Hello Latin Americans! Chile meets Surrey!


My name is Diego, I am originally from Santiago de Chile (comuna de La Florida). I came to this country almost 5 years ago! I am currently on my 3rd year (5th if you include Industrial Placement year and Foundation year) of MEng Mechanical Engineering at Surrey. This is my first post here and I would just like to introduce myself so you guys know who I am.

It all started back on my country, I was given the opportunity to come to the UK to further continue with my studies at a Higher Education level. This opportunity was very difficult for me to take as it would mean to leave my family and friends behind to pursue this goal. After lots of thinking, I finally took the decision to move to the UK once I finished my high school studies on 2012 and from then on, my life has been totally different.

After I arrived here and before focusing on University, I was told that my English level was not the best! (it is not very popular or needed to learn at a high school level on my country). This was a big impact for myself as it meant that my plans for the near future were compromised (looking at pretty much all of my friends who were already undergoing on their 1st year of University back on my country made me doubt on my decision to come here). I had to take English classes for approximately 6 to 7 months until my English reached a level in which I felt comfortable with to use at an academic level.

At this point I was ready to look for Universities, however, another drawback was just about to happen!

I met this website/organisation called UCAS, who are responsible of scoring your grades and previous studies giving you a revised score which then you use for applying to Universities.

I was told that my high school studies were not enough to apply to an undergraduate degree! I was now on a position that actually showed me how wrong I was of coming to the UK to study.

I was ready to give up, until I stumbled upon the ‘International Foundation Year’ process. This came to me like a gift from heaven. It meant that with only 7 to 9 months of study I could level up my previous high school knowledge with the knowledge that an 18-year old person would have at this country (something called ‘A-levels’, which takes around 2 years for students here). I was not entirely happy with the idea of ‘losing’ another year of my life before going to an actual university, however, I was wrong, I was not losing another year because I found the University of Surrey.

The University of Surrey provides an International Foundation Year at the University itself! sharing lecture halls, the library, students union, restaurants, night clubs and all the rest that the University ‘life’ has to offer with this programme. Having looked at this and to be honest with you, looking at the average time it takes to study a Bachelors degree at my country of 5 years, I said this is a win-win situation.

On February of 2014 I was starting my studies at the University of Surrey.

Since then, the University has had a great impact on my life. I met a lot of people, who I can now call my friends. I joined societies and events which I would never have thought of joining. But most importantly I have developed myself at a personal and professional level quite dramatically! I am a totally changed person from when I first started at this University and I am very grateful to what Surrey and its teachings has given me. (I will expand more on this on other posts!)

I am now, as previously mentioned, on my 3rd year of studies and joined the Students Ambassadors scheme. I want to share my experience and life at the University, so you can see what Surrey has got to offer and probably help you on your decision!