Hi guys! How is everyone doing? It has been a busy week for me, since exams are in full swing at the moment. So I took a short break, got out of reading lecture notes and textbooks, and wrote this blog to kind of refresh my mind.
Okay, what’s the topic today? It’s about packing. As I mentioned last week, you may start doing preparation for departure to the UK after you apply for a student visa. This includes packing your luggage, as you’re gonna settle down in a foreign country for at least three years. In fact, you could always get advice from your education agent, or raise questions in the pre-departure event. The committee of Malaysia Society of our university always attend the pre-departure event. I am sure that they can help with your queries and share their experiences with you.
I deeply understand that it is pretty difficult to pack everything you need into two suitcases (I struggled to take out items to avoid luggage overweight). However, I would say that Guildford has most of the things you need. There are at least three supermarkets in Guilford (Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury), tons of clothing stores and also stores that sell electrical devices and kitchen utensils. Therefore, try to bring something that cannot be found in the UK or cheaper in Malaysia but a lot pricier in the UK. For example, I brought a rice cooker from Malaysia since it is more expensive in the UK, and I am not familiar with the home appliance brands in UK.
The first thing to bring would be clothes. The weather in the UK is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced in Malaysia. The weather in Guildford can vary from -2 degree to 20 degree, depending on the seasons. It is always cold and windy from September to November, very cold in December and January (sometimes it snows!), and the weather starts to increase in February (spring) until June and July (summer). However， summer in Guildford is cool and warm, it is unlike the weather in Malaysia (very hot!). Therefore, I would suggest not to bring too many short shirts and pants, but bring some jeans and hoodies. Also, I would suggest to bring only a jacket/coat with you because the jackets in the UK are cheaper and the quality is better. The shoes are cheaper in the UK too. Sometimes, on Black Friday and Christmas sales, they are a steal 😊.
You might worry about if there is any Asian food/ingredients in Guilford. There is an Asian grocery store in town centre (right opposite the bus station) where you can get many Malaysian, Thai, Chinese and Korean products. I always buy kimchi and sauces there. There are a variety of instant noodles as well, including Maggi (but the price is slightly higher than that in Malaysia). Moreover, London is only 40 minutes away by train. There are many Asian grocery stores and Malaysian restaurants in Chinatown. (By the way, there is a Malaysia restaurant called 马来一哥in Chinatown, which is my favourite 😊)Hence, there is no need to bring too many Maggi and Milo. Also, remember to check the list of prohibited items to the UK, for example, meat and dairy products.
I think that’s all what I could think of at the moment. Some of my friends also bring family pictures with them. For more information, check out the Surrey University Website for pre-departure guides and other general advices. This website from British Council Malaysia is very useful too : https://www.britishcouncil.my/sites/default/files/malaysia_pdb_april_2017.pdf
By the way, when you arrive in the UK, you might find it hard to get to the university on your own. Therefore, I would suggest you to sign up for the ‘Meet and Greet’ event through our university website before departure, so that you could be picked up from Heathrow Airport/ Gatwick Airport by student ambassadors.
I hope that this blog would somehow help you who are going to study in our university in your pre-departure preparation. I will try to think and write more pre-departure tips if I can think of any. Have a nice weekend! See you next week!