Face time over FaceTime

9 October 2018

Students spend approximately £2,160 keeping in contact with friends over the course of a degree. A recent survey by TransPennine Express discovered that students are willing to travel to visit friends over contacting them through social media. Fingertip access to people through social apps such as Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook seems to fall short when compared with the ability to meet in person; 41% of respondents opted for face time over the 16% preferring FaceTime. Moreover, the survey revealed that students take an average of 16 trips per year, accumulating to three days of traveling, with average train journeys estimated to be an hour and a half long.

“Moving away from home to study and live independently can be a great experience, but it’s understandable that keeping in touch with loved ones is a priority for many students”, says Caroline Anchor, Head of Marketing at TransPennine Express. The reliability of social media in providing a platform for continuous contact is not an adequate substitute for reuniting with friends and family in person, as this survey demonstrates.

Not every university ranked the same, with Manchester students travelling only around 2,916 miles over three years compared to students at Liverpool who trek an astonishing total of 4,266 miles to see friends. Students in the South East travel far less, with a mean of 31.74 miles a year. Although seeming expensive and time-consuming, the journey is worthwhile for 38% of respondents, who claim to have lost touch with a friend due to not being able to visit.

As an international student with many friends studying abroad in the UK, I undertook a small 'great British adventure' in an attempt to visit those attending universities in the southern parts of England. Wearing my 16-25 railcard as a badge, I travelled across the south to the likes of Canterbury and Brighton, with tourist stops along the way at Dover. I can assure those that wish to undertake a similar pilgrimage that it is indeed a costly, time-consuming and frustrating journey, but undeniably worth it to stay in touch with those friends that have unfortunately fallen into the backdrop of your daily encounters.