What to bring to Surrey!

Hi there!

Firstly, congratulations on A-Level results for all those who received it yesterday! I’m sure you’ve all done splendidly 😀 I still remember sitting in my room and receiving an email from Surrey University stating that I had been accepted. I immediately rang my mum and was crying hysterically, so much so that she assumed I had not got in :p

It’s a wonderful time now. All the hard work has paid off and it’s the beginning of an amazing new chapter. So today, I thought I’d blog about preparing for university in terms of what to bring when coming to Surrey University for the first time

When I arrived in Sept 2013, my parents were with me. That means I had 100kg of baggage at my disposal and boy did I go a bit crazy with packing. In hindsight now, I realized there were certain things that were silly to bring along which could have been bought here in Guildford itself

I would say the first thing is to pack things that would be irreplaceable and/or difficult to purchase here. I would say these include:

  • Medication
  • Malaysian spices and seasonings (I brought along curry packets such as briyani ayam madu and chicken rice as well as seasonings for rice and noodles such as kampung chicken and ikan bills)
  • Milo
  • Emergency Maggi packets
  • Momentous from home (These are important because it helps with homesickness and makes your university room homey. I brought lots of pictures to put up on my wall for example)
  • Bolster (This sounds silly but it’s quite difficult to purchase here and for someone who sleeps with one every night, I couldn’t not have it)
  • musical instruments (My brother couldn’t live without his guitar and recently moved to University and brought along his guitar)

The weather here in UK is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced in Malaysia. The weather in Guildford varies according to the months. Towards the end of the year it gets quite cold, up to -1 degrees in January even. Then towards the later months, it does warm up. For instance, yesterday was 19 degrees and glorious sunshine! Don’t be fooled though as the weather in England can change within minutes. I would suggest having a good jacket/coat and possibly a pair of thermals from Uniqlo to have when you arrive in England but to do winter shopping here. The clothes are designed for the weather here and with the sales that go on, they’re a steal!

In terms of sports outfits, I would say there’s no need to bring any from home. Primark has a great range of sportswear at reasonable prices. Surrey Sports Park is a mere 20-minute walk + at an amazing price of £235 for just a year and has an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Besides that, there’s lots of sports clubs and societies to join at Team Surrey and I’m sure you will want to get involved

There’s always a reason to dress up well at Surrey University, from Malaysian Society events to many of the different events that happen on campus throughout the year. I brought along a saree, Punjabi suit and a kebaya when moving to the UK and used each a couple of times at least. In terms of dresses, I’ve accumulated around 10-15 ones over the last 4 years from stores such as New Look, Zara and H&M. No point bringing any from home besides a traditional outfit or two because there’s always student deals and sales going on in town

In terms of cutlery, one tip is to have distinguishable forks, spoons, plates, that sort of thing. When you’re in a flat with 13 other students, it’s easy to lose track of your stuff so having it in a different colour/shape would help. Robert Dyas and Tesco sell affordable kitchen stuff but you may end up with identical kitchen wear as half your flat. I used a permanent marker to initial all my kitchen utensils which was useful. Also, I would suggest getting a student cookbook especially for those nights when you just want to make something easy and affordable. There are lots of Facebook pages which have simple student recipes as well

Something I did not anticipate when moving here was that fancy dress is a big thing here in the UK. Besides Halloween, many club nights at Rubix are themed such as Superheros and even the Minions for example. For my first Halloween, I was lucky enough to borrow my housemates Pirate costume for our night out in town. I was amazed that she had come with 5-6 different fancy dress outfits. No need to bring that many though of course.  I would bring one costume if you’re not keen on renting/buying something in Guildford Town Centre. There are a couple of costume stores in Guildford which have inexpensive props for fancy dress outfits

In terms of gadgets, you could always get a mobile contract here in the UK when getting a UK number. Also, get a reliable laptop with an international warranty to avoid issues down the line. I also got a Samsung S4 before moving to the UK and purchased a 12-month Sim-only package from 3. In hindsight though, it may have been cheaper to get a phone and sim package here itself so I would suggest doing some research online beforehand

Anyways, that’s all I can think of for now

Have a lovely weekend all 🙂

Till next time: selamat tinggal x