From Bulgaria to Surrey

Learn about life at Surrey from a current Bulgarian student.

Accommodation

Hey everyone!

I know it`s time for you to think about accommodation and I wanted to tell you about the options you have here at Surrey.

In your first year you will be living in campus accommodation which will be either on the main campus where the library and most of the facilities are or in the other campuses – Manor Park or Hazel Farm. The most rooms at university are Band C and Band D and if you are wondering what this means, I will quickly explain with a bit more detail than the website. Depending on the type of room you get the bands go from A to F, where A is the cheapest version and F is the most luxurious. Band C is the standard with a single bed, one wardrobe, one desk, one chair and a sink with mirror. You get a kitchen, two toilets and two bathrooms to share between up to 14 people. Band D is quite similar, except for the fact it includes a bathroom and toilet inside single room, so you don`t have to share it with other people.

In terms of application, everything is pretty straightforward, you submit your application with your Band preferences and you will be notified by email where you will be allocated. You will have an amazing time, trust me! There are all kinds of activities you can do with your flat mates – from making pancakes to going to concerts together, and most importantly you will most likely set the beginning of many long lasting friendships.

Expect in the next blog more information about accommodation, more specifically second year houses!

xx

Placement year

Hey there beautiful people!

Today the topic of my blog will be career oriented and I`ll give you few tips for your second year when you will be applying for placements.

If you forgot already what a placement actually is, I will say it again. At Surrey students have the wonderful opportunity to work in a company after the second year of studying for the period of 12 months. During this time you will most likely get paid and this year will count towards your degree and it will appear on your transcripts. Moreover, you can choose whatever job you find interesting and useful for your future. At the end of this placement year you will submit a report about the past 12 months, the company and what you have learnt, which will be graded (that`s how it goes into your transcript) and then  you will come back to Surrey and continue with your final year of studying.

So, since you know what a placement year is I can proceed and give you some useful tips.

  1. Some of the good opportunities close before Christmas, so many students start looking for one the moment they come to university for their second year in October.
  2. It`s a good idea to go and have your CV and cover letter checked at Careers service on campus before you start going to interviews and assessment centers (for those who don`t know assessment centers are a full day activity  when all the candidates, who passed the first round, get together and do tasks together or give presentations on topics they have been given by the recruiters)
  3. You can have a mock interview and mock assessment center on Surrey campus for no charge at all to practice before the real thing!
  4. You should never feel bad about being rejected (even though it is normal to feel so) because most of the students get rejected 60% of the times they apply, but eventually they do get accepted into a really good company. So, being rejected doesn`t mean at all that you are not a good candidate.
  5. You can either apply online or contact companies yourself to find out if they will be willing to offer you a placement year.
  6. You can do more than one placement in the period of 12 months, so you can first do 6 months at one place and then go to another one, university is pretty open to any options you can find.
  7. Some students find their placements in the summer after they finish second year, so it is never too late to find one!
  8. Another important thing is that if you don`t know what exactly you want to do, it is not a problem to do a placement and it is even better to do one. This will be your first attempt at finding what you want and that`s great, because you will receive a training and you are not expected at all to know anything specific.
  9. For those of you who are wondering how you can combine doing an exchange in your first semester of second year and during the same year finding a placement, I will tell you that it is perfectly fine to do so and there are many students who did it!
  10. So, if you`re already fed up with my `i-know-everything` attitude, let me tell you that all these tips are given by my friends, because I actually didn`t do a placement. And no, it wasn’t because there weren`t any more opportunities for me after I came back from Hong Kong exchange and no, it wasn`t because I don`t think this opportunity is useful. It was entirely my decision and now I think it was indeed the right thing to do, even though there are negatives to it as well. I`m saying this just to let each of you know that there are many paths students can take and we all eventually get there, one way or another. There isn`t one single path to take in order to find the best life and career for your future. And don`t get me wrong, I haven`t found this life or career yet, but at least that`s how I feel about my future and that`s where I get my happiness from.

Have a wonderful day and don`t stress about your future now! Just come to university and everything else will follow!

Yours,

Lusi xx

Fun on a Sunday evening

Hey there to all the followers of my blog!

I want to use this new post to thank you all for reading my stories (even though they can be quite long sometimes), I really appreciate it!

Also, Happy Liberation Day and Happy Grandma March to all my Bulgarians!!! As funny as the second one sounds to all non-Bulgarians, we do have such holiday haha! Wish you loads of health and prosperity and hope you always feel proud to be born in such a beautiful country!

Since it`s sunny today here in England I want to tell you guys about something fun I did on Sunday. If you remember once I told you about the cool things you can do in Guildford. So, one of them is Spectrum – the leisure centre.

I hadn`t been skating there yet when my housemate came home after long session of skating in Spectrum on Friday night. She suggested going together on Sunday, as it is only a pound to enter the rink and around 2 pounds more if you have to hire the skates – amazing deal! I was hesitating because I wasn`t sure it would be as fun as the other students say, but to be honest I didn`t have anything else to do then anyways.

We entered the building which I didn`t expect to be that big and I was happy to find out that this complex has different kinds of pools apart from the huge ice rink. That place seemed like real fun! As my housemate said, the tickets were very cheap and this made me even happier, at least I knew I wasn`t wasting my money. We got our skates and we were ready to rock the rink. At first it looked as if it is just a normal rink, but the moment all the people entered, they turned on some of the best dancing tunes to make skating even more joyful. Around half an hour later, they changed the normal lighting with some club lights which gave an even better look of the rink. People were skating and dancing at the same time, taking pictures and videos and this atmosphere made me constantly keep the smile on my face. The session was 2 hours and at some point we left the rink to buy some drinks from the vending machines and get our energy back to keep on skating. At the end we were tired but content with the fun evening we had!

I know this kind of stories might not mean much for your decision to either join Surrey or not, but sometimes the little things in life make an experience worthy!

Wish you a lovely week and more sunny days!

Shout out to all the sport lovers!

Hey guys!

Today I want to give a shout out to all the sport lovers! Personally, I don`t like the gym and I`m not a big fan of sports apart from dancing which isn`t really in the same category, is it? But I admire you, guys, for the efforts and perseverance you always have!!! That`s why I will give you some information about the Sports Park so that you can add this to your future plans in Surrey.

Surrey Sports Park is a pretty young one and has opened in 2010, but this didn’t stop it from becoming one of Europe`s premier sites for sport, health, well-being and leisure. It has also hosted some famous events such as Rugby World Cup 2010 and Paralympics GB Sports fest. Moreover, every Wednesday there are matches in the sport halls or outside, where all the sports clubs from university play, so you have the chance to see them usually for free!

The sports park is also very popular among students from my university because it is really affordable. So, let me give you some numbers here! The full membership is around £230 for 12 months and you can use all the facilities. Of course, there are also options of buying a membership for shorter period. For example, if there is someone who would like to sell their membership, they can give it to you in exchange for money and the Sports Park can immediately transfer your name on their membership. Furthermore, since you study at Surrey for 9 months and then you have 3 months left in your membership, you can “freeze” them and use them in your following academic year when you come back to Surrey. However, if you do not need everything offered in the sports park and you wish to visit just the gym, the membership for 12 months is around £100.

Not only is this place so affordable, but it also has many facilities and offers plenty of activities to stretch your muscles with! I will tell you the most popular ones which I have heard of: gym, various sport courts and fields, a swimming pool, sauna, rock climbing, squash rooms, showers, halls for dance and body activities and of course, Starbucks. There are probably many other things to do in there, but you will see this for yourself because you are coming to Surrey, right?

Hope this information was useful and you are looking forward to coming to Surrey even more!

Yours,

Lusi xx

More than 140 societies and clubs to join..

Hey there!

It`s almost spring in Surrey unlike Bulgaria where it is snowing AGAIN, but I bet you are enjoying your cold snowy days.

Today I`ll be telling you about societies and clubs – how they work, how you can sign up, how you can set up one and how you can take a role in the teams.

First, Surrey is known to put a lot of emphasis on the social life of students and always care about how you spend your free time at university. The student union offers more than 140 societies based on any hobbies and interests students have and clubs for all kinds of sport that a student might want to take up. When I came to Surrey, I didn`t even know what the word society in this sense stands for, so after the event I mentioned in my previous posts – Freshers` fayre I learned more about them. I will gladly share all this knowledge with you to make sure you are prepared for your upcoming days at Surrey!

Basically, a society or a club is a group of students on campus who have common interests and the same aim at university – to enjoy their time there. Therefore, teams or committees of students are created which are at the centre of the society and deal with managing it and other members (any student) can join for free. The activities that societies are organizing usually include meetings to discuss most important objectives and meetings to vote for the students taking the roles in the committee for the following year, `socials` which are the night outs at clubs or bars organized by the committees and any extra activities depending on the specific theme of the society. It is not as formal as it sounds to you now and actually the people there are pretty laid back. I think the one of the best things about English education system is that students know they are entitled to leading a pleasant and healthy life along with their studies and they willingly join a lot of societies and clubs each year.

So, to sign up for a society and club all you need to do is attend the Freshers` Fayre during Welcome week, which I`m sure you will do! Otherwise, if you prefer to take the first semester to settle first there is a Refreshers` Fayre in the beginning of second semester when you can also join societies. If you don`t remember, I`ll remind you that this big event is basically one huge tent and tables and posters inside for most of the societies and clubs and loads of food deals and drinks. So, you go along the tables and just write down your email in the lists of whichever society or club you like. You also have the chance to ask the committee there about anything you want to know.

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Freshers` Fayre 2014

In case you want to set up a society, the procedure is easy:

  1. You need to find at least 2 other people who together with you can take up the most important roles in the committee and come up with a name and objectives of the society.
  2. You fill in some documents.
  3. You find at least 20 people who like your idea and are willing to sign up with their email and name.
  4. You present all this at the Students Union desk and you will get allocated to a Society Standing slot where you will be able to present for around 5 mins your idea and main objectives for the first year to all the other societies and then they`ll have the chance to vote for you.

I had the chance to present an idea of mine to create a new society, but guess what? I actually didn`t manage to convince them that this society was needed at university, unlike other 4-5 societies which had a successful presentation. So, you have the opportunity and it`s up to you and the other societies if you`ll be able to set up a new one or not.

Lastly, when you join a society or a club, you will also have the chance to apply for a role in the committee. There are 3 main roles – President, Treasurer and Vice-President and usually in May each year the societies get together and organize meetings in which the members vote for all the candidates for each role.

So, this is all the basic information you need to know before you come to Surrey, but trust me, you won`t regret your decision to join as many societies and clubs as you can – it will never be a wasted time.

Have a lovely week!

Exploring England – York edition

Hello everyone!

It`s been awhile, but I have a good reason – I made a short trip to one of the most beautiful cities in England – York. So, I`m going to tell you about this wonderful trip and how I organized it. I also added few pictures in the end from different places in York.

One of the cool things about being in England is that you can always find deals for train tickets, flights, clothing shops and many more. This one specifically was for Virgin Trains and I bought a return ticket for 10 pounds for a 2 hour journey from London to York, instead of long hours on the bus or very expensive train tickets.

My journey started at London King`s Cross Station where a lot of trains depart to different cities in England and abroad. You can get there easily by underground after you arrive at Waterloo station with the train from Guildford. For all the Harry Potter fans – at King`s Cross you can take a picture with the trolley from the movie which goes right through the wall, it`s one of the sights in London.

Anyways, I collected my tickets, booked beforehand, at one of the machines at the station and left with the train right on time from platform 8. When I arrived in York, it was barely snowing but it reminded me very much of home. In York I was staying at one of my Bulgarian friend`s place and I had to take the bus to her house. Right from the start, York left me with the impression of being extremely beautiful with all its cosy and artsy streets. It is quite old which gives this nostalgic vibe, especially, when you stroll around the pavement alleys.

The first night I got the chance to meet other students from the university there and to go out with them to their popular bars and clubs. The atmosphere was the same as in the clubs I know in Guildford but with new people, faces I hadn`t seen before. The night finished with tasty cheesy chips with gravy and comfy bed.

The next day, the streets of York were empty because it was actually snowing. I was so happy to feel the snowflakes melting on my skin, because that`s a feeling I only get back home. The city centre had to offer many little boutique shops, hidden alleys and cosy cafes. Regular picture time also wasn`t missed as there were so many places to capture in a photo. The day ended with a wonderful Yorkshire pudding and the best cocktails in England, as people say.

After seeing the city centre, the next stop was the University of York. The campus was extremely beautiful but SO HUGE! It was very hard to find my way out from each of the faculties. It reminded me so much of my lovely campus back in Surrey with the lake, the benches and the trees, as if you are in a park. That`s one of the best things about English campuses – they always have the nature aspect added to make the grey buildings look more welcoming.

So, after visiting the university I was ready to leave York fulfilled with all the memories I created and the new friendships I made just for the period of three days. I know this story might seem a bit boring with no use for you at all, but the lesson from it is that the moment you leave Bulgaria and take on this adventure, you suddenly realize how open minded you become as a person. You are ready to just hop on the train or plane and go anywhere to find new people and experience new adventures. Trust me, that`s the best way of gaining more knowledge and improving yourself – by traveling. I read once a quote saying that your life begins where you comfort zone ends. I found much truth in this the moment I moved to Surrey.

Hope you find this place as inspiring as I did!

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University of York Campus

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The lake on university campus

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Tiny alley in the city centre

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York Minster

 

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