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Leaving home for the first time can be a very scary and daunting experience (Trust me, I cried like a baby when my Mum left me at Clayhill last year!). I just want to give you a couple of tips and tricks for adjusting to those first few weeks.

First of all, bring a special piece of home with you. Whether it's an old teddy bear, a photo album, or something really insane that nobody will ever understand you're going to rely on it a lot! Make sure it's something close to your heart, as that always makes things easier when you're bored enough to feel homesick. (Most of the time you'll be too busy to even remember you're not at home!)

Secondly, make sure you've got a parent or guardian on speed dial and teach them how to use skype before you leave! There's nothing more comforting than hearing their voice, especially when you feel like it's all gone wrong and you've made a huge mistake. (I felt that last year, but trust me, Kingston University is not a huge mistake and you should really be preparing yourself for the best time of your life!)

Thirdly, DON'T bring your entire bedroom. You can't. It won't fit. I did that last year and quickly ran out of space to the point where my flatmates called me a hoarder because it was just impossible to keep my room tidy! Bring what you need and a couple of things that are important to you and you'll be just fine!

One MUST is either a railcard or a coach card. A rail card is £30, or free if you take out a student account with Santander and a coach card is £10. You'll definitely appreciate the cut prices when you're running low on cash and want to spend a weekend at home with your family and friends!

Do attend as many freshers events as you can. You may forget half of the faces you come across during freshers week, but you'll also make friends that you'll never forget. Trust me on that one. At the same time if you're living in halls you also need to befriend your flatmates. They WILL be your family for the year! If anything goes wrong they will be the ones closest to you and the ones you rely on the most. Cook meals together, socialise together. Don't just be ghosts who live in the same flat!

Also, you definitely need to attend your classes... They're not 'the boring part', as some of you might be thinking. Yes, University offers a cracking social life, but you're also here to learn about a subject YOU HAVE CHOSEN. So it can't be that boring can it? I love my course and I always make sure I'm in early lectures regardless of what I've been doing the night before. I've even gone in without any sleep! Just remember, you're paying for the education and it does count!

All that said, please enjoy freshers week. Make friends for life. Keep in touch with your loved ones. Enjoy your course and Make the kind of memories you want to (and can) tell your Grandchildren about!

 

Many courses at Kingston University have the opportunity to study abroad for a semester or for a year. It was one of the things that really cemented my choice to come to Kingston. I have always moved around a lot as a child and I wanted to continue that in my adult life. The opportunity to study abroad is fantastic and something that you might never get the chance to do in a similar way. I decided to move to Sweden, to Lund University in the southern region of the country.

I moved here 13 days ago and I am loving it so far.

I have met so many new people, and I am really enjoying all of my new experiences. It's all been a bit of a blur because the international students [me] got here about two weeks before the semester started, so we could get integrated and sort out basic things like finding our way around and sorting out a Swedish telephone number etc. There has also been a lot of social events put on, which gave us the chance to all get to know each other.

My new library!The university is really old and traditional, and the law faculty is absolutely beautiful. This picture is the library!

The whole town is not that huge, but it's really nice and safe. It's all cobbled streets and historical buildings. We have to cycle everywhere, which is great because I'm getting exercise and it's just an easy way to travel here. There isn't that much road traffic as it seems that everyone cycles, so I feel fairly safe on the roads, which is stark in contrast to how I've felt in central London on my bike.

My studio apartment is university accommodation and it is a lot bigger than my halls back home but also, here it is cheaper. It was all furnished and kitted out with IKEAs finest furniture and utensils! Although Scandinavian living is quite expensive, and that is taking some getting used to. However, students who study here might be eligible to the Erasmus grant to help with living costs.

The great thing about Lund is that it's situated very close to a big Swedish city called Malmö and then over the Øresund Bridge there is Copenhagen, Denmark, which is the largest city in Scandinavia. I have visited both cities so far and loved them. Lund has the small town, big student vibe going on, with everything geared towards students as there's 33,000 of them here. But Malmö and Copenhagen have more events and festivals, like Gay Pride and summertime music festivals. I am looking forward to spending more time in all three of my new cities. I have even been learning Swedish, although the course is taught in English.

Classes start tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to learning about the Swedish legal system!

I will write again soon to update you on my time in Lund!

 Chelsey :)

 

We're soon heading back to uni for the new year - some of us are even starting uni for the first time and others moving from their home countries, across the world to come to Kingston! Wooh! Exciting! But with moving comes the time-consuming task of packing. All your clothes, shoes (oh so many shoes), toiletries, lucky teddies, sheets, towels, kitchen stuff! After 3 years of uni I can safely say that packing is an absolute nightmare! But hopefully my little tips will help you get through it all with a little less frustration. So here goes: 

Roll don't fold!

1. Roll, don't fold!

My favourite and most used of all my tips. After years of folding my clothes into neat little piles to fit into my suitcase, I discovered that rolling clothes (like little swiss rolls) really is the best way to save space. The little rolls can block up any gaps in your bags or boxes and become small enough to stuff into objects , which brings me to tip number 2.

 

Making use of all those shoes!2. Stuff, stuff, stuff

We all have odd shaped objects which are hollow and take up soooo much more space than they need to so my advice is to use your space wisely and stuff your little rolls of clothes, your socks and underwear into shoes, pots and pans, lamp shades. This way your clothes protect your objects from any damage and you save more space. Fewer trips to the car! Yay!

 

Yes or No!

 3. Only pack what you absolutely need

 I learned this the hard way! Being an island girl, I am programmed to think that bikinis are an essential, no matter where you go. This is definitely not the case in the UK! So have a long hard think about the things that you are bringing along with you and if you have any doubts, then you should probably leave it behind.

Lists, lists,lists!

 

4. Lists!

Making lists may sound like something only grandparents do but they really are helpful! Have different lists for different things. A list for things you need to do before you leave, a list for important documents (passport, admissions letter, visa) and a list for all the odd bits you don't want to forget (medicine, favourite shoes, lucky charms).

 5. Weigh your suitcase

Getting to the airport and having to unpack is painful and very stressful. If you are flying into the UK make sure to check and double check how many kilos you are allowed. Don't forget to check the weight requirements for your carry-on luggage as well as you can stuff quite a bit into your carry-on (usually 15kilos). On many airlines you are able to add extra kilos for a bit extra money and it is always cheaper to do so before hand as there are extra charges once you are at the airport. Try your best to weigh your bags before heading to the airport!

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