Living as a student in England is quite a different experience than as a college student in America. There are virtually no roomates, nor are there fraternities or sororities. That certainly doesn’t mean there’s no social fun at uni here. On the contrary, you’ll come to find it’s quite a lot better.
So long as you meet the deadline to apply, Surrey will guarantee you housing for the year. The accommodation is dotted over the Stag Hill and Manor Park campuses, only a short walk from one another. Further, it is arranged into bands and it is these bands that you select. They range A-F, with A being the cheapest, F being the most expensive, and D being the most common. There are pluses and minuses to each, but I will discuss band D here in further detail as it’s most common and what I was allocated last year.
Get ready to make all of your American friends jealous: Band Ders here get their own bathrooms. That’s right, the full shower, toilet, and sink all just for you. The rooms are arranged into flats of around seven, meaning that seven of us will share a kitchen and dining area along a corridor with seven rooms. And, as I said, it’s your room and only your room. Having said that, don’t be expecting a huge anti-social scene (not all Brits are always sarcastic and emotionally repressed). The flats are where you will find the people you spend the most time with, from hosting a party in the flat to all going out to an event together. It’s a great way to meet people and still have your own space. Further, unless requested, the flats are mixed gender, giving you even greater opportunity to make new social circles here at Surrey.
Second Year and Beyond
As fun as the flats are, most people here choose to move on in their second year. If you really can’t tear yourself away from your new-found home at Bellerby Court, though, worry no because Surrey will endavour to guarantee you housing for two years (and at least the first year) for all non-EU students. Most people, however, choose to get together with a group of friends and find accommodation elsewhere. Luckily here at Surrey, the Accommodation Office will be here for you regardless of where you live. They can help you and your friends find you a place, or point you to the estate agent that can. They’ll also review contracts to ensure that no one at Surrey gets ripped off or put in an unfortunate position. I chose to live with one of my friends and one of his coursemates, and we walked into Foxtons and explained what we were after. A few short months later, we found ourselves moving into a lovely grange house built in the 1860s, just the sort of place Americans love to see when they come across the pond. It’s great to be able to manage your own house, choosing our own TV, décor, and social schedules. Of course, if things go sour, we can always rely on the accommodation office as well as university housing, but living on your own is truly a better experience than any fraternity could be in America.
This post has been amended to reflect the changes in guarnteed accomodation for international students from 2015-16.