects.

The two friends paid £154 a week for en-suite rooms in shared apartments.

“It was too expensive to live here in a long term perspective – the university is about 40 minutes away and we always needed to buy a bus ticket to get there,” said Emmanuel, a German international student.

“It was always a long walk to the supermarket and to visit friends as well,” added Amiri.

On Friday they moved to Opal Court which, although it is £10 more per week, is only a two minute walk to their university and ten minutes to the city centre.

Unhappy in their old flat: Amari Brad, left, and Emmanuel Mensah.

But moving during a worldwide pandemic was not as easy as the pair initially thought it would be.

Due to the change of households and social bubbles limitations under the current Leicester lockdown rules, a self-isolation span was a fundamental requirement for the students’ move. 

In an email to the pair, Susan Bairstow Team Leader for Campus Services, said they needed to “either complete a 2 week social isolation period in a separate allocated flat or provide a negative Covid-19 test.”

Emmanuel and Amiri could have avoided miserable quarantine days but their friends’ uncomfortable Covid-19 test experiences influenced their decision to opt instead to go into self-isolation.

“I was looking forward to living in my new shared flat with my new flatmates but now it’s quite upsetting that I need to be on my own for 14 days – I feel homesick from time to time,” said Emmanuel.

Amiri sees the situation on a brighter side: “I am still delighted to be in my new accommodation because it feels like a breath of fresh air.”

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