Crossing the Atlantic

An insight into life at Surrey from current US students

The Chores of Adulthood: How Surrey Makes it Easy

What’s amazing about the Uni experience is having freedom and independence from living with your parents. But there is a dark side to that freedom, that being the added responsibility of adulthood and taking care of yourself. Fortunately, the University of Surrey makes it pretty easy to be self sufficient with all the adult chores that you’ll have to do, making the dark side not so dark after all. Here are a few of the main responsibilities you’ll encounter and how the Uni helps you out with them.

Grocery shopping: Before starting in my undergrad, I had helped my mom by getting groceries on occasion from a list she had given me. I didn’t realize that creating your own list with healthy food that can sustain you for a week or two could be challenging until I had to do it myself. Once you understand that cooking is basically just heating stuff up and it doesn’t have to be hard, the more stressful part becomes finding the time to get food. Unlike in my undergrad, the local supermarket, Tescos, is in a super convenient location. It’s in between the Manor Park campus and Stag Hill campus, about a 10 minute walk from each. It’s open 24/7 (except for Sundays, it closes at 4, so don’t make the same mistake I did of showing up at Tescos Sunday night with no food for the week) and they have more food options than you know what to do with. If you’re on campus and it’s one of those nights where you’re studying late at the library and realize you ate your last slice of bread and have nothing for breakfast or if you want a late night snack to keep you awake while you study during exam period, luckily for you, there’s Simply Fresh. Simply Fresh is the on campus food store in the same building as the library. Though not as big as Tescos, it has a surprising amount of things you can get for groceries and they have hot and cold lunch options during the day. It’s open until 11 pm most nights which is faaaaantastic.

Must-Have Apps for Guildford

Ah, technology. If you have a smartphone, this post is for you! The following are apps that will help you get settled and make the most of your time in Guildford.

Essential Apps:

University of Surrey: The university’s very own app has a helpful map of campus and information about Guildford and the surrounding London area. Within this app you have access to images of all different bands of accommodation and to read about notable Guildford hot spots. These accommodation images helped me plan what to pack for my room. Disappointingly, this app is quite limited and will likely only be used while you are getting acquainted with the area. The app could do with a content upload but it is definitely beneficial nonetheless.

Lessons Learnt

There are incredible benefits to studying abroad for your full degree: travel, culture, education quality, and impressive job opportunities. Studying abroad grants eye-opening experiences. Previously, I have not delved into the details of the lessons that I have learnt, but as I come to the end of my longest time spent away from home (over a year), now seems like the right moment.

Lesson 1: I am very lucky

I’ve always known I was fairly lucky, but after moving to England the scope of the matter became much clearer. Thanks to my parents, I can focus on my studies without the worry of tuition and travel Europe with money I save on the side. As there is not the same expectation that their parents will fund their tuition, most students I know in England have student loans. Side jobs and cutting costs is typical. I had the idea that if you really wanted to do something, you would just reprioritize your spending. One of moments that revealed discrepancies in that philosophy was when I wanted to go to Disneyland with a couple friends, but they just didn’t have the money. I was confused that they couldn’t make it happen if they wanted to. It sounds like a very silly lesson to learn, but understanding the situation of my close friends has been an important lesson that I can relate to other people I meet. It is not that they didn’t want to go or didn’t work a side job, it was that life is expensive and hard work does not always mean having the money to do what you want all the time. Even with most of my life expenses covered, I have learnt to budget. This year, where I am paying my own way with the money I make on placement, I feel the strains and pressures of not having enough money. It’s really eye-opening to understand other people’s situations. I am breaking out of the bubble.

Surrey Sports Park: Let me help break it down for you

Ok. So in a previous post I wrote about how to get motivated to do school work instead of continuously indulging in Netflix and mentioned how physically getting my body moving helps me get the wheels in my mind turning for assignments. As someone who likes some variety in activity (aka I have tried many of the classes offered in the Sports Park), I thought it might be helpful to debrief on what some of these classes are like to make them seem less mysterious and intimidating!

*Note: I have the full membership, which allows free access to all of the classes offered throughout the day (this costs 235 pounds per year, basically if you take at least four classes a month, then you’re getting your moneys worth). The Surrey Sports Park site explains their membership options so you can choose what makes most sense for your needs, it keeps you updated with events they are hosting, has their class schedule for each semester, and a place for you to see whether classes are full or not and can book a spot in the class you are interested in.

Accommodation at Surrey: A Comprehensive Guide

Happy Friday! As the second semester begins, I am sure you are closer to deciding whether or not Surrey is the right fit for you (I think it is, but hey – I might be biased 😉 ). My fellow student ambassadors and I have been receiving a lot of questions regarding on-campus accommodation lately so I figured I’d write a post about living at Surrey that will hopefully answer all of your questions.

An Overview

England is very different to the United States for many, many reasons. One of the biggest differences is that England is a smaller country on an island whereas the United States is one of the largest countries in the world. There are a lot of perks associated with being a small island – greater transport connectivity, quicker travel times, etc. –  the list goes on.  However, size also brings about some difficulties such as housing and living space. The rental housing market in the UK is extremely competitive and can be quite costly.

Cinema and Theatre

London is an epicentre of culture and arts. With the West End, the equivalent of Broadway, thriving in central London, attending a theatre show is a must. There is an incredible variety of shows that are available with varying prices. The West End can be expensive, but buying tickets at the right time can help. Several months ago, I signed up for SEE Ticket’s email list. I receive updates about events to attend and various discounts. One of the best emails I received was before Christmas and offered half-off West End tickets for the months of January and February. The deal included all major shows including The Lion King, Book of Mormon, Wicked, and Phantom of the Opera. I bought two tickets to Wicked for my sister and I for only £40 total instead of £80! We had amazing seats with an incredible view of the stage. The deal goes on every year, so sign up and experience the West End in all its glory for student prices!

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