University of Surrey: North America

An insight into life at Surrey from two current Canadian students

Favorite Coffee Spots

Hello!

Today I thought I would share with you my favorite on and off campus coffee spots for days when I am craving a treat or maybe getting restless of staying at my room desk or the library.

My favorite on-campus spot to study while having coffee would be Starbucks. Although the prices are a bit too high for my liking, there is a great space with lots of seating areas. I often will make my coffee or tea at home and head over to study there especially when I am doing group studying.

Contrarily, my favorite spot for coffee is the Lakeside Cafe as they have great prices and lots of different options. Here however it is often really busy and there isn’t often a place to sit.

So depending on what you are looking for in terms of coffee or study space, there is a spot for you.

 

In terms of coffee spots off-campus there is some really great options.

My very favorite in terms of coffee and food would be the Kalm Kitchen. The vibe is very relaxing and the food has been consistently great. They have an outdoor seating area that it tucked away and they lend you blankets which are super cozy. This is not really a great spot to study as it is very busy but a must do as a weekend activity.

Another great spot is Coffee Culture. Again there is a really great vibe and feels authentic. I love their mocha which they serve in these beautiful large ceramic mugs. There is also a variety of cakes to choose from. It is also really busy and quite limited on space however.

If looking for a spot to study, my favorite thing has been to find pubs that are a little less busy and find a tucked away table to set up at. This is great if you want to start off with some pub grub and later order a coffee or tea to get you through your readings. My favorite pubs to do this at the moment are the King’s Head and the Star Inn.

Sometimes it is nice to get a change of scenery and have someone cook for you. I love being in town and look for any opportunity to head that way.

Cheers!

 

Spring has Sprung!

Hello!

I thought that for this blog I would take a moment to share my appreciation of the beauty of the campus at the University of Surrey. Today is a gorgeous spring day with blue skies and white clouds. The campus is in full blossom with pretty flowers springing up everywhere. Not only are the birds and critters out, but the students have also come out of our second semester hibernation to sit in the grass and enjoy the sunshine. I have to say that this is really helping student moral as we are headed to the Easter break and therefore facing our mid-term courseworks and exams.


I have to admit, although the UK is renown for its gray weather, when the sun does come out it makes for a really beautiful day! The University has been sharing some really wonderful pictures on Instagram which you can find here: https://www.instagram.com/uniofsurrey/.

Cheers!

The little things…

Hello again! Today I wanted to talk a bit about combating homesickness while studying away from home.

What I have found to work best for me in terms of dealing with school blues, is first and foremost creating a schedule and filling that schedule with plans. Don’t get me wrong, I love myself a good evening staying in and watching a movie but I’ve found that when I have too much time to myself it can make me long for home. Here are some of things I’ve attempted to stay in a positive mood.

Joining the Women’s Football Club has helped me build a good schedule and has gotten me out of the house 3 to 4 times a week, socializing and moving. Even if it is not a sports club, I recommend joining any type of club or group as there are plenty of options on campus and this will get you socializing.

I’ve also made an effort to socialize with my flatmates and organize activities with them as well. This has helped us maintain good communication and makes for a positive living space.

I’ve found that even going out for a coffee with a classmate or friends once a week really helps take your mind off of work or the longing for home for a bit.

I have also noticed that switching up my study space from my room, to the coffee shop and the library helps in not feeling too restless by staying put in one spot for too long.

A big element that has helped me has been signing up to the Student’s Union’s day trips and planning other trips throughout the year. This has helped me get excited about the country I now live in and helps look forward to different activities.

Sending mail home has also been something that I get excited about and in some ways has helped at times with my semester blues. Which goes hand in hand with staying in contact with friends and family back home, even if that means scheduling some call times given the time-change. It always feels good to see a familiar face.

While being here, my cousin Gabrielle has often told me to get excited about the little things. At first I didn’t think much of it, but I’ve soon come to realize that given that we live in quite a small space it is often the little things that brighten up your day. For example, the other day we found these amazing hair products on sale which were infused with maple syrup (so Canadian eh?) and Gabrielle was right, every time I use the products it smells so delicious – a little thing that makes me happy, haha!

17198885_10154248996312513_1788038776_n

Of course, homesickness isn’t something that I am constantly feeling. On the contrary, I feel incredibly fortunate to have this experience and be able to explore a little more of the world! But I do also know that sometimes you simply long for home and its easier to just stay in your room and feel down – but it is the things that I have mentioned above that have helped me stay in a positive frame of mind and realize that my studying at Surrey is temporary and therefore trying to make the most out of everyday is really important!

Hopefully some of these techniques will help you or someone you know that might be going through a bit of the studying away from home blues.

Cheers!

My accommodation experience thus far

Hello! Today I thought I would blog about my student accommodation experience thus far.

First I wanted to share the link to the accommodation services website in case you were curious as to the different options students have when coming to Surrey. http://www.surrey.ac.uk/accommodation/

As for me, I live in a Band C accommodation, this means that I get my own room which includes a sink. I then share the showers, toilets and kitchen with seven other girls. You are able to request to stay in a same-sex flat and was lucky to get a flat with only seven as the numbers can go up to fourteen flatmates.

17160339_10154249063337513_852949343_n

I have to say that my experience has been really positive in accommodations thus far – I get along with my flatmates really well, there is plenty of storage in my room and the location on the Stag-Hill Campus is really ideal. I am 2 minutes away from all my classes, 20 minutes away from the grocery store and sports park, and 20 minutes away from center town.

17197694_10154249063332513_293377806_n

I would have to say that I only have two small complaints. First, I live directly behind the Cathedral which rings their bells quite often and for an extended period of time with is charming at first but a bit disruptive when attempting to study. My second would be that the buildings are getting to be a bit old and therefore maintenance is often needed. Having said that, the Cathedral is up on a hill and therefore offers some really beautiful view as shown in the picture above, and as for maintenance, there is a good reporting system put in place which makes getting someone to come check out our little hiccups rather simple.

Another benefit is having access to the common rooms which is a great place to get away if you want to sit on a couch, play some pool and even watch TV. My cousin Gabrielle and I been really enjoying getting out of our rooms and utilizing these common areas. They even put up Christmas decorations which was such a fun touch given we weren’t home to enjoy the Christmas lead-up.

17198163_10154249063392513_1882364743_n

Finally, I’ve been really lucky this year as my room faces the church and therefore there is a bit of woods that I can see through my window as pictured below. This does help in feeling like I am not permanently stuck on campus and I have gotten to befriend some woodland creatures like the pigeons and the squirrels… It’s about getting excited about the small things right?

17160164_10154249063402513_775726240_n

In all, I am quite happy with my experience in accommodation and feel that I am well supported if something were to go astray which is good. Hopefully this will have helped in your decision to potentially stay in student accommodations.

Cheers!

Subscription boxes and Unidays

Hello again! Today I wanted to share with you my experience with subscription boxes.

As a student there is something really exciting about sending and receiving mail, whether it be letters to and from home or even bank statements, I love going down to my court reception to fetch the mail. However, I realize that sending mail to and from Canada can get really expensive.

My cousin Gabrielle has been talking to me for a while now about a subscription box she has signed up to called Glossybox and I thought that, in the name of science, I would conduct a bit of research and sign up to a competing subscription box named Birchbox (you know… for science).

I hesitated for a while before subscribing because I am not much of a product junky. Gabrielle loves her boxes because she uses a lot of the things she is sent like the makeup and face products however I am quite minimalist when it comes to beauty products so I didn’t want to waste any money. However, when I discovered that Unidays offered a discount on your first box I thought that it would be a fun experiment to compare the boxes. As a UK student, there is a website you can sign up to which is called Unidays. This website gives you access to all sorts of student discounts which include different subscription boxes.

So a few days after Gabrielle received her February box, I received mine. I have to admit I was so excited to head down to central distribution to collect my post (certain packages come to your court reception and others at the main campus collection).

Here are my thoughts on the boxes:

Both boxes have some great things to offer. If I had to describe the two, Gabrielle’s Glossybox was more makeup focused while my Birchbox was more hair and skincare focused which is perfect for each of us. You get to create a beauty profile when you subscribe describing what your skin is like and what you would like to receive – so the boxes were well tailored for both of us.

The Glossybox was a sturdy box with a lid which is really fun for storage. The Birchbox was a drawer box which I am now using to keep my post-its on my desk. Both are really beautiful in terms of colors and design but I think the Glossy Box is sturdier.

Gabrielle’s first February box had unfortunately been ruined when one of the nail polishes exploded but the company sent her a replacement box right away with an extra gift which I thought was very good of the company.

Both boxes are 10 pounds monthly and both offer 5 products varying from full to sample size.

I was very happy with the products I received and can honestly say I will use everything they sent me which is really great and I know Gabrielle has also been using the products she’s received. I have to admit however that given that I do not go through products very quickly I think a box a month will prove to be too much. What is great is that you can cancel at any time without penalty so I think after the March box I will probably cancel for now and wait until I go through the products I’ve received.

17094228_10154231965202513_1317854614_n

17035442_10154231965222513_519068973_n

I hope this has proved to be useful if you were on the fence about subscribing to such a box or if you were looking for a little something to brighten your mailbox.

Cheers!

A weekend of exploring – Sheffield and York

Hello! Today I wanted to share with you my weekend exploring some more of England.

As I have mentioned previously, I am very lucky to have my two cousins here with me in England. Gabrielle is here in Guildford, but her sister and my bestfriend Victoria is up in Sheffield studying Speech Therapy as they call it here. This weekend Victoria kindly offered to host me in her corner of England so after a big day of lectures and tutorials on Friday, I took the coach up to see her. It was quite the trek to get there as I had to transfer in London and due to the first coach being over 30 minutes late, I missed my connection. I was really disappointed as it is over 6h of travel in total, but the staff at the station were really helpful and put me on the next bus. I finally arrived around midnight where Victoria picked me up in an Uber. It was so nice to see her and I was so happy to finally get to see where she lives and studies. She even greeted me with some treats which was really sweet!

On Saturday we decided that we would head out and have ourselves a little day trip in York. It was really exciting as one of Victoria’s friends had previously studied there so we had a nice list of things to do. We first discovered this adorable little coffee shop on our way into center town right on the river named the Perky Peacock. It had such Harry Potter vibes and was really adorable so we had to stop and grab a little something to drink.

17035531_10154231883017513_256230443_n17012689_10154232100617513_1957852940_n

We then continued into town where we visited the Museum gardens and the Cathedral. There are so many cute shops to stop into, Victoria and I had a great time checking out places such as the Imaginarium and a Christmas shop. The ceilings were so low in this one, Victoria and I had to crouch!

17028693_10154231883002513_1627836193_n17028952_10154232015637513_1175778643_n

We found a great little pub in the Shambles market and had a quick lunch before going to admire the rich architectural history that is so present in York. The medieval buildings are really beautiful and interesting which adds to the amazing feeling of history in this city. We decided to have desert at Crumbs which is right behind the cathedral. We tried out 3 different cupcakes but were left a bit disappointed in the freshness of the pastries – we still had fun chatting, tasting and enjoying the amazing view!

17028674_10154231882967513_1417622549_n17012607_10154231882927513_966757877_n

In all, York was a really beautiful city with a lot to see and some great shopping. I was really happy that we decided to spend the day exploring it. A little friendly warning I wanted to share with you that came out of our day in York… Always double check that you are going in the right direction when embarking on a train. It wasn’t until Victoria and I were in Newcastle that we realized that we had gotten on the wrong train haha! Again the staff were really nice and told us which train to get on and didn’t charge us anything extra but let’s just say that Victoria and I will hopefully never make the same mistake again.

On Sunday I was excited for Victoria to finally show me her city, Sheffield. We started our day with brunch at The Cabin which is an amazing waffle house which channels Canadian vibes! The owner had Canadian flags up, pictures of Banff and Lake Louise, and even had Canadian merchandise. Even better was how delicious the food was – The portion was super generous and we were able to upgrade to real Canadian maple syrup, yum! So if ever you are in Sheffield, make sure you stop by this adorable spot.
17092449_10154231883037513_1864180880_n17078640_10154231883042513_1155591338_n

We then explored more of the city center where we saw Town Hall which has nothing in it which is truly disappointing given that it is such a beautiful building. We also decided to visit the nearby church. Here we were greeted by Rob P. Brown, a wonderful tour guide that was so happy to show us around and tell us his story. We felt really lucky to have crossed paths with him that day.

17012641_10154231883047513_66227366_n17078026_10154231883062513_1750134938_n

We then headed home where we had a home cooked meal. Victoria made an amazing cinnamon loaf which I devoured. We watched movies and hung out which was so fun and relaxing and long overdue!

I think its important to take advantage of the fact that you have the whole of England at your finger tips, especially if you have someone who can host you, and travel as much as you can.

Cheers!

1 2 3 12