I had been seating in the plane on my now 11th hour of travelling, when I started to feel cold… extremely cold. I searched my backpack for my sweater and then rolled the aeroplane blanket around my legs. I was really nervous of arriving in the UK, I started thinking about how I would get to the university. I did not know how far the university was or how the transport system in the UK worked and I was half nervous, half excited to finally find out.
When I was still at home packing, I had read the University of Surrey pre-departure guide and came across a FREE airport Meet & Greet pick-up service from the University. Thank God I signed up for it because when I arrived at the Gatwick airport, my heart dropped to my stomach… It was much busier than I had anticipated and I quickly got flustered. I could not imagine trying to find a taxi whilst not knowing where it would be headed to; worse still- trying to find a money changing station to get money to pay the taximan to take me to the university that I had no clue was located…
I followed the signs to the arrivals where I was supposed to meet my ‘cavalry’- the University of Surrey airport Meet & Greet pick-up team.
I walked across the platform a number of times looking for something remotely related to the University of Surrey (according to my own internet research). I could not seem to spot them anywhere, my bags were now becoming heavier by the minute and I was on my own… getting more frantic by the minute. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone holding up a sign with the University of Surrey logo. At the time, I was so relieved… he seemed to be standing miraculously in a warm glow of light… I nearly leaped at him in joy! I noticed several other students in ambassador uniform next to him and they helped me with my two big suitcases all the way until the train platform which was upstairs. After holding onto those two big bags on my own over the whole journey, I really appreciated their help.
I remember nearly boarding the train to ‘Bedford’ because in my mind, it sounded similar to ‘Guildford’ and therefore, the train would surely be crossing near there. Oh dear! If it was not for the ambassador helping me, I think I might have been lost forever…
I got onto the correct train and then the ambassador left. I was taken all the way to the Guildford station where there were other ambassadors waiting for me. They took my suitcases to a University of Surrey minivan which was waiting for us outside. I got to meet other new students who had just arrived as well. We were all beaming with excitement. We boarded the vehicle and made our way to our University accommodation which was also another busy and exciting hive of activity. There, I met the Fresher’s Angels who made me feel even more welcome. My nerves had calmed down and I was now finally looking forward excitedly to start my university experience.
For more information on the University of Surrey Meet & Greet Service follow this link: www.surrey.ac.uk/international-pre-departure-guide/travelling-to-university
That’s all for now folks!