Living in the UK

The UK offers the best of two worlds to international students who come here to live and study. It has exciting major cities filled with culture, history and architecture for you to discover. And it has acres of beautiful green countryside for you to explore. 

Campus life

The University of Surrey’s peaceful lakeside campus is located close to the Surrey Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. You will live and study surrounded by tranquil countryside, with the town of Guildford and Central London within easy reach. 


The weather is different in each of the four seasons in the UK (spring, summer, autumn and winter). But it is not as extreme as in some countries. Wherever you are in the UK, always keep your coat close by. The weather can be unpredictable and rain can fall at any time of the year. Surrey is quite far south in the UK. Generally the farther south you go the warmer and sunnier it is. 


Typically, these are the warmest, sunniest and driest months, with little rain. Average temperatures of around 14-22°C.

After summer, the weather gets colder and windier. Rain is more frequent. Average temperatures of around 8-14°C. 

Usually the coldest and wettest months, with frost and ice. Snow sometimes falls. Average temperatures of around 2-6°C. 

After winter, the weather is sunnier and warmer but can still be wet and windy. Average temperatures of around 6-13°C. 

Currency and banking

The UK currency is Pound Sterling (£/GBP). Most shops, bars and restaurants accept cards as well as cash. Managing your money will be much easier if you set up a UK bank account. You can do it once you arrive in the UK. You may be able to open an account with a bank in your home country that has branches in the UK, such as Barclays or HSBC.


Everyone in the UK has access to doctors and hospital treatments via the NHS (National Health Service). This is the UK’s public healthcare system. You can pay for private (non-NHS) healthcare, but it can be very expensive.

All international students need travel and medical insurance that covers:

  • Personal possessions
  • Travel delay
  • Medical emergencies.

There is an NHS Medical Practice on the University of Surrey's campus. When you arrive at the International Study Centre we will help you register with a GP surgery. 

You can purchase our Study Care insurance cover, or arrange a private policy. If you choose to arrange your own insurance, you must provide proof of adequate cover.

Travel in the UK 


The national rail network covers most of the UK, including cities, towns and some villages. Student discounts are offered on most journeys.


Regular coach services travel between cities, and to popular tourist destinations. The two main coach companies in the UK are National Express and Megabus. This is often the cheapest way to travel around the UK.


Travelling long distances by road can take a long time. It is often faster to take an internal flight. For example, it can take more than seven hours to drive from London to Edinburgh. The flight time is just over one hour

Local buses and taxis

In all UK cities, buses are frequent and inexpensive. Taxis can be expensive if you’re travelling alone, but they are common and easy to use. Most cities have cycle lanes and bike racks for locking your bike up. Walking is the best way to travel short distances.


Surrey is a safe and welcoming place to live. Studying at the University gives you the best of two worlds: one surrounded by beautiful English countryside, and the other amid the exciting sights of London – only a short train ride away. 

You must abide by the same laws as UK citizens when you come here to study. You are also entitled to the same protection as everyone else living here. All crimes must be reported to the police. 

  • In an emergency - call 999.
  • To report a crime that is not an emergency - call 101.

"I decided to come to the UK because I think Britain is a really good place for me. This country is full of culture, which is amazing."

Xinhai (Michael) from China
Studied International Foundation Year – Business, Economics, Law and Politics.

Travel around the UK

Train and bus networks make it easy to travel around Guildford, Surrey and the rest of the UK.


British culture

In the UK you will notice culture and customs that may be quite different to your home country. Here are just a few common British customs:

  • Tea - British people drink lots of tea. Most people drink it white (with milk).
  • Politeness - Saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ is frequently used. It is considered impolite not to say them.
  • Sunday roast - A meal traditionally eaten on Sundays, consisting of meat, potatoes, gravy and vegetables. Beef is often served with Yorkshire pudding.