When I was applying for universities, I was looking as much at the city as the uni and course itself. I didn’t want to stray too far from the Canterbury feel: a small(ish) city with historical roots, somewhere where I could either be in the city centre or in the countryside within a matter of several minutes.
Norwich is all I could have hoped for. With 200% more cathedrals than Canterbury, it pretty much satisfies my quota for “old stuff”. The city centre itself is a web of lanes and streets – larger than Canterbury – with plenty of chain stores and little independent shops and cafes. Most importantly, though, is the distinct lack of French school children getting in the way of everyone! Norwich has managed to avoid the tourist circuit, even though it rivals Canterbury for historicity. Their loss, I say.
As for UEA – well, if first complaints are that it’s made of concrete (it is), second impressions are that, on the whole, the concrete is a wonderful piece of brutalist and structuralist architecture. We may complain, but secretly we love the ziggs and those funky concrete boxes on the faculties building! And frankly, you couldn’t get the view or natural light that I have in my room from any other accommodation on campus. I’m happy (even if my bed was made for a hobbit).