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The University of Exeter: probably the best university campus in the world. Well, probably not, but it’s still pretty good. Studying abroad, especially where the ground is covered in snow eight months of the year, has made me appreciate Exeter’s very green campus. We all know about our outstanding tree to student ratio, see our groundskeepers keeping the blades of grass on the side of Queen’s Drive to within an eighth of an inch of each other and appreciate the aesthetic that Pret, Costa and Comida provide us with, but many spots go unappreciated. I’m here to draw attention to these as living proof that absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

If you’re one who proudly lives the ‘do it for the Gram’ aesthetic, then you will love the potentially most obvious spot on my list: Reed Pond. What true Exeter student doesn’t have a procrastination snap of Reed Pond on their Instagram? It’s pretty much a requirement for a degree at this point. Instagram aside, Reed Pond also provides a quiet space for a study break, reading or phoning a friend to procrastinate. Although at first I assumed this would be a spot that featured in the prospectus and at no other point in my degree, Reed Pond has in fact provided me with a solid few instas, a good study spot and a place to hide from the reality of my degree.

Reed Pond – photo by James Angove

Next, if you want a spot to hide in then the next one is for you: the bottom of the library stairs. It is a bit of an odd one, but bear with me. Although at first this was somewhere I only visited because literally every other space in the library was occupied, it has actually proven to be a place of sanctuary. It gives off fort vibes, it’s accessible from the Forum without braving the elements and it’s got a lovely view. The only thing to bear in mind with this is that the stairwell acts, quite literally, as an echo chamber, and anyone at any place in the stairwell can hear everything you are saying, but other than that it is the perfect hideaway.

Fancy a wander? The International Garden is his is something I stumbled across purely by accident, I think because I was probably trying to act like I knew what I was doing when giving my parents a campus tour. Hidden behind Mardon, this little garden boasts plants from all the continents and is normally pretty deserted. Although it’s not exactly big enough to provide a walk in and of itself, the walk from almost all the academic buildings provides enough time to stretch your legs, and the garden itself provides a peaceful recess from studying.

If you need to study but also picnic, then St Luke’s Courtyard is brilliant. As an English student, my only cause to ever visit St Luke’s was during my brief foray into participating in an AU society (it didn’t last long, I assure you). The best thing to come out of that extremely out of character period of my life was my discovery of St Luke’s. To any medical field related students this probably sounds extremely ignorant and basic, but the courtyard of St Luke’s is beautiful, next to a top notch cafe and a relatively empty library. The benches provide a perfect spot for both studying and picnicking on a nice day, or just a nice place to stretch your legs and get some fresh air the other 350 days of the year.

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