Helen: How to survive abroad? Be open to new things

Picture1Hi! My name is Helen and I am a 20-year-old girl from Tallinn. Before choosing to attend University of Surrey, I went to Tallinn French School. Currently, I am about to start my second year of higher education, where I study Psychology. It’s been a year now since I moved to the UK and even though it can be challenging at times, I couldn’t be happier. I hope these two little lists I have written  are helpful to anyone thinking of studying in the UK and I really hope you do!

1. Don’t let the little things hold you back

When I first got here, I honestly couldn’t stop thinking about my cat forgetting me, my iPhone being linked to EMT and not the local mobile service provider. Naturally I was afraid of missing my friends and family a little too much. But don’t let that hold you back for a second. Eventually, you’ll figure it all out and Skype is really a miraculous invention for keeping in touch with all your loved ones back home.

2. On your first day, keep your door open

On my first day, I was terrified of any sound in the hallway outside my room and only managed to meet one person. I spent the evening tragically crying by a lake and getting lost in the night. Looking back, I was just being silly. Everyone is scared on their first day and don’t know anyone. That’s why it is the best possible time to make friends. And trust me, you will.

3. Be a sponge

Take it all in. Get a local sim card and bank account. Learn the local slang, try all the foods and if you don’t know or understand something, have your newly found friends explain it to you. It’s hard to really feel at home if you don’t fully dive in.


Helpful tips about Surrey and why it’s absolutely amazing:

The next bit is for those of you that are thinking of coming to Surrey, and we’d love to have you! Every now and again the Surrey Estonians, so far only the 4 of us, get together and do “Estonian” things, like eat pickles and sprat sandwiches, watch football, or catch up with Võsareporter.

1. Arriving

Surrey has a Meet & Greet service for international students that takes place in Gatwick and Heathrow airports. Definitely sign up for that, because you will get a free train ticket to Guildford and a shuttle service to take you from the train station straight to your dorm room.

2. Accommodation

If possible, try to avoid the Hazel Farm campus, and instead go for Stag Hill or Manor Park. Hazel Farm is 40 minutes away from the actual university, so that would be too much of a trek. Once you’re nearing the end of first year, I’d advise you to start looking for housing for second year sooner rather than later. The housing market for students is brutal and you want to be fully prepared.

3. Do everything

Surrey is an amazing place for finding societies and sports clubs, there’s something for everyone: anime lovers, Harry Potter fanatics, athletes, yoga enthusiasts, wannabe artists and even gardeners. Joining a society is a great way to really take all you can from your time at university. You will meet so many new and interesting people, with whom you can organise extra social events and do any other activities together that you will thoroughly enjoy.


Kui ka sina oled mõelnud minna välismaale, nagu seda tegi Helen, tule kindlasti Dream Foundationisse konsultatsiooni!

One Comment on “Helen: How to survive abroad? Be open to new things

  1. Hi Helen an interesting take on Surrey..
    Although no mention of the excellent medical care and even better local police!

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