From Pakistan to Surrey

Hear the perspectives of a current Pakistani student.

Day Trips Organised by the Student Union!

Hello Everyone!

Every year the Student Union gives us an opportunity to explore the UK at a very reasonable cost by organizing day trips to different cities and towns. Luckily i was able to get tickets for around 3 of the trips i wanted to go.  Well i had the opportunity to visit Salisbury and Portsmouth with them at a very minimal cost by bus in the past weeks. The Bus usually leaves campus at 9 am on a Saturday morning so u have to wake up early in any case if you do not want to miss the trip.

So the first trip I participated going to Salisbury on for a mere 9 pounds.The bus picked us up at  8 am and was scheduled to return to campus at 7pm. The main attraction in the Salisbury cathedral and its a city which is only 9 miles away from Stonehenge. Yes you heard it right, Stonehenge! Stonehenge is perhaps the world’s most famous prehistoric monument. It was built in several stages: the first monument was an early henge monument, built about 5,000 years ago, and the unique stone circle was erected in the late Neolithic period about 2500 BC. I had the opportunity to see it live and it really mesmerizing. In Salisbury, we visited the famous Cathedral and Old Sarum. Old Sarum is one of the most enthralling and historically important sites in southern England. Uniquely, it combines a royal castle and cathedral within an Iron Age fortification, and for 150 years was a major center of both secular and ecclesiastical government.



My second  day trip was Portsmouth. Portsmouth is a city which is located in the south of England by the sea. There are lots of things to do in Portsmouth, with magnificent museums, live music venues, contemporary art galleries, two cathedrals, a diverse literary heritage, nightlife, festivals and countless events throughout the year. I had a chance to visit the Emirates Spinnaker tower which gives a 360 view of the Portsmouth and the islands nearby. After the spinnaker tower we had a chance to relive the history of  this city by visiting the historic dockyard which was located just beside the tower itself. I got the opportunity to see some old ships and history related to it. There is also a very big outlet mall  which is a good place to shop around if you need branded stuff at a low cost.

Well i had very good time in both the trips and now looking forward to the third trip which i booked Brighton!

Have a good Week! See you next week!

Students’ Union!!

Hello Everyone,

Hope you all are doing well. This week i am going to talk about the students’ union. Well i have realized that most of the people don’t know about the student union and what they actually do. In this Blog ill tell you all everything about the Student Union that you need to know so sit back and enjoy!

The University of Surrey Students’ Union is not-for-profit charity, independent from the University that represents all University of Surrey students on a local and national level. The Student Union office located in the same building as the Rubix night club and it is easily accessible for students.The union is led by 5 full time sabbatical officers, as well as 21 part time student officers. Every student is by default a member of the union. The union is split into 4 different zones: Voice, Activity, Support, and Community. Each zone is led by a full time officer. I’ll briefly explain what the four zones do:

Voice Zone- They are responsible for finding out students opinions on different issues that have an impact on student life at the university. The voice zone works alongside course representative for each faculty and level. This involves taking a lead on feedback surveys, ensuring all our election processes are fair and accessible by all students, and supporting students by raising awareness about the causes that they are passionate about.

Activity Zone-They are responsible for helping students increase their participation in extra-curricular activities without any barriers, such as being involved in sports clubs & societies.This involves campaigning for individual development through involvement in sports clubs & societies, taking a lead on promoting our Duke of Edinburgh Award programme, and running activities that students can get involved in.

Support Zone-They basically oversee the welfare of students (academic support, well-being support, training and development). The support zones also ensure that the Union has student support in mind, in all its activities.  This involves supporting students with well-being campaigns and ensuring that the feedback given by students on University support services is acted upon accordingly.

Community Zone- They are responsible for bringing student community together. This is done by, integrating the student community into the local community, and ensuring that there are volunteering opportunities available for students. This involves taking a lead on the entertainment & social activities on campus, welcoming new students and creating opportunities for students to participate in the local community.

The union is easily accessible by all the students and its always helpful to interact with one of the VPs of the zone.

Have a good Week! See you next week!



A Trip To Scottish Highlands

Hi all,

The first term came to an end and it was the best time of the year, the holiday season!As the Christmas break started, I had planned a trip to Scotland with some of my friends. We had planned to travel just before Christmas as i had exams starting just after my Christmas break and had to start revising obviously because it kept bugging me.

One of the coolest thing living in England is that u get a chance to visit some very beautiful places every now and then. For going to Scotland we don t even require a visa so it was relatively easy to plan. 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. The Train took me around 4 hours to reach my destination Edinburgh!

After arriving at the Edinburgh station, we walked to the hostel we booked beforehand which was just 5 mins away from the train station and in the center of Edinburgh and near the famous Edinburgh Castle. The Hostel we booked cost us around £16 per person per night and we had planned to stay there for 2 nights.


Edinburgh Castle!

As Soon as we checked in it was time explore the streets and the beauty of Edinburgh. After having our lunch, it was raining so we decided to explore some of the indoor attractions first such as some of the famous museums.. The National History Museum is massive and literally took us 2 hours to walk around. It was free entry (Best for students!) and we were inside pretty much hours looking at all the exhibits. We also visited the Museum of Childhood which brought back some lovely memories of the toys/books we used to own as children. We peeked into the National Library, which is also a grand old building. We also visited the Camera Obscure and world of illusions and we were left pretty amazed by the attractions it offered.


On Day 2, We had booked a tour to Scottish Highland tour which was 12 hours long and took us around almost all of the highland beauties. We Went around to The Cairngorm Mountains , Inverness , Loch Ness , Ben Nevis (UK’s highest mountains) and Glencoe. I was very amazed by seeing these beautiful highlands and wanted to explore more but we weren’t allowed to stay a place more than an  hour because of time restrictions. At night after coming back to Edinburgh we had a chance to attend one of the comedy shows in the city.

A View of Ben Nevis Mountains                                                                                                                Iverness



Day 3 was the last day we had and we had planned to travel back to London at 4 pm. Unfortunately, we had to check out early in the morning due to hostel policies. we visited the sites that were slightly outside the city of Edinburgh. This included the Botanical Gardens and the hike up to Carlton Hill. Both again, had free entry, much to my excitement.


A 360 View from Carlton Hill

All in all, it’s a beautiful city with such friendly people (although sometimes it was tough understanding their accents). I would  like to visit it again sometime soon.

However, Now i am back to reality as the second semester has already started and a lot seems to have taken place after that trip including the exams. (they weren’t so bad jbtw!). Have a good Week! See you next week.

A Look into University Accommodation

Hello Everyone!

Hope you are all doing well. This week i am going to look into the accommodation options at our beautiful university campus here. As i mentioned in my last blog, I live in Cathedral Court at the stag hill campus which is almost just 2 minutes away from the library. The university accommodation is divided into 6 different bands ranging from Band A to Band F. I live in a Band C accommodation where i am living in flat with 6 other people of different nationalities. Its a wonderful experience to share and learn about different people and it helps to grow us a lot.

Accommodation is located at Stag Hill (main campus), Manor Park, which is near the Surrey Sports Park, or Hazel Farm. In my opinion, convenience is the biggest advantage of living at Stag Hill campus since the lecture theatres and seminar rooms are within Stag Hill, while students who do sports and gym quite often could consider living at Manor Park since it’s just a few minutes’ walk from Manor Park to our Sports Park.To me, although Hazel Farm is slightly far away from the main campus when comparing with the others, the surrounding environment is quiet and nice! If a more affordable option is the thing you’re seeking, it would be an ideal place to live.What’s more, the rent of Hazel Farm includes a free bus pass which you can go from Hazel Farm to Stag Hill campus, from Stag hill campus to town or wherever places in Guildford you want at any time.

A wide range of student accommodation is offered by the university and students can choose from band A to F according to the price and amenities provided. Preferences such as band and single or mixed sex can be indicated when applying for the accommodation, but these are only preferences and cannot be guaranteed that the allocation is exactly same as what has been indicated. Yet, the university would try their best to allocate accommodation according to our preferences.

A typical Band D accommodation!

Personally, I really recommend living in university accommodation to start your life at Surrey. Staying away from your parents and sharing a flat with someone else may be hard and challenging, but there are always places where you can find support from in the university. Once you are used to it and have got along with you flatmates well, living in university accommodation is fun.

If you have any queries regarding the accommodation just drop me an email at

Have a good Week! See you next week.



My Journey to UK from Pakistan

Hello Everyone! I am Ahsan Ilyas and I am currently doing my Masters in Mobile and Satellite Communications at the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering. I was born and raised in Karachi and spent there about 19 years of my life before moving to Malaysia for pursuing my undergraduate in Electronic and Communications Engineering.  I’m a very happy going Pakistani student here not just to study but make more friends and explore this side of the world. I will be in contact with all you directly as well as with my blogs.

Well my journey has been very diverse one as spending my undergrad life in Malaysia has taught me a lot of things about living an independent life. It was an experience that has helped me grow a lot as a person where I met a lot of people from different backgrounds from all around the world. Living in Pakistan for 19 years and then moving to a different country for my bachelors was not an easy thing but the experience was worth and that experience was the reason I decided to apply to the UK for my masters.

After completing my undergraduate from University of Nottingham Malaysia campus, I moved back to Pakistan and worked for almost a year in the Telecom Industry. I always wanted to do something different and wanted to stand out in what I do. Well I had researched a lot and already decided that I would apply to UK for my masters. I looked into different universities and an ample amount of courses but University of Surrey stood out because of the unique courses it offered. It wasn’t an easy decision to make but the course that surrey offered was exactly what I wanted to do. They had set up a 5G research centre and I eagerly wanted to be a part of it and that made my decision even easier for me. Plus I wanted to be closer to London so I could spend my weekends there and University of Surrey was just 30 minutes away from it. Well who doesn’t want to stay closer to London! It’s Just 30 minutes away now!

When I got my offer letter, the level of excitement could not be expressed and I was excited because I knew I was going to UK for a year full of excitement and adventures. I couldn’t wait to apply for my visa and travel to my university to start my masters. I got my accommodation offer for  Cathedral Court at stag hill campus which is our main campus so I live just 2 mins away from the library and only 5 min away from the student association. Everything is so close that even the lecture block is just seconds away from my court.


This is a picture of the campus in Autumn!

It’s the best time to be at this university because we are currently celebrating our 50th Anniversary and it has been a really exciting 2 months journey for me as I have managed to make friends from all around the globe. I am really excited to be here and couldn’t ask for more.  I am really looking forward to this adventure as I might experience my first ever snow as because it was -6C yesterday morning. I am so excited beacuase  these winters are going to be so much fun and I am going to experience my first proper Christmas celebrations. I will keep you all posted on my adventures here – please keep an eye out for my blogs.

Have a nice day!

Ahsan Ilyas

Applicants for Sept 2016 intake!

Hey Folks!

Sorry for not being regular lately. Since semester two is the final semester for a Masters student, you do get a couple of challenges and tasks that need to be completed on time.

Anyway, today I’ll be focusing on the students willing to start their degree here at University of Surrey in September 2016. If you haven’t already, please start the application process soon. It often gets quite tough towards the end of the application dates. Usually the applications end before the closing date as the number of applications received by the University for a particular degree reach their maximum limit. In order to avoid any disappointments and to ensure you’re selected for the programme of your choice, this is the right time to apply.
Applicants will find all details required to meet the criteria on the specific page for each programme. What I have learnt from my application process is that before you apply, double check whether you have fulfilled all the requirements. List down the requirement criteria and strike off the ones you’ve satisfied and try to complete the others swiftly. Try to avoid applying to any university without completing the checklist. It gives a negative impression and shows how (un)serious an applicant is.

A personal letter has a heavy weightage on your application. Spend quality time in writing your personal letter as it defines who you are and why the University should accept your application. It shouldn’t be very lengthy, but a good letter focusses on your reasons for wanting to study the course and explain how you’re right for the course. In short, sell your self!

Once the application has been submitted, the thing I hated the most was to wait for an answer. But believe me, the wait was worth it! Make sure you don’t the valuable time and start preparing your self for the visa interview. Its not tough, but one has to be well prepared. Not just for the physical interview, but for the entire process. Country specific lists and requirements are given on the UKVI website. Usually the appointments for interview takes time, thereore plan ahead.

I hope you all are as excited as I was!

So the much awaited break is finally here, Easter and Spring break. A month off- the best part of being a student! Sunny days are finally back. I haven’t witnessed three consecutive sunny days since I got here until this week. It actually feels good. I did take a week off and travelled around England, but the best way to make use of the vacations is to get back on track with the modules as we’re almost towards the end of not only the semester, but the entire Masters! On one hand I’m excited as I’ll be done, but on the other I feel sad to be ending my student and university life. Probably once of the best experiences I had studying here.



PS: to see what’s happening in Surrey, feel free to follow me on Instagram:

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