Surrey meets Germany

Learn about life at Surrey from a current student from Germany

About our campus

Hi everyone! The university’s campus is such an important thing to look at when choosing the schools you apply to – you are going to spend a lot of time there!

Surrey’s campus really offers the best of both worlds in terms of location. Guildford is set in the Surrey countryside so there are plenty of forests and really nice areas around here, but the town centre is just a ten minutes’ walk from campus. As it’s a relatively small town, the university is very prominent and sometimes it almost feels like there are only students living here. On the other hand, London is just a 35 minute train journey away!

This campus was built in 1970 so the buildings are newer and have a very industrial design. Navigating around campus can be a challenge at the beginning because there are so many little passageways and different levels. Many courses will have lectures in a wide range of buildings so you’ll have lots of opportunity to find your way around!

There are also more modern buildings like the library and the Law & Tourism and Business Buildings. But the name doesn’t mean that they are only for these programs as I had more than half of my lectures there in my first year, as they have the lecture theatres with the highest capacity!

Here are some pictures of the library and the Rik Medlik Building (The Business School Building)

The lake is such a nice area on campus to take a break between lectures, especially in the summer! There are lots of great food places on campus like Wates house, Young’s kitchen for Asian food, Hillside, two Starbucks and Lakeside café and restaurant. There is also a small grocery store called Simply Fresh located in the library, which is really useful!

The majority of the accommodation and main university buildings are on the Stag Hill campus (where I lived in first year). There is also Manor Park, which is located near to the sports park and the vet school and Hazel farm. We also have a laundrette on every campus since there are not individual machines for each house.

You can find a detailed campus map here https://www.surrey.ac.uk/files/pdf/campusmap.pdf

Côte d’Azur for a weekend

Hi everyone! I know that lately my blog has been all about travelling – but I love sharing my trips with you and for me it’s such an important part of studying here!

Last week my friend and I took full advantage of having a long weekend and headed to France for a few days. Two weeks ago we realized we had a Monday off and could not resist checking flight prices. We found a really good deal and decided to head to Nice for the weekend, where her family has an apartment. I’m so glad to have found amazing friends who are up for spontaneous adventures like this!

After our exam on the Friday, we were super excited to leave England for a few days. Nice is the capital of the French Riviera and such a beautiful city – I highly recommend you to visit it if you get the chance! The weather was amazing and we spent the weekend wandering around the city, relaxing on the beach and cooking delicious food! We also went to an art museum devoted to the work of the French artist Henri Matisse. I constantly had to remind myself that it’s still March and we’re in the middle of the semester, because it just felt like summer already.

In my opinion university is the best time for spontaneous trips, especially if you live close to a metropolis like London with five airports! Flights can be so affordable and in most cases it’s all down to prioritizing what you spend your money on. We landed home on Tuesday and are now going to get carried away with work until we leave for our Easter break in two weeks’ time – which means more travelling!

Have a wonderful day!

Trip to the Cotswolds

Last weekend I went to the Cotswolds for the second time and decided to blog about it because it is just so beautiful and worth seeing! The Cotswolds cover a huge area in south central England and run through five counties. The area is often described as the “Heart of England” and is one of the most typical English regions of with its historic castles, stone-built villages and beautiful gardens and rolling hill countryside.

We used one of the university minibuses and it took us about 2 hours to get to our first stop, Stow on the Wold. Next, we drove to Chastleton House, which is owned by the National Trust. This is a beautiful country house, which remained pretty much unchanged for about 400 years. The whole atmosphere around it is just so peaceful and we spent most of our time in the gardens. After seeing Bourton-on-the-Water, we reached our final stop Bibury just in time for sunset! Last year we also visited Broadway, which is a very cute village and definitely worth seeing as well.

Last weekend I tried film photography for the first time so I don’t actually have many pictures of the trip yet, but I included some I took last year!

Have a wonderful day!

Studying a language at Surrey + Trip to London

Hi everyone! In this post I wanted to make you aware of a language program called the Global Graduate Award here at Surrey. GGA offers 11 different languages at different stages including Spanish, French and Italian but also Japanese, Arabic and Russian, you can have a look yourself on this website: http://www.surrey.ac.uk/school-english-languages/study/global-graduate-award

The classes start in October every year, are free for students and run over two semesters with two hours per weekly session. You do have extra exams and coursework for your language, but in my opinion it’s just such a good opportunity and totally worth it! So I chose to do French in my second year, because I never learned it in school and I have been really enjoying it so far. Knowing multiple languages is so valuable and I’m already looking forward to going to France again and actually being able to speak to people! Having studied Latin and Spanish before really helps and I don’t have to spend too much of my time revising for it. However, I think learning a completely different language like Japanese would be amazing too!

Also, I went to London this last weekend for an event called the Annual London Photohunt organised by the National University Photographic Societies. I was in a team with 4 other students from different places around England and we had different areas and specific locations in London we had to find and themes we could submit photos for after the event! All in all it was a super fun day, I got to explore London a bit more and met people from other universities, which essentially is the purpose of the event! This is just one example of the many society-run events happening here at Surrey 🙂

This is a shot I got of St Paul’s – London is such a beautiful city!

img_0359

Pancake Day!

How amazing is it that the Brits have a holiday dedicated to pancakes? Pancake Day or ‘Shrove Tuesday’ is the day before the first day of Lent, known as Ash Wednesday. This year Pancake Day took place yesterday, on Tuesday 28th February.

17092078_1358525370858021_83054719_n

The name ‘Shrove’ derives from the word ‘shrive’ meaning to free yourself from sin. The idea is to use up any rich foods like eggs, milk, sugar and chocolate before the 40 days of fasting – Lent. So in return for having delicious pancakes all day long you have to give up something for the next 40 days.

My housemate (who loves hot chocolates more than anything) gave up chocolate last year and is doing the same this time! Last year I could not be convinced to do the same, because it just seemed too hard, but maybe I’ll give it a try this year!

 

It’s the little things

Moving to England, I never experienced the common culture shock and think it doesn’t really exist if you’re from Germany. It’s rather been a gradual process and I started noticing little differences in my everyday life, which are less obvious than things like left hand traffic or having pounds as currency.

Shopping – I have to admit, shopping in the UK is easier for a couple of reasons. #1: Supermarkets in the UK are in general a bit tidier and there is a bigger selection of food. #2: On Sundays, nearly all businesses (including supermarkets and pharmacies) are closed in Germany, while in the UK they can open for up to 6 consecutive hours. #3: Using credit/debit cards or your phone to pay is much more common in the UK. Despite Germany being such a forward-thinking country, there are still many smaller shops like bakeries where you can’t pay by card or there is a minimum amount you have to spend. I regularly forget about this when I go home! And #4: It is a lot more common here to order your groceries!

Keyboard – The German/Austrian keyboard layout is different from the one used in the UK. For example, the positions of the “Z” and “Y” keys are switched and the part of the keyboard adapted to include the “umlaut” vowels doesn’t exist. This does make a lot of sense and theoretically is easy to get used to but it can really slow you down sometimes!

Punctuation – Another difference is the use of symbols in German and English, especially when writing numbers. In English, a point is used for the decimal separator and a comma for the thousands separator. This is the other way around in German and has caused me quite a bit of trouble, for instance in working with excel or comparing calculations!

People – this goes hand-in-hand with the stereotype that British people are highly polite, exaggerate in a positive sense and that sorry is their favourite word in the world. People and the way they interact with each other are just very different from what I am used to. It’s not like Germans are rude or unfriendly, but we might come across like that to the English at first, because we don’t over-apologise and we’re not particularly keen on small talk.

People here often do not say what they really think, while conversation in Germany is a lot more direct. I keep interpreting conversations I have, which is not the case back in Germany, because when people are grumpy, they show it. The English tend to just let it slide when something bothers them, or express it in a more passive way. I am still not sure whether that’s better or worse – I guess it’s just different and you have to learn to understand the differences in communication. However, living in England has taught me to be more patient and extra polite to people.

Familiar interaction – What is still quite unusual for me is that people often just call professors or their bosses by their first name, which would be unthinkable for the majority of Germans. Sometimes it takes me a lot of will power to overthrow my German formality. Somehow, being on unfamiliar terms with someone who is more senior is just a matter of respect, something I’ve been taught. And by the way, as everyone is on more familiar terms, it is not rare that you are called “dear”, “love” or “darling” by people you have never met before. But who doesn’t want to feel a bit special?

1 2 3