Hi, I’m Kath with a K. I’m from Monash University, Australia.
This will be a little story about why I came to Surrey, my first impressions of England, and the differences between Surrey and Monash (Australia).
I have always thoroughly enjoyed art and entertainment, whether it’s listening to music, writing music, reading, watching tv shows and movies, live performances of any sort, and anything else really. A lot of my favourite art and entertainment has been from the UK like: Queen, Pink Floyd, Monty Python, and Harry Potter (a very small part of my list). And that’s why I decided that I must come to the UK if I manage to pull off an exchange. About time too, since my brother has lived here for a decade now. Honestly, the first thing that piqued my interest about Surrey was the line “The University of Surrey was where Led Zeppelin first played”. And the music facilities here seemed pretty sweet, but I haven’t fully acquainted myself with them as of yet.
Apart from the standard Netflix and Youtube, I have always had a thing for British panel shows like 8 out of 10 cats and anything with David Mitchell in it. They often mention everyday British things like Tesco or Prêt a Manger. So as you can imagine, I’ve known about these famous, mundane things for YEARS so now I can get giddy every time I see something like that while I’m here. I’m calling my mum in the evening like “guess what?! I shopped at a Tesco today! I had a croissant at Prêt!” Yeah, I didn’t think I was gonna be this lame either until I actually came here.
When it comes to the university itself, I perhaps incorrectly expected things to be very similar. I thought the different living experience would be mainly based around what existed outside of the university. Bear in mind that I can only speak about Monash University and Surrey University, not Australian vs UK universities as a whole. This is what I have noticed so far:
1 – The nightlife. At Monash, everything starts closing at 4pm, and everything except 2 chain restaurants and a convenience store are closed by 6pm, INCLUDING our one bar. But here there are 2 bars that I know of that are open in the evenings. It had never even occurred to me that there could be a club on a campus. All of these things had been very separate experiences for the first 3 years of my degree.
2 – The residences/colleges. Now, this may be a little unfair to Surrey as my home university is known for having some of the best on-campus accommodation in my state. Within each building, Monash had a team of people organising events for everyone to get to know people in the building, and that was always the first way that ressies meet people when they move away from home or go on exchange. Here, the only people I know in my building are my 5 flatmates. Occasionally when walking around the Surrey campus I might also recognise someone from that time our building had to evacuate due to a fire alarm.
3 – The nerd clubs? People here seem to be a lot less into board games and Dungeons and Dragons/roleplaying than at Monash. Those clubs are really big there compared to here.
I’m sure there are many more differences that I will be able to write about in future posts. But for now I will sign off and go back to my easily-impressed existence.
Until next time.