International Student Profiles
Lori Riley, American, MA Intercultural Communication with International Business
Surrey was one of only 3 UK universities which offered my specific MA programme in intercultural communication and business. This mix of theory and practical application was important for me to find and my one-year degree here was actually more affordable than staying in the US, thanks also to a generous departmental bursary.
The campus seemed very modern and technologically advanced. I would definitely say the University has a wide range of facilities and support if you just know the right place to go or the right person to ask. With that being said, the new SPLASH Centre in the library is an awesome, interactive learning space where small groups of students can work and learn together outside the classroom.
My course was perhaps a bit different from what many expected when applying. The course is quite theoretical and perhaps less practical. I really enjoyed my professors who were true scholars in the field. I also enjoyed the diversity of course content which we covered.
I made it a priority from the start to get involved in a wide variety of extracurricular opportunities, so I found it quite easy to meet people and make new friends. I joined the Mountain Walking Society, Christian Friends International and I also participated in the DAVE Skills Development Scheme and the SCEPTRE Cultural Academy. This was a fantastic opportunity to really engage with the diverse multicultural environment on campus. So far, I've had a great opportunity to meet lots of new people and gain skills useful for the future.
Rodrigo Sarzeda, Brazilian, 2nd Year, BEng Aerospace Engineering
My first impression of Surrey was that the campus was really nice. I like the fact that everything is in one place and students here are really nice. When I first arrived, staff were nice and took us around the campus and showed us all the different things. The social life is great! I got to meet new people from all over the world and living in university accommodation you get the best opportunity to make really good friends.
I decided to come to Surrey as I heard the employment rate was quite high and my high school college councilor really recommended it for me. The course was very strong at Surrey, not to mention the other activities you get out from the university, such as the societies, student union and a top level sports centre.
I think my course is quite good and I definitely feel I will get prepared for a successful career as we cover a lot of subjects. A very differential point of University of Surrey is the professional training year which gives the opportunity for students to go for a year out and work in industry so that you can get the feeling of what your future careers might be. The course is also very hands on, even during the first year. I do not think we would get the chance elsewhere to get into the workshop and into the labs and get the real feel of engineering is all about. The lecture theaters are very well structured as well as the lecture rooms.
I think the support is so amazing. For example, there is financial support, academic support and the health center. The facilities are excellent as well. The computer labs are good, the wind tunnels and en-flow lab are top class, and an excellent resource to have. The recent highlight would definitely be the recent built Surrey Sports Park, it has to be the most modern sport center in the UK .
Norman Omar, Bruneian, 2nd Year, BSc Professional Practice Nursing course
I applied to lots of universities looking for a course that suited my needs. Finally I spoke with Lucy and she told me that there may be a course that accommodates my working condition. She e mailed me the next day and helped me. Other universities didn’t have any courses that suit my current working situation…or they don’t accept international students.
I think this university is marvellous. I find lots of flexibility in terms of modules which really suits me. I can plan for my vacations and so on. I live in Manor Park and I like it. It’s a big accommodation for students.
My advice for new students is that the university provides flexibility. I have a friend who studies in London on a similar course and he is very surprised that I have managed to go back to Brunei 3 times this year as he doesn’t have the opportunity to do the same.
In terms of my practical session, I was very happy as well, as my supervisor in the hospital was very helpful too. My teachers are really helpful, actually sometimes, initially I thought that when we have an assignment, tutors would check daily, but now I know they only need to be checked once or twice, so now I have adapted to that experience.
When I was back in Brunei, I was in charge of some types of surgery, but when I came here I was new to may things. Although sometimes they seem very small, they are important.
Tao Xu, Chinese, 3rd Year, Electronic Engineering PhD
Surrey has an excellent academic reputation in the UK, especially the Electronic Engineering, Tourist Management and Hotel Management courses. My PhD course provides both a rich academic atmosphere and flexible training support after research. The supervisors also have very few students so that everyone can have enough opportunities to talk with their professor.
I joined the biggest Chinese society in Surrey called ‘Chinese Student and Scholars Association’ (CSSA) and became the president. We have organised a lot of activities, such as; a welcome party, an academic conference, a Halloween party, traveling around the UK, Christmas dinner and a Chinese New Year gala (stage show). For myself, I like sports so I joined a lot of activities in our sports park, which is one of the best in the UK.
There are so many attractive things in Surrey so you have to make a good balance between studying and socialising. Open your eyes and heart to enjoy the different culture and people.
Francis Agyin-Asare, Ghanian, 3rd Year, Business Management and French
My first impressions of Surrey were more than I could ask for. I thought, “Wow, the international community here is amazing!” and “The facilities are so modern!” Also, the people here were so friendly and receptive.
My university accommodation for my first year was quite good. The price was good, and I had everything I needed, like the internet, a kitchen, and a regularly-cleaned bathroom! Even more, I had several floor mates to chat with while cooking!
I joined lot’s of clubs and societies such as the Entrepreneurship Society, the Archers’ Club, the Water polo Club, and the Chosen Society, but with time and workload, I unfortunately forfeited them all but the Chosen Society. For fun….I was studying Hebrew, Latin and Greek.
If I was to offer any advice to prospective students I would say, be open-minded and leave your preconceptions behind. Be ready for anything. Don’t isolate yourself in some corner; and at the same time, don’t push yourself too much into stuff. I assure you that there’s ALWAYS something to do here, but be advised that if you absorb yourself in all or too many of these, you risk being distracted from your main reason for coming to Surrey. Have fun, but don’t lose focus!
Yat Chau Cho, Hong Kong, 2nd Year, BSc Economics and Finance
The number one reason why I chose Surrey is the graduate employment rate. Studying here has made me realise that going to university is not just about gaining knowledge, but skills that will be beneficial in the real world and especially in building up my career.
My first impression was that the place is very large. Compared with schools and universities in HK, the size may be the same but Surrey makes it seem like it’s bigger because of the large open areas. I believe people from HK come here and feel like it’s a green zone.
When I enrolled, I joined the gliding and economics society. Coming from HK, I wanted to try something new which is why I joined gliding. I am currently the treasurer of the economics society. I enjoy playing badminton as well as ping pong, so I joined the sports park which I find quite nice. I enjoy being so close to London so that I can take advantage of doing a lot of shopping and enjoying the good restaurants. I like the fact I can buy Chinese food from there.
One of the biggest problems I faced when I first got here was cooking. I started out, by eating out for the first week. Then after that I forced myself to cook. I’m the type of person who has to eat proper food, and it has to taste good. I started researching into how too cook, and the best types of meals for the student life. And I found out spaghetti was a good one. The key thing is to cook in bulk. My advice to you is learn to cook from your parents before you get here!
Ankur Banerjee, Indian, 2nd Year BEng (hons) Electronics and Computer Engineering
"When I was looking at universities I wasn't just looking at UK universities, but what really attracted me to Surrey was the sandwich course option. Electronics is a really wide field and the sandwich year placement is really something useful. In the ranking tables for EE, Surrey was the highest ranked one that offered the placement year, therefore the choice was very clear to me.
I met with a Surrey representative, Dr Peter Marshall in New Delhi. By that time I already had my offers from other universities but I think that meeting went a long way. Surrey was the university I was going to go for, but after I had the chat with him, that cemented the feeling.
In terms of accommodation the sort of university experience you have elsewhere is dormitories, like in India and the US. But this is a close knit family feel of staying in a house. It's different. I live in Stag Hill on campus and I have ten housemates. I don't cook, that’s one of the things I thought I would have time for but I am involved with lots of societies so I don't have time. I wouldn't say its hard to live away from home, but it's a new experience. I do my own washing and ironing which I didn't have to do at home. But, I really don't mind that. When you grow up in life you have to do it, so why not start now?
Living in Guildford is a real big change because New Delhi is such a big city. You never really walk from one place to another, whereas now the town centre is less than a 20 minute walk from my house in Stag Hill. I do miss the big city feeling sometimes but then I really like the small town feeling this has, especially the greenery you have here."
Alicia Tjahjadi, Indonesian, MSc Management
When I first arrived at the university I felt it was very modern. I liked the architecture and I loved the newer and more modern buildings such as the Duke of Kent building which is shaped like a boat and Millennium house which is shaped like a train.
I like my course, and I enjoyed the modules I have taken so far. The course has taught me a lot about the management of people, different leadership styles, skills which I have found very important because we interact with people all the time but which are fundamental in the business world. One module in particular I enjoy is financial management as I love finance. I found it very useful. For my undergraduate degree I did accounting but now that I have started my masters I have found that I enjoy finance a lot more. The lecturers are very professional who have lots of experience. The students are very diverse and from different backgrounds. There are so many people from different nationalities it is like a melting pot. This is very useful as there are different cultures and view points and learning to deal with them is important in the business world.
I lived in Surrey Court, Mole House, with 13 other people. My flat mates were wonderful. We had a lot of fun together. The cleaners said that we were the best house, the cleanest one, and the ones with the cleanest kitchen. We all got on very well and did many things together.
The careers service is very good. I went there a few times and I found them very friendly and helpful. I have also been to the medical center to check my health.
Surrey is a very good place to study. There are not a lot of Indonesian people here so you can practice your English. The university has strong links with business and there are many opportunities for you to take advantage of such as the placement year.
Ramin Torabi, Iranian, 1st Year, BSc Business & Retail Management
One of the reasons why I chose Surrey is that the campus is really nice and so different to universities back home in Iran. I was so excited and I couldn’t wait to start my studies here. Once I started I still had the same feelings. I was speaking to my friends back home, and we were discussing about the system of studies we both have, the facilities and comparing the two. When I was explaining to them how our lectures were, and what we are doing at night and during the day, they were very jealous.
I think the facilities are excellent here and so is the support from staff. They are very friendly and helpful and they are always ready to solve the issues for students. Over the summer I was taking extra English classes which helped me very much as we were taught English for academic purposes, which I have found very useful now that I have started my first year.
Satomi Sai, Japanese, MSc Professional Practice
I am a registered nurse in Japan and used to work in a Japanese hospital. When I started to determine my next career plan, I found the University of Surrey which is high ranked for nursing in the UK and gives opportunity to study for international nurses.
Studying in a different country and in a different language at master levels was very challenging for me. However, I received a great deal of help from not only the faculty staff but also comprehensive university staff and resource centres such as the international office, the library, and English support centre.
I believe the most important thing for international students is the environment. This area is quiet, peaceful and surrounded by beautiful nature, and people are friendly and nice. I was comfortable to study here. Moreover, how students can adapt to new culture early on is an important thing, and it relates with how the university understands international students and what kind of student support systems are being provided.
The University of Surrey has a great student care support system and it helped me to settle into the new environment and new culture quickly. I met excellent educators, staff and many friends, and I spent a great time here. It was a great opportunity to develop myself both personally and professionally
Agwaziam Kenneth, Nigerian, MSc Process Systems Engineering
Compared to my country, when I first came here I thought the structure of the University was mind-blowing. When I arrived I came through the train station. The first thing I saw was the Duke of Kent Building. I thought WOW that looks awesome, this is amazing! It looks wonderful!
In general the University of Surrey has a university setting. When you see a University in my country they don’t have massive spaces and structures and things like that you know? Some other Universities in the UK don’t have this either and I think what type of University is this!?
Surrey suits the idea of how I think a University should be like. The general environment, lake, pond and all the structures are conducive. When you’re tired of studying you can walk around, refresh your mind then go back and study.
In the country where I came from it’s not really easy to have a clear one on one contact with your lecturer. When I came to Surrey, I was told you can go and meet your lecturer and they will explain everything. This actually happened to me – I got stuck on some coursework so I met with my lecturer who asked me to sit down. He asked me what I didn’t understand and then explained everything to me.
I would tell International Students who are thinking of coming to Surrey to come – you won’t be making a mistake.
Focus on your goal and make sure you achieve it.
Chaudhry Usman Mumtaz, Pakistani, MSc International Business Management
I chose Surrey as it’s close to London and the international student body. Because my course is International Business Management, I wanted to choose a university which has lots of international students. That really helped because I had students from China, Greece, India etc. Everybody shares their experiences which gives you lots of different perspectives. When you are in Pakistan you only get one point of view. Here, you get 15 points of views because it is so multicultural.
The teaching is really good and they really make it interesting, particularly the strategic management because we had external lecturers coming in, mostly CEOs of major companies. That really helps you because it gives you practical examples and experience.
I’m in Surrey cricket team, first 11. I joined the gym the first day I came here and I go swimming every morning. Cricket is really sociable and that’s really nice because I get a different perspective and more exposure to British culture. This is really important. It’s like in my job. The first word you learn here is ‘cheers’ or ‘hey mate’ This stuff you can’t learn at home.
I’m glad I came, I have done lots of things apart form study. The teachers are very nice and helpful. I had a personal tutor who was very helpful. I would like to come here again and again.
Keyong Ah Lee, South Korean, MSc in Tourism Management
I have always wanted to go back to university to complement my practical knowledge and my previous degree. I write a regular column for a business magazine and wanted to deepen my knowledge, skills and intellect for my future ambitions and my passion.
Before I came to the University of Surrey, I studied a 10 week EUS course from Spring to Summer and I lived in Manor Park. This gave me a really good chance to meet British friends as we were living in the same flat.
The Language Resource Centre is my favorite place. In this centre, anyone can have the opportunity to learn English and foreign languages using great software.
Ms. Dularee Lasika Jayamaha, Sri Lankan, 2nd Year BSc (Hons) Nutrition and Food Science
"I chose the University of Surrey as my firm choice as it was ranked number one for my department, was affordable in terms of tuition and accommodation and offered a safe campus environment. It also offered the option of an industrial placement in the third year which would help with work experience upon graduation. The University offered guaranteed accommodation to all International students for the duration of the entire course, and its proximity and easy access to London were the other reasons I chose Surrey.
As I walked into campus I was impressed by its picturesque view and landscape. I love the campus and it turned out to be everything I had pictured! The teaching facilities impressed me and I in particular enjoyed the microbiology, chemistry and physiology labs during my first year. The experience gained not only gave me the practical aspect of what I learnt but also the confidence to carry out experiments. My personal tutor and lecturers on my course have been very friendly and approachable.
For anyone who makes Surrey their choice I assure you, you will love it! Walk in with a positive attitude and join in the variety of clubs, societies and sports and make friends. Studying is your first priority but you need to keep some time for relaxation and socializing as well, and Surrey has it all!"
Duangthida Nunthapirat, Thai, 2nd Year, PhD in Hospitality
The main reason I chose Surrey is because my friend who had already completed a PHD here, recommended me to come and study here. The rankings were also important in my decision especially because the Hospitality and Tourism courses at Surrey are famous.
My course is quite challenging and difficult. It’s different from masters level because at masters level you still have group discussions and lectures to attend, but at PhD level, you have to do everything yourself. You need to have good time management skills and be independent. I’ve learnt a lot about research methods and I’ve learnt that I need to read a lot as well. I’ve also learnt how to network with other people. When you are studying a PhD you need to have good networking skills so you can use them within your university and other universities.
The University also offers workshops which have helped to develop my professional skills. For example, I did the presentation skills workshop which helped to improve my presentation skills.
I stayed in Manor Park. The accommodation there is good. The security system is brilliant and the guards are really kind. Whenever you have a problem with the internet or even a blown light bulb, a member of staff comes and helps you really quickly.
The University’s International night last year was excellent. There were lots of people from different cultures and countries which meant I was able to experience lots of different foods and cultures. The Thai society had their own stall where we offered Thai Food… it was a very good experience!
If other Thai students want to come here I would recommend it because Surrey has a very good environment. London is very crowded but Surrey has a good atmosphere for studying and the people are friendly.
Murat Moran, Turkish, 2nd Year, PhD in Computing
The main reason I chose to come to Surrey was because it was one of the top universities in my area, which is computing. The thing I like about this university is the campus life, and actually I visited some of the other universities, which didn’t have any campus or campus life at all.
Guildford is amazing for me. When I first came here I just hanged around in the town and I was surprised that there was everything that I could think of. The best thing about it was the hills, because I really enjoy hilly places. Having walks on the hills is something I really enjoy, and I can’t stand towns and places which are completely flat. Guildford reminds me of home which is also very hilly and full of mountains.
For fun I love to go out, quite often really. I really enjoy going clubbing in Guilford. You can always find good places to go. London is very close as well and it’s easy to go out in London and spend the night there, or come back to Guildford, as it’s not that far.
In terms of the facilities, the university has everything that you might need. The good thing about Surrey is, if you have a problem, any type of problem, whether its money, learning difficulty, academic, visa, health or just general advice, you will always find someone with a smile on their face ready to help you out.
Ali Al- Aboosi, Iraqi, 4th Year, MEng in Chemical Engineering
I chose Surrey University as my place of study for a variety of reasons. Firstly, my friend was already studying at Surrey and spoke highly of the university and its facilities. Another attraction was its close proximity to Central London. I also researched the university and was very impressed with its rankings, especially in regards to their engineering programmes.
I am currently in my fourth year of my studies and I am thoroughly enjoying my Chemical Engineering course. In addition to theory I have learnt lots of useful industry knowledge, which I further developed when completing a placement last year with Chromalox in Croydon.
The university campus itself is a really friendly environment with lots of facilities. There is a careers centre, which is very good in respect to helping you source and secure placement and graduate employment. Another great thing about the university is the sports park. It is relatively new with top of the range facilities and only a 10 minute walk from the main campus. I joined the Football Society at the university and play regularly. It has been a great way of making friends aside from those on my course and my accommodation.
I would definitely recommend the University of Surrey as an excellent place to study!
Rachel Hand, Australian, MA in Translation
I chose to complete an MA in Translation at the University of Surrey for a number of reasons. Firstly, I knew I definitely wanted to study in the UK and the University of Surrey has a good reputation and is highly ranked. Further research also revealed that Guildford is a relatively small, historical, safe town and therefore I knew it would be ideal!
When I first saw the campus I was very impressed. It is typically English with beautifully landscaped grounds and striking sculptures. The international welcome team met me at the airport, brought me straight to the university and helped me to my accommodation.
I am really enjoying my course so far. The lecturers are excellent and all well established in their fields. The lectures are well structured and they are preparing me well for a future career in translation.
I am living in university accommodation on campus and although the rooms are rather small they are really homely and cosy. Also, I live with all postgraduate students and have made many new friends from a variety of different countries.
I have yet to join any specific clubs and societies. However, I am very impressed with the students union and the events that they have organised. I particularly enjoyed the fireworks display they planned for the 5th November and Freshers Fair at the beginning of the year.
My advice to other Australian students considering applying to Surrey University would be not to be scared, it is a big decision but like me you will quickly settle in and adjust to life studying in the UK.
Oscar A. Mendez Maldonado, Mexican, 3rd Year, BEng Electronic and Computer Engineering
I transferred from another UK university into level 1 of my Electronic and Computer Engineering undergraduate course. There are many reasons as to why I chose to study at Surrey University. Firstly, Surrey’s high ranking courses and the vast amount of academic resources available to students. The quality of the research being done at the University was the second reason I chose Surrey. Finally, the location of the University; with it being easily accessible to Central London and to both Heathrow and Gatwick airports was what sealed the deal for me.
During my time at the university I have made good use of the additional facilities and the support available to international students. I have attended additional mathematics classes for engineering students; they are really fantastic as they are taught by Engineering Masters students in an informal and relaxed atmosphere. In terms of sports, Surrey’s new Sports Centre is one of the UK’s top facilities and after you go there for the first time, you will want to come back!
I am currently on my placement year which I found relatively easy to secure. I received two placement offers and am very pleased to have chosen to spend a year working for Qualcomm. My advice to other students would be to not overlook any aspect of the job application process. The presentation of your written CV is fundamental as it is the first thing the employer will see. You also need to look at your interviews as conversations, rather than feeling like you are being somehow tested. It will allow you to relax and perform better.
Surrey lives up to its reputation as a jobs university, they provide you with CV seminars, interview practice, an online database of jobs and even a dedicated Career’s department that is there to help you with anything you need to secure a job or placement.
The only difficulty I have experienced at Surrey University is the workload. All of our engineering exams are in the summer and therefore, there is a lot of pressure to do well. However, I have achieved great results from all my hard work and additional study and was 5th best on my course last year!
Surrey is a great university and UK employers know this. If you work hard and take advantage of the resources available you will have an amazing university experience, while building a solid foundation for your career.
Mai Nguyen,Vietnamese, 2nd Year, BSc Accounting and Finance
I chose Surrey University to complete my bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance for a number of reasons. Firstly, I was very impressed with Surrey’s employability statistics and it consistently being awarded top UK University in regards to employment opportunities upon graduation. I also looked at the rankings of various UK universities and Surrey also performs well. Finally, I chose Surrey as my place of study due to its convenient location being so close to London.
My first impression of the university was that it was smaller than I had expected it to be. However, I love it! It is a great campus based university with lots of facilities available to students and it is wonderful how close the campus is to the town centre. Guildford has many great shops and I was even fortunate enough to secure a part time job at a retail shop in the town centre. I found it relatively easy to find and the careers team at the university are really helpful in regards to constructing a CV and even offer practice interviews and mock assessment centres, making the job application process much easier and less daunting prospect.
Although I have faced some difficulties during my time here, namely I don’t believe I have made as many friends as I perhaps hope to, I am thoroughly enjoying my time here at Surrey.
Islam Abdelhalim, Egyptian, 3rd Year, PhD in Computing
Many reasons influenced my decision to study a PhD in Computing at Surrey. Firstly, it was important for me to attend a university with a good reputation, which is ranked well in the university league tables. In addition, I was fortunate that the University of Surrey was able to sponsor me for my studies. Also, I thoroughly researched the location of the university and discovered that Guildford is a nice, fairly quiet town with lots of facilities. Furthermore it only takes 35 minutes on the train to central London, which is brilliant!
When I first arrived at the university I was very impressed with all the facilities and support available to students. The library is huge with plenty of workspace for everyone and there is a fantastic new sports centre, which is only a 10 minute walk from the main campus.
Since beginning my time at the university I have joined the Islamic Society and last year I was treasurer of the Egyptian Society. I believe being involved with clubs and societies has given me the opportunity to makes lots of friends away from my studies.
My PhD is going well and I am very happy with my supervisors. They are very knowledgeable, friendly and helpful towards my studies. It is great how I have the freedom to select my own path in regards to my research and yet still have support of my supervisors when I need it.
I would recommend other Egyptian students thinking about applying to Surrey University to go for it! The application process is relatively easy and it is great that the UK operates on a similar time zone as Egypt making it easy to keep in contact with family and friends in Egypt.
Akil Habibullah, Bangladeshi, 4th Year, BEng Mechanical Engineering
I am currently a final year Mechanical Engineering student at Surrey University. I knew I wanted to attend a university in the UK having studied the British Curriculum in my home country and after a lot of research I chose Surrey and I am very happy with my choice. The university is based in Guildford, which is a lovely small town with a nice environment and great facilities.
During my first week at the university I participated in a number of induction events that the university hosted, which were really great and well organised. Also, I benefited from the Meet and Greet programme that the international office organised, where I was greeted at the airport and escorted to the university, making for a hassle free arrival.
I am thoroughly enjoying my course. The classes are well structured and although the lecturers have high expectations of you to achieve great results, they have a very encouraging teaching approach.
I live in university managed accommodation on campus and it is really good since if you’re an international student you do not have to worry about trying to find accommodation as it is guaranteed for the duration of the course.
I am a member of the Bangladeshi Society and it has given me the opportunity to make friends with fellow students from the same cultural background. We celebrate all the Bangladeshi holidays, clothing and food.
My highlights from my time at the university would have to firstly be the social aspect and all the amazing friends I have made and secondly being able to successfully secure a placement. I worked for a year at Xerox in Hertfordshire and found it fairly easy to secure with assistance from the careers team and the connections my department had with employers.
I would definitely recommend Surrey University to any students considering coming to the UK to study!