Which is better: Country or city life?

Through the eyes of a rural dwelling student at a city uni

city country

It’s the age old debate. The ultimate argument. El questiono número uno. Is it better to live in the city or the country?

There are strong cases for both corners. City slickers certainly have a more convenient lifestyle, with commodities close by and attractions galore, but country life may have the edge in scenery and being able to get away from it all.

Who wore it better?

Food

There are obviously less restaurants in the country – you’re limited to your nearest McDonald’s-on-a-roundabout or the token pub or two in every village. Having said that, nobody does good pub food like the British, and we have over 25 Michelin starred pubs to prove it.

Farm shops seem to exclusively inhabit rural areas too. Forget the grubby veg and the million different chutney variations on offer, nowhere else can you buy a £3,745 “high performance ceramic cooker large enough to roast a suckling pig”. There’s probably a reason for that.

Assuming then you don’t have a spare grand to spend on organic fruit, the city has got to be the better option. You can still buy free range if you want (because it tastes better and don’t even get me started on animal cruelty), and prices are lower, both in supermarkets and restaurants.

City 1 – Country 0

Things to do

There’s certainly more activities on offer in urban areas. Unlike food, however, they tend to be a lot more expensive. Zoo and aquarium prices range between £20 and £30, tickets for any theatre show will cost at least £50 if you want a decent seat, and cinema prices are universally extortionate. Even Netflix has its limits.

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Uh… must have been someone else on my account

There are none of those pesky pocket-emptying distractions out of the city. With a pair of wellies, the entire countryside is your oyster. A long walk in good company must be better than 20 minutes on a glorified merry-go-round, especially with snacks. If you’ve got a stomach for cold temperatures, then wild swimming in the summer is not only fun, but free and good for you.

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Getting stuck in

Too preachy? If you’re really bored, find a stick and pretend it’s a sword. And don’t even try and claim you’ve never done that before.

City 1 – Country 1

Convenience

When you live at least 15 minutes drive from the nearest decent shop at home, you’ll never take a late night convenience store down the road for granted at uni.

City 2 – Country 1

People

The rush of city life doesn’t seem to make people grumpier – just a little bit on edge. That, or people are just completely used to the bustle and watch it work its way around them from the depths of their hoodie.

Either way, rural life just seems to make people happier and more relaxed. Plus, donkeys.

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Who needs friends?

City 2 – Country 2

Health

Birmingham isn’t exactly Beijing or New York, but the air is genuinely fresher in the countryside. It might smell of poo sometimes, but it totally justifies the use of words like “crisp” and “bracing”.

I always dreamed of becoming a sardine

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Look at all my space

Another thing that can just ruin your day is the amount of space around you. Cities feel cramped, fact. Train carriages, the Bullring, Broad Street – they all feel uncomfortable, and nobody ever looks like they want to be there. Give me my wellies and a field any day.

City 2 – Country 3

So maybe we’re a little bit biased. Sue me and my fresh air.