From Spain to Surrey

Learn about life at Surrey from a student from Spain

Day-to-day

Since this is probably going to be your first time living on your own, I believe you are looking for a university that provides all the services you need to live your daily live in a comfortable and convenient way. University of Surrey definitely has all the means to satisfy your needs.

Starting from the very important, when it comes to shopping food, there are different options.
• In the ground floor of the library you can find Simply Fresh. This is a quite convenient supermarket mostly considering the location. You can find bakery, day meals, sweets, donuts, veggies, fruit, juices, chips, pizzas, medicine, alcohol, coffee… almost everything you can think of. It is great to go down to buy some treats while you are studying, buy day meal deals or do small shoppings. However, I wouldn’t´t recommend to do the general big buying. It opens from 7.00 to 23.00 weekly, and a bit shorter on weekends.
• Tesco is a HUGE super market that is open 24h everyday apart from Sundays. It’s located in Manor Park, you can get there in a 3 minute bus ride or a 10 minute walk from Stag Hill campus. It´s perfect for big shoppings paying reasonable prices. I strongly recommend to apply for the loyalty card online at the beginning of the year, completely for free, to start accumulating points and then get discounts. When I came to campus for the first time in September, here is where I did all my shopping of plates, cutlery, towels, pans, pots… you might find this information useful this September!
There are always a lot of deals, offers and reduced prices at the end of the day. They also do free delivery when a minimum amount is spent, so it is a great option (and lot of people do it) to do a big online shopping together with flatmates.
• All Thursdays there is a farmers market organised in Rubix (in the main campus, Stag Hill). You can find GREAT quality fruit and veggies at cheaper prices than in the supermarkets, delicious bread, cakes, and different international food tents (SPANISH PAELLA INCLUDED!). You really need to go one day, and after that, you will literally fall in love and star going every week.

If you want to disconnect and chill having a coffee with your friends, we have Starbucks and Lakeside Cafe. The students of hospitality run this last one, with the aim of getting the opportunity to live in first hand how to run a café feels like. There are a lot of students that go to study or work in group projects to both (I include myself). Apart from that, if you just feel lazy to cook, you could go to Lakeside restaurant (again run by students), Wates House, Hillside, Pizzaman… No matter where you go, you will always find a friendly environment full of students.

Even if you might not do it now, you will need to start washing your own clothes. The laundry service will be really close to your house. No matter if you live in Stag Hill Campus, Manor Park or Hazel Farm, you will have your laundrette there with a bunch of washers and dryers (and a television and pretty good wifi!!). There are two ways to pay: by a top up card, in which you put money online or by a mobile app. Washing is around 2.10 pounds and drying 1.10 pounds. Although at first doing laundry can sound the worst thing ever, I actually enjoy it when I go with my friends!

Regarding school material, Apple seed is located in the ground floor of the library, right in front of Simply Fresh (mentioned before). This is the University Bookshop, any books that you are required to buy, the bookshop will normally have in stock at the beginning of the year. They can also order in books for you and they have reduced stock occasionally. Some Societies arrange second-hand book sales/exchanges throughout the year, too. Apart from books, you can buy notebooks, t-shirts, pens, sweaters and many more things with the university logo. I bought my university hoodie there! It is an excellent place to go if you need to buy any kind of teaching aid stuff.

As time goes by, I´m sure you will start having your small routines all around that will help you start feeling like home!

Add to University a new country, new culture and new people!

In the last post we were talking about the placement, which is a year where you get to have a working experience abroad. But, what about having the experience of doing a studying exchange? Will you also be into experiencing this adventure?

Apart from the Professional Training Year as part of your degree, University of Surrey gives the opportunity to have a lifetime experience studying out of the country, which will help you develop and grow professional and personal skills and values. Thanks to this experience, you will get to know another new country, new culture and new people, which is in my opinion the most enriching learning in life.

The exchange experience does not acquire extra university fee payments, you will just have to pay for your flights, accommodation and living expenses in your time there.
There are study exchange opportunities in many subject areas. It can take place either in the second year for one semester or the full year or as an alternative to a work placement in the Professional Training Year, depending on your degree course. The University of Surrey has Erasmus agreements across Europe, and international partners all the world including Canada, USA, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan.
Unfortunately, it is true that the admissions for each university are limited, so not everyone interested in this can get the chance to go on an exchange. However, I’m sure that if you really are looking forward to living the experience, with self management in study and organization and motivation in your day to day you have a high chance to make it happen!!
I was planning to apply at the beginning of the year, but as I’m already living away from home and I also have siblings in university, I though it’d be better to postpone it and maybe do a master abroad later. However, I’ve got two Spanish friends that decided to apply, so they worked hard on their marks and write a good personal statement; they both got the exchange. One of them is going to the University of Florida, and the other to Brock University in Canada. You should definitely take into account that this are the kind of opportunities that studying in Spain will unlikely offer to you.
If you want more details consult Global Opportunities under your degree programme entry. This link will take you to a guide to the Global Opportunities: http://www.surrey.ac.uk/sites/default/files/7807-0416%20Global%20opportunites%20single.pdf
So far, you have probably realised that University of Surrey offers endless opportunities, inside and outside of Guildford, no matter which degree you are in and what your interest are. And, believe me, you still have a lot of Wonderful things that happen here to discover!

Think about your future!

Searching for degrees in Surrey University, you must have seen this option that is called “Sandwich program”, which I had no idea what it was until they explained it to me.

When you come to university, not only should you be thinking about having the best experience during the time studying, but also about the skills, advantages and opportunities these years will provide to your further future. After the hard work on our modules, assignments and exams, the majority of the students want to see all this reflected in having the deserved job we are looking for. University of Surrey understands this, and wants to help each of the students to reach their goal.

The University of Surrey has an outstanding record for graduate Employability. Figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) reveal that 95.6 per cent of Surrey’s 2015 graduates were in work (or further education) six months after they graduated. On average, our graduate employment rate over the past five years is 95 per cent. This is clearly a result of the relentless focus its applied on it.
The Professional Training placements have a big effect on this. These were pioneered 60 years ago and we continue to be a world leader today. Regardless of the degree subject, almost all of its undergraduates have the opportunity to apply for it. Over the past five years, more than 2,300 partner organisations have worked with us to give the students valuable work placements in the UK and abroad.

As I am in my first year, I still cannot share any personal experience about the placement, but I have met a lot of students in their fourth year (who are just back from their placement) and they aways claim having had the best experience of their lives. It is an opportunity to learn a lot around the job and get the feeling of what actually working in a real company is, and gain skills for your own live and grow as a person. Summarising, a very enriching experience.

There is also a Employability and Careers centre in the university, in Stag Hill campus. They offer various different services including one-to-one careers guidance, employer presentations on campus, two annual careers fairs, skills workshops, online vacancy bulletins, careers talks, CV helps and practice interviews. Once again, they are ready to help every student interested on the service as part of of the University of Surrey experience, completely free of charge.

This focus on they have on the careers of the students in Surrey was definitely one of de main reasons why I chose to come here, as a big distinguishing from other universities. If you want to find out more about the students personal experiences or do a deeper research on this services offer, go to this link: http://www.surrey.ac.uk/discover/careers. You will find plenty of information to dig into that will definitely mark a positive step towards choosing our university, where wonderful things happen!

Take a train (and maybe a flight)!

Let’s leave the university related blogs for today.

We all know that apart from the quality of the university and the opportunities it gives you, it is really important to have a great surrounding that lets you make the most of your time here!!! And… is there anything better than being around 36 minutes away from London by train?

Last year, every time I though about coming to study to England, I automatically thought about how amazing was it going to be to travel all around, to have people visiting, live experiences together here… Flights from all over Spain to London are so cheap!!! There is a direct train service running from Gatwick airport to Uni, and Heathrow airport is also close, but you will need to take a bus and a train if you are flying there.

Since I came, I have been to London around 5 times, with uni friends, or my Spanish friends visiting me here. It is definitely a great Saturday plan, to do some sight seeing and shopping! I have always bought a return travel card (which costs around £20, not expensive), but there are a lot of ticket options depending on the hours and the number of people travelling. You can buy the ticket online or in Guildford Station (which is 5-10 minutes walk from uni).

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The train goes directly to Waterloo Station, which is located really close to the London Eye and the Big Ben. Every time I have been I have just walked all during the day, visiting Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, Oxford Street… there is not need to buy underground pass (I feel that’s great), but if you wanna you further or you’re just lazy to walk, there are travel cards including all day underground service too. As you all probably know, you can find anything you want in this beautiful city, no matter what your tastes are, you will always have a suitable plan. For example, one friend from home is coming on May, and we are going to a concert together in London. These are the kind of days you will surely never forget!!!

In addition, being located near these airports also gives you the opportunity to travel all around Europe (and the world). Flights are way cheaper here than in Spain. I know a lot of friends who have been to Amsterdam for just 30 pounds, you can go to Milan for 24 pounds and basically all around the continent for less that 80 pounds. In fact, I have a friend who is going on exchange, and I´m planing to go visit her to Florida (which living in Spain would be almost impossible considering prices). You might be asking yourselves how we have time for all of this, but if you manage to organise well yourself and studies, in University of Surrey I have had a lot of holidays comparing to Spain (almost one month on Christmas, literally all April…).

I strongly recommend to buy a 16-25 railcard, I think that this will help you save a lot of money when using the train service. You can apply for it online and it costs 30 pounds for a year. Once you buy it, you get almost a third part of the amount spending off. Considering that you will at least pay for the train each time you are going home, you should definitely consider this option.

In conclusion, apart from all the things unique that this university has in the academic and every day living aspect, thanks to the location and facilities around it I would say (and already started experiencing) that a UNFORGETTABLE and LIFETIME adventure is guaranteed!!!

WHERE WILL I BE LIVING?

Where will I be living? Who am I going to live with? How is my room going to look like? How does accommodation work? Will I get my own room? My own toilet and shower? This where just some of the few questions that came to my mind as soon as I realised I was leaving home.

Accommodation in the University of Surrey is organised in a range of bands, which have different things to offer and different prices to pay depending on what you can afford. This rooms are located around the three different campuses that the university owns: Stag Hill campus, Manor Park campus and Hazel Farm campus.

When you do your accommodation request, you will be asked which your preferences are between the bands (A to E):

  • Band A: shared and single rooms. Kitchen, toilet and shower shared.
  • Band B: these rooms are almost like band A rooms, but most of them have a washbasin inside the room.
  • Band C: they are just like band B rooms, but more spacious.
  • Band D: in this case, the rooms are en-suite (toilet and shower in your own room).
  • Band E: these are enhanced en suite bedrooms.

You can unfortunately not be guaranteed that you will be provided the band type you are asking for, seeing as there are almost 15000 people that will live with you in the campus at the same time. You cannot choose which campus you want to live in either, but all three campuses are great so that shouldn’t be a problem at all. I can guarantee that Surrey team will do their best to make sure you get your cosy room!

Flats are usually gender mixed flats, which means you will be living with both boys and girls. However, you also have the opportunity to ask for an all-male or all-female flat.

All first year students are provided accommodation in campus their beginning year, and seeing as that needs to be that way all the following years, you will need to find off-campus accommodation for your second year. Do not worry about this at all, you will make friend as soon as you get here, and you will be really excited about having the opportunity to rent your first house with them all. I’m right now on the process of finding a house, and although we might felt lost at the beginning, University of Surrey’s accommodation centre is always ready to help. There are also plenty off-campus accommodation talks that guide you on all this process. You will never be alone! When third year comes, a lot of people goes on placement year, and since some of them might be your housemates and you do not have someone to leave with, you again have the opportunity to come back to university accommodation. Finally, if you have been on placement and you need to finish your degree on your fourth year, you again need to find somewhere to live by your own (accommodation centre will always be here to help you, do not forget that!).

In my case, I live in a band C room in Battersea court, which is located in Stag Hill campus. I share three toilets and three showers with 14 people, as well as a big kitchen. I perfectly remember the first day I got in, and how I meet each one of them. We now have a really good relationship, we try to do flat meals as often as we can, celebrated Christmas all together and share plenty of culture differences. Apart from the academic aspect, I have learnt a lot from living with my flatmates, things that I’m sure that I will never forget. WONDERFUL THINGS WILL HAPPEN TO YOU TOO!

If you would like to know more about accommodation, you can find lot more information about each band, each court and each campus going online on https://www.surrey.ac.uk/discover/accommodation. There are lots of pictures and videos, prices for each band… go investigate!

 

Get the taste!

Last year, when I had to choose which university I wanted to go to, I could not attend to an Open or Applicant day in Surrey, so I decided to book a campus tour. I came to visit the university with my mom, aunt and grandma and we all LOVED it. A student ambassador took us on a tour around campus and explained everything about the facilities and services available. That morning of June I decided that Surrey would definitely be my future university and that I was going to apply to be a Student Ambassador to help people make their best final decision as that girl did with me.

It is always easier to make a choice once you have seen, lived and interacted with people that have been in your current situation and are experiencing the situation you might be living once your choice is done. That is why in the University of Surrey, we believe that is really important to give you the opportunity to come to visit us and help you be sure about your decision of coming to our university!

There are different ways to do this:

  • Applicant days: this days are exclusive for the people that have applied, and they take place on Wednesdays. After having applied, you will receive and offer to come to join us in our weekly applicant days. In these, you get the chance to go on a campus tour by a student ambassador, view some of the student accommodation, attend a welcome talk where you’ll get more information about the university and finally do some taster classes to make sure you are applying for what you really want to do. Unfortunately, seeing as these occur on Wednesdays, many of you may not be able to come… but don’t worry!!! You have more opportunities to experience all of this!!!
  • Open days: it’s almost like an applicant day, but everyone is welcome to join us. Even if you haven’t applied because you are still not sure about studying abroad, but you might be thinking to apply next year, don’t hesitate to come! The open days are obviously bigger that applicant days due to all the people that take advantage of these events. They happen on set days (usually weekends); in 2017 they are going to be on Friday 30 June and Saturday 1 July; Saturday 16 September and finally Saturday 14 October. More information will be follow soon on www.surrey.ac.uk/opendays .
  • Booked campus tour: if none of the options that I have mentioned suits you, there is also an opportunity to book a campus tour on the university web page. You also get to visit the facilities and services offered. This tour is also normally guided by students at university, so you will also have the opportunity to ask any questions about their experiences and what learning and living in surrey is like. www.surrey.ac.uk/visit-university/campus-tours

I totally encourage you to try your hardest to go all the way up here to get the taste of what your future will be like. If you are up for it, go on the university’s web page, there is a lot of information about all this stuff. DO NOT HESITATE TO VISIT AND EXPERIENCE YOUR FIRST WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE HERE!!!

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