What to expect in your first week at Surrey

Welcome to Surrey! The hard part is over: you’ve said your goodbyes and travelled to another country. Now it is time to enjoy yourself. International students are a valued part of the Surrey University community, and we will make sure we provide everything you need for a fun and fulfilling stay in the UK.

What can you expect in your first week here? Staff at the International Study Centre will help you settle in, and arrange welcome activities to get you used to your new home. There are also things you can do to make the adjustment to UK life as easy and exciting as possible.


37 per cent of Surrey’s students are international, so there will be lots of other people feeling the same as you do. The people we meet at university often turn out to be lifelong friends; so talk to the people around you, and it won’t be long before you form some great new relationships.

Orientation activities

The International Study Centre designs a timetable of fun activities designed to help you adjust and support you from the minute you arrive. They will include meeting your fellow students, guided shopping trips, introductions to local culture, and fun evening activities. It is a requirement to attend orientation activities in the first week, to help you get used to your new surroundings. Joining in as much as possible will give you a great start to your time at Surrey.

Decorating your room

It may sound obvious, but putting up some posters, photos or fairy lights is an easy change that can make a big difference. A few small things brought from home, or picked up at a local shop or market, will add colour and character. As well as making your room feel more like home, it will show off your personality and make it a more comfortable and welcoming place for people to visit.

Take the time to look around

You'll feel more at home as you spend time getting used to your new surroundings. You will find everything you need on Surrey’s beautiful lakeside campus, but there’s also plenty to explore nearby. Guilford has all that you would want in a modern city, with historical buildings like Guildford Castle, plus a big selection of restaurants, cinemas, music venues and shops. If you want to relax, take a trip into the English countryside. The Surrey Hills are a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

You could also get a train to London (which is only 40 minutes away), and explore everything England’s famous capital city has to offer.

Find a balance

Your first week at university can be overwhelming. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be around other people all the time. Make sure to look after yourself, eat and sleep properly. It is important to have fun, but also to be ready to start your studies after orientation week. If there is anything you are worried about, speak to someone at the International Study Centre – we can help. During your time with us, you will have access to support services at the Centre for Wellbeing, and a personal tutor to help you with anything related to your studies.

For many people, their first week at university is one of their best memories. Make the most of the experience and remember that you have got loads to look forward to.

What our students say

Find out how our some of students coped with feeling nervous and how they settled in when they started their studies in the UK.

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Find out more about starting your studies or check the latest COVID-19 information.