Journeying to the University of Surrey: An International Student’s Guide

Earlier this week, I had the privilege of facilitating a Q & A session for prospective University of Surrey students preparing to resume studies in September. We discussed issues around students’ arrival to the UK, accommodation, and preparations for the academic year ahead. I am here to share more tips with you on these aforementioned areas and I hope you find them useful.

Top on the list is the need to do thorough research before coming to the UK. This may include research about your course, your university, its host community, and the UK in general. You can also familiarize yourself with the UK culture and customs before you arrive. The UK is a diverse and multicultural country, but it also has its own unique culture and customs that may be different from your own. You should learn about some of the common aspects of UK culture, such as the weather, the food, the etiquette, the slang, the humour, and the holidays. You should also be respectful of the diversity and differences that you may encounter in the UK and be open-minded and curious about learning from others.

Secondly, before you embark on your journey, ensure that you have all the necessary documentation ready. This includes your valid passport, student visa, acceptance letter from your university, and any other relevant paperwork. Keeping these documents organized in a secure folder will save you from unnecessary stress upon arrival. You should also check the currency exchange rates and plan your budget accordingly. You may need to open a UK bank account after you arrive, so you should bring some cash or a debit card that works internationally.

Pack smartly and efficiently, you don’t want to bring too much or too little when you travel to the UK. You want to make sure you have everything you need for your studies, your personal comfort, and your safety. Some of the essential items you should pack are your passport, visa, acceptance letter, accommodation confirmation, bank statements, insurance documents, medical records, academic transcripts, laptop, phone, charger, adapter, clothes for different seasons and occasions, toiletries, medications, and some cash in pounds. You can also bring some items that remind you of home, like photos, souvenirs, or snacks. But don’t overpack! You will have to pay extra fees if your luggage exceeds the weight limit, and you will also have to carry it around when you arrive.

Also, research your accommodation options before you arrive. There are different types of accommodation available for international students in the UK, such as university’s accommodation, private rented flats, or hostels. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages, so you should consider your budget, preferences, and needs before you decide. You can find more information about accommodation options on the University of Surrey website. Accommodation | University of Surrey

Upon arrival, travelling from the airport to the University is another need to plan for ahead. This could be challenging especially when travelling with a heavy, or much luggage. “Whether you are arriving on a flight to Heathrow or Gatwick airport, or by ferry or the Eurostar train, there are various modes of transport you can use for your onward travel to the University.”  The University of Surrey has prepared some guidelines which you can find via this link: Travelling to the University | Welcome ( I hope you find this useful.

Arrive early and settle in. It’s a good idea to arrive at least a week before your course starts, so you have enough time to adjust to the new environment and get ready for your studies. You can use this time to explore the campus and the city, meet new people, register with the university and other services, open a bank account, get a SIM card, buy some groceries and essentials, and join some orientation activities. The University of Surrey offers a lot of support and guidance for international students during this period, so don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it.

Join some clubs and societies when you arrive. One of the best ways to make friends and have fun in the UK is to join some clubs and societies that match your interests and hobbies. There are many clubs and societies available for international students in the UK, such as cultural groups, sports teams, academic societies, or volunteering groups. You can find more information about clubs and societies at the University of Surrey here: Clubs and Societies – University of Surrey Students’ Union (

These are some of the tips that I have learned from my experience as an international student at the University of Surrey and I hope they will help you prepare for your arrival and enjoy your studies in the UK. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

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