A Malaysian Student’s Warm Welcome to the UK

Stepping onto the grounds of the University of Surrey from the lively streets of Malaysia marked the beginning of an exciting chapter filled with anticipation and a touch of overwhelming novelty. Before my journey began, a pre-departure event back in Malaysia served as a crucial prelude—an opportunity to connect with fellow Malaysians venturing into Surrey for the first time. The Welcome Week, aptly dubbed my initiation into the British academic landscape, unfolded as a vibrant tapestry of experiences—a blend of bewilderment, joy, and the sprouting of enduring friendships.

Arrival and Induction

Upon setting foot on UK soil, a wave of excitement mixed with anticipation for what the Welcome Week had in store. The University of Surrey had thoughtfully organised a series of activities to guide us through the crucial aspects of university life before the official term began. These pre-term events skilfully untangled any confusion, offering a delightful array of experiences that felt akin to treasure hunts, with complimentary food and other enticing goodies awaiting discovery. The allure of freebies, it seems, knows no borders!

Guildford Exploration and Academic Orientation

One of the memorable adventures during the week was a leisurely stroll to Guildford town centre organised by the university. The autumn breeze warmly embraced us as we explored the historic Guildford Castle, and the lively atmosphere of the High Street became a bustling backdrop. As the week progressed, I delved deeper into Guildford’s treasures, with academic-specific sessions providing a comprehensive introduction to the course structure, faculty members, and learning resources.

Settling into Manor Park

To make my new place feel like home, I embarked on a delightful shopping spree, grabbing essentials from spots like Tesco and TK Maxx. Adjusting to life in Manor Park during the enchanting autumn season took a bit of time, but strolling through the town, from local stores to the lively High Street and The Friary, gradually made the unfamiliar feel more familiar.

With my trusty bus pass from Stagecoach, I hopped on buses for convenient travel. This pass not only helped me efficiently get around but also added an extra layer of discovery to my experience, allowing me to immerse myself in the diverse locales of my new surroundings. Although my exploration of the city was more focused on immediate surroundings, this allowed me to appreciate and familiarize myself with the local neighbourhood and its vibrant atmosphere.

Campus and Manor Park Exploration

Daily routines encompassed campus tours and exploring the hidden corners of Manor Park. Each experience, from the lush greenery to the social gatherings at Manor Park Social, contributed to the feeling of being “at home.” In the charming atmosphere of Manor Park, where friendships could form with a bit of luck, I encountered not only the endearing furry friends—from Mabel, the cat that roams around Manor Park, to rabbits, horses, etc—but also connected with fellow students in this unique and welcoming setting.

On campus, The Hive, a multifunctional hub for student interaction, support, and events, emerged as a central space where both relaxation and academic assistance seamlessly converged. The Nest, another campus gem, provided a dedicated area for students to unwind and foster connections in a laid-back atmosphere.

Team Bonding and Coursemates

The Welcome Week crescendoed with a university-organized team bonding activity. Meeting coursemates in a competitive yet relaxed and enjoyable setting forged connections that endure. Some of these coursemates have since evolved into friends whom I attend classes with today!

My group ^^
The finalists!!

The initial weeks in Surrey were like a friendly dance, characterised by confusion, exploration, and the weaving of connections. As autumn leaves descended and friendships blossomed, Surrey gradually transformed into a second home, all thanks to the warm and enriching experiences of the Welcome Week and the amazing people here!