Happy Friday! As the second semester begins, I am sure you are closer to deciding whether or not Surrey is the right fit for you (I think it is, but hey – I might be biased 😉 ). My fellow student ambassadors and I have been receiving a lot of questions regarding on-campus accommodation lately so I figured I’d write a post about living at Surrey that will hopefully answer all of your questions.
England is very different to the United States for many, many reasons. One of the biggest differences is that England is a smaller country on an island whereas the United States is one of the largest countries in the world. There are a lot of perks associated with being a small island – greater transport connectivity, quicker travel times, etc. – the list goes on. However, size also brings about some difficulties such as housing and living space. The rental housing market in the UK is extremely competitive and can be quite costly.
Because of this, I personally advise international students to take advantage of Surrey’s on-campus accommodation for the first year. As an international/non-EU student, you are guaranteed on-campus housing for at least your first year (so long as you apply by the application deadline). This is an amazing benefit that a lot of other UK universities do not guarantee their international students.
The Application Process
If you already hold an offer from Surrey, regardless of whether it is conditional or unconditional, you can apply for accommodation as early as February 20th. Applications for undergraduate and postgraduate students close on different dates, the undergraduate deadline being July 25th and the postgraduate deadline being August 1st. I recommend submitting your application as soon as possible. It is relatively quick to do. In my opinion, the most difficult part of the application is ranking your choices for housing. For more information about the application, visit: http://www.surrey.ac.uk/accommodation/applicants/students/.
After applying, you should expect to receive your allocation in the first few weeks of August.
Campuses and Bands: Explained
As you may already know, there are three different locations in Guildford where students may live in Surrey accommodation: Stag Hill, Manor Park, and Hazel Farm. There are advantages and disadvantages to each location. For example, Stag Hill campus accommodation benefits from being closest to classes and on-campus food outlets, etc. Manor Park benefits from newer accommodation and the nearby Tesco grocery store and sports park. Hazel Farm is a bit more remote than the other living spaces but the remoteness is compensated by a free annual bus pass.
Within these campuses, there are a number of different room arrangements. Each type of room arrangement is classified in a band. Within each band, all rooms have the same type of amenities, etc. For example, all band C rooms have a sink in them. It is best to familiarize yourself with the bands prior to applying for accommodation as you need to rank your priority choices on the application. A full breakdown of what each band entails can be found at: http://www.surrey.ac.uk/accommodation/about/
Living with Flatmates
Now that the application and accommodation process has been explained, let’s talk about flatmates. For some, their experience at Surrey may be their first time living with others that are not family. Prior to moving into my accommodation, I was quite anxious about who I’d be living with. Would we get along? Would we manage to keep our shared living spaces clean and livable? I was very fortunate to have six fantastic flatmates. We immediately created a Facebook page where we could communicate with one another and hold our flat accountable for keeping our kitchen tidy and organized. The Facebook page worked for us but I have heard of other methods of communication working for other students, like a shared whiteboard in the kitchen to write notes on, etc.
Regardless of who else lives with you in your flat, the university has a number of support services for students in on-campus accommodation. Each court has a warden that lives full time on campus. The warden’s job is to maintain order and to serve as a resource for students dealing with a wide range of issues. There are also Student Life Mentors who visit flats once a week to ensure all students are getting on ok in their living spaces. Once in a while, these mentors will also organize events for people within the courts to mingle and get to know one another.
I hope that this was a nice introduction to housing here in Surrey. As always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time –