Finding out Information
There are several organisations that will help you to find out what you need to know. Here are some suggestions – but remember, do not be afraid to ask!
Your college will usually be able to help you on such matters as obtaining grants, health care or where to find the information that you are looking for. Before going anywhere else, try to find out if there is an International Office, Welfare Centre, Students’ Union or Library. It might be best to start off there.
Other information is available on my Introduction to Guildford page.
College Chaplaincy Centre
The Chaplaincy Centre will also be able to provide you with information, or put you in touch with British friends if you wish. You do not need to be of the Christian faith to go there, nor will they seek to ‘convert’ you.
The University of Surrey Chaplaincy is located in:
Wey Flat 1&2, Surrey Court,
University of Surrey,
Tel: (01483) 683 696
In universities and colleges, the Students’ Union building or area will have many resources to be able to help you. Information, insurance & travel information can usually be obtained there.
You will probably find two types of library where you live. First there is your University or College library. This may not be very large (depending on where you are studying). It will often have books of a technical nature, reflecting the courses available at the college. The second type of library is called the Public Library and it will usually be found in the middle of the town or city where you live. This will contain a much wider range of books (both fact and fiction), newspapers and magazines. You can also use the internet in some public libraries.
As well as books, libraries contain a variety of advertisements about local activities, entertainment, places of interest to visit and local special events (fairs, carnivals). They also have a wide range of reference books including information on obtaining grants, further study, bus and train timetables and accommodation.
Local newspapers and shop notice boards are good places to look if you want to find out local activities, events or places to visit. When you visit shops in the town, look out for advertisements, even if you do not need anything. You may see something that you will need in the future. Newspapers, supermarkets and local shops often contain job adverts and ‘Small Adverts’, from anyone who wishes to sell something. Have a look if you need furniture, a bicycle or kitchen utensils!
Museums contain a wide range of local information including advertisements of activities, societies and various groups.
Visit the section on the Guildford Museum in my history of Guildford for information and links.
Tourist Offices have a great deal of information about places of interest, historic houses, places to stay and accommodation whilst travelling. The tourist office will usually be able to make inquiries about places if you are thinking of visiting a different town or city whilst in the UK.
Visit the section on the The Guildford Tourist Office in my history of Guildford for information and links.
Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB)
CAB‘s are useful if you have any legal problems, difficulties with purchases, problems with accommodation or landlords, or if you just need to know what you are entitled to in a situation. Even if they cannot help you, they will often know who can. The local office can be found from the telephone directory or on the Citizens Advice website. Your Students’ Union may also be able to give advice of this nature.
The police are well respected in the UK and will be very pleased to help you if they can. Apart from dealing with law and order issues, it is always worth going into your local police station if you lose anything while you are out. Lost property is often handed in to the local police station. If you come across an accident, it is always worth contacting the police. You should also report any crimes at your local police station, for example if somebody steals something from you. Click here to read about what to do in the case of an emergency.
If you are disabled
If you are disabled in any way, or have special needs, talk to your college about how they may be able to help you. If you want to travel about locally or nationally whilst you are staying in the UK then, depending on your needs, there are several organisations that may be able to help you. Contact the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation for more information:
Phone: 020 7250 3222 • email: email@example.com
• Web Site: www.radar.org.uk
The Yellow Pages
The Yellow Pages is a local directory, giving you details of shops and companies who provide different types of products and services. There may be a copy of the directory in the place where you live. You can also look up local companies, eg local taxi companies, your nearest cinema on the on-line version of the Yellow Pages, www.yell.com.
This guide is copyrighted © Friends International 2005. No part of this work may be reproduced without the written permission of Friends International.
Additional local information provided by Friends International in Guildford, 2007.