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Why do students come to our city?

As nearly 40,000 students descend on Liverpool to start or continue their studies, we speak to three freshers about their desire to come to our home town - and make it their own

SIMON VALCARCEL, 19, from Kingston in London, is studying for a BA Hons in Media with Marketing at John Moores. He is living in Williamson student village.

He arrived in Liverpool on Saturday and says the city appealed to him after living in London all of his life.

"I really needed to get out of London and I wanted to a studentorientated city. I felt London just didn't have that as it seems more business-orientated.

"I had been here a couple of times before anyway, because my cousin lives in Southport so I used to come and visit him and we would go out in Liverpool.

"The city's music scene is great up here and it is something I am really looking forward to getting into. I have been to the Baa Bar and Cream, both of which are absolutely brilliant venues, and I can't wait to get out and about and see what else is on offer."

And it is not only the music that Simon is looking forward to sampling. He says he thinks the shops are also "wicked" and just as good as anything London has on offer.

But Simon says that despite there being plenty for students in the city, it seems tiny compared to his home town.

"It is a lot smaller than London.

It seems big but you can walk around it really easily, which makes it a lot more compact and cheaper for students who don't want to be paying out for transport all the time.

"The people here are a lot more friendly than at home. Down south, people are more bothered about their own business but here everyone wants to chat to you - especially the cabbies."

Despite the legendary tales of a North/South divide, Simon has not suffered for his Southern origins.

He says: "Everyone calls me a Cockney and I don't think it would be a great idea to wear my Spurs shirt, but no-one gives me any real hassle. The best thing about Liverpool, though, is the prices.

'I just can't believe how cheap everything is. For a pint of beer you would normally pay around pounds 2.40 but here it is less than pounds 2.

Absolutely unbelievable. You couldn't be anywhere better if you were a student."

RYAN SWIERS, 20, from Scarborough, arrived in Liverpool less than 48 hours ago and started at John Moores University yesterday. He is currently living in Myrtle Street and is studying English Literature and Cultural History.

He says: "I was really pleased when I got a place here because I always wanted to go to a city, but it seems so huge. I haven't got a clue where to go or what to do as I have never been to Liverpool before but from what I have seen so far, it looks really great and I can't wait to go and have a look around. I took a gap year out after I left school and went to play cricket semi-professionally for Bunderberg in Australia and Auckland in New Zealand.

"I came back to England in April and immediately applied for a place at a few universities but I didn't have much luck so I came here through clearing."

Ryan says one of the reasons he wanted to come to Liverpool was to sample some of the evening pursuits. He says: "I hear the nightlife here is superb and geared up for students so I can't wait to try it out. I have seen some good restaurants as well while I have been walking around and they look pretty cheap so it will be great to see just how far my money goes.

"Liverpool is nothing like Scarborough. In fact, Scarborough is more like Blackpool than Liverpool and there is not much to do there in the way of nightlife. I expected Liverpool would be much bigger than home. I was right."

LUCY OLIVER, 19, from Bristol, is studying a BA in Literature and Cultural History with imaginative writing at John Moores.

She was delighted when she heard she had won a place in Liverpool, which was her first choice.

She says: "I heard that Liverpool was quite lively and my sister lives in Chester so I have been to see her quite a lot and she has taken me out and about a bit in Liverpool.

"I just love Liverpool. Everyone is so friendly and approachable here and they can't do enough for you, so I was really made up when I got the results I wanted and I was able to come here.

"I have been to some of the bars and restaurants already, like Mr M's at the Albert Dock and the Baa Bar. I think my mum and dad would have preferred me to stay a little closer to home, but at least my sister and I are quite close together, so they can kill two birds with one stone and come and see us both at the same time."

Lucy says that because Liverpool is of a similar size to Bristol, she doesn't feel too overwhelmed by it all. "The shops are a bit more spread out in Bristol. It is easier in Liverpool because once you are in the city centre you can walk just about anywhere.

"Even if you have to get a taxi, it doesn't matter because they are a lot cheaper anyway than they are at home. I'm so glad I came to Liverpool. And if the prices so far are anything to go by, by the end of my course the bank manager will be too."


CITY STUDENTS: Simon Valcarcel (left), Lucy Oliver and Ryan Swiers (right) THE GRADUATES: John Moores students celebrate the end of their studies outside Liverpool Cathedral
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Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Leader
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 11, 2001
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