Crossing the Atlantic

An insight into life at Surrey from current US students

Introductions: So how did a southern gal end up in England anyway?

Hello everyone, I’m Lily, from Austin, Texas, studying Theatre and Performance here at the University of Surrey. Studying in the U.K. was never really a part of my plan, but life has a funny way of telling you what it wants you to do, even when you’re pursuing something completely different all the way across the world.

Not always raining after all

When I left high school, I started college at Columbia University in New York City, studying English and Film. While I loved my classes and fell in love with the city, I came to realize that the U.S. university system just wasn’t the best learning environment for me. I had worked hard in high school and I am very passionate about learning, so grades weren’t a problem. It was just the whole approach to academics and to college life in general that I found to be at odds with what I was looking for in a university experience. (In a later post I’ll go into more detail about the differences between the U.S. and U.K. higher education systems and why I chose a university here rather than the U.S.) At the end of my first year, I left Columbia, and went back home to Texas, where I began researching schools in the U.K. I knew I wanted to be close to a city, but having grown up on a farm, I knew I needed wide open spaces close by as well. Weather was a big factor for me, as New York winters can be a bit nightmarish for a month or two, and although I don’t mind the rain much, I really wasn’t wanting to endure another Snowpocalypse. And, of course, I wanted the best education I could find.

I chose Surrey because it ticked all the boxes. Not only is it just 30 minutes from London by train, but the surrounding countryside is some of the most spectacular I’ve ever seen. It might surprise you to hear that the weather isn’t as bad as it’s cracked up to be either. It rains, but it’s rarely an all out downpour. And it’s rarely cloudy for more than a few hours at a time. As long as you’re prepared to layer up and carry an umbrella with you just in case, the weather won’t affect you much. And I say this as someone who thrives in 90ÂşF temperatures year round. It’s a bit of an adjustment, but I’ve really come to love the cloudy days.

As for the academics, I’ll go into much more detail in posts to come, but I chose to study Theatre and Performance, which is part of GSA (Guildford School of Acting), yet another one of the University of Surrey’s gems that you might not even know existed, and I can confidently say that my classes here are exceeding my high expectations. Not only are all the lecturers incredibly friendly and eager to help, but they are passionate about their subjects and about teaching.

More on all of that later.

Until next time…

Cheers 🙂

Surrey Societies

A core part of life at Surrey are the societies. They provide opportunities to try new activities, learn about new subjects, and meet new people.   Societies are run by students. Each society is required to have a committee consisting of a president, vice president, and treasurer. Often societies will also have a social secretary, […]


First Week Back!

And I’m back! Back in Guildford and back in class. It feels strange to be sitting in lectures again and managing multiple classes. I do love being able to walk around campus again, see my friends, and have a varied schedule throughout the week. It keeps each day interesting and grants new opportunities.   This year […]


Placement Year Final Thoughts

Whew! I’ve not written on here in a while now. Since we last spoke I finished my year-long placement at Microsoft in London working on Paint 3D, moved back to the United States for the summer, and am now a week away from finishing a summer internship at Microsoft on the Xbox team. When I […]


Moving Advice

With another year gone, it is time to once again pack up and move. Each year my experience has been a bit different. My first year I stored my things at my extended family’s house. Second year I had a moving truck bring them straight to London. This time I will have my things put […]


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