Hey everyone, Joan here! As promised, I am back with yet another diary entry. It has been in the works for a couple of weeks now, so I am so glad I can finally share. 

Settling into any new environment is not always easy for some and that is understandable, whether it is a new job, school, or- in my case- country, but it is something we all go through. One of my main concerns before coming to Surrey had to do with adjusting to the climate. Being from a country (Nigeria) where heat was a greater concern than cold, I thought I would have a pretty hard time adjusting; luckily, that was not the case.  

When I got to Surrey, before my off-campus accommodation was ready, I lived in the university guest rooms for a week as mentioned in one of my previous blogs. which had good heating facilities so cold was the least of my worries. I loved the accommodation and I regretted not applying for it when I had the opportunity. However, when I finally moved into my apartment, I had to get a portable, energy-saving, electric heater to keep myself warm without raising the electricity bill. So, with my heater and warm clothes, I was able to keep the cold at bay.  

SIDENOTE: Finding an apartment at a reasonable price was not difficult, but it could have been if I did not start searching months before I needed to move, so do that and you will be just fine. My advice is, book the University accommodation, stay on campus. Is far cheaper and comfortable. Also, if you are the kind who likes their space, prefer to live alone (like yours truly. lol), and can afford it, you should opt for a studio apartment with prices ranging from €800 to €900. The University provides studio accommodation. They are comfortable and modern studio apartments. I realized this late and guess what? They are cheaper than getting the same studio apartment off-campus because the bills are included in the rent. But if you are not like me and you do not mind roommates and prefer to stay off-campus, there are lots of shared houses available. you can go for the cheaper option and get a roommate or roommates to split bills. With this arrangement, you will end up paying between €400 and €600 per month, another add-on is you will get to me meet people from different countries.   

Finding my way around the city was another concern of mine when I first got to Surrey, but the Google Maps App and the Train Line App were helpful when navigating the city and learning train and bus routes. With these apps, I did not need to stop to ask for directions at all throughout my trips to Manchester and other cities. 

Online classes started immediately after the school year commenced, and after some weeks some departments like mine (Computer Science) started hybrid learning a mix of online course delivery with face-to-face sessions. It hit hard; lots of reading, assignments, and coursework but I was able to cope.  Thank God the summer break is finally here! It is not all work and no play at the University of Surrey though, the school’s social scene is also very welcoming, offering students -both local and international- with a wide variety of clubs and associations to join depending on their interests. 

FRIENDLY TIP: For the typical homesick Nigerian (like me) there are several African stores to choose from. You can get all kinds of food items, but they are a bit expensive so to be safe you could bring some food items over from Nigeria to save you some extra bucks (that is what I did).  

So, guys, wrapping this entry with advice to any readers preparing to move to Surrey. 

  • Pack enough winter clothes even if you are not arriving during winter (better safe than sorry if you ask me) 
  • Pack some Nigerian food items with you, what food items you might ask? Friendly tip: anything you might miss that does not take up too much space and is not too heavy. 
  • Get a bus pass once you have settled in, which makes transportation cheaper. 

And that is it for this diary entry before I go…let me drop the good news: 

My family came over to join me this Summer! Details in my next blog.… Until then…Stay safe.