Go Higher: The North - What the students say

The North
Louise Bell, 21, post grad certificate in education (PGCE) at St Martins College, Lancaster

"I did my degree - in politics - at Newcastle, and Lancaster is very different. Everything happens in the small city centre, and St Martins is a small college. The college is near the centre, and the student house I lived in was just a few minutes walk away. It's such a compact place that it's easy to get to know other people. There's not an obvious student presence. It's very relaxed, and there is a lot of mixing. You can be sitting in a pub and find yourself chatting to the person next to you, whether they're a student or not.

"You don't come to Lancaster for the nightlife - I think there's one club - but there are plenty of pubs. The student union at St Martins isn't very active, but a committee organises some events. Most people arranged their own activities, but there are things going on at the union. There's a variety of places to go - it's close to some nice villages and countryside.

"There seemed to be very little crime - no one I knew was broken into. In fact the standard of accommodation was very high."

Lucy Robinson, 19, studying for a BA in cognitive science at Leeds University

"I knew there'd be a good social life at Leeds, and I knew Leeds was a lively city - but it's been even better than I thought. It's brilliant for nightlife. The course was exactly what I wanted too, but I've found the combination - computer science, psychology and philosophy - has been quite demanding, especially on the computer side. I've had to do quite a bit to catch up.

"I was apprehensive about living in halls at first. Bodington is huge, and quite far from the university. I thought I'd feel too far away from everything, but it hasn't worked out that way at all. Bodington has a life of its own: the house I'm in is great. It's got a commonroom, which not all houses have, so there's always someone to talk to. I never felt unhappy or homesick, but it took me about a term to really feel settled. By Christmas I'd made so many friends that I missed them when I came home to Bristol. The food hasn't been that good, though - it's turned me into a vegetarian."

Interviews by Heather Welford