Arriving in the UK via Heathrow
Moving away from home for the first time is always stressful, and it can be even more stressful if you don’t really know where you’re going. Which is why the Heathrow airport collection service is great. It literally picks you up at Heathrow and drops you off at the accommodation where you will live for the next academic year!
As an international student I know that it’s not always possible to go and visit the university on a physical open day and even if you do go to one, the campus is still a mystery to most new students. That’s why having a service that pretty much took me to my new doorstep was a life-saver. So my experience began with an email from Falmouth University, advertising their collection service. There was an option to be picked up from Newquay airport or from Heathrow. Me being a student who needed to fly in through London anyway, I decided to pick the Heathrow airport collection, to relieve the stress from trying to plan out a journey to my new place of residence and the stress of getting out at the wrong place and so on.
Because the service collects students in the airport at midday, I decided to fly in a day early, so me and my parents (who came with me to Heathrow) stayed in a nearby hotel, which was pretty neat. On the morning of travel, we double-checked where the university would collect me from and then took a taxi to the correct terminal.
Once there I thought it might be a bit difficult to find the right people, but these thoughts quickly went away, as it’s near impossible to miss a group of people dressed in bright yellow jumpers! As soon as I approached them, they were all really nice and welcoming and they quickly explained what would be happening.
I had to wait for a couple more people to show up, so the group of us could head to the nearby hotel where the coaches were waiting. Whilst waiting, I met this really nice girl from America, who was also on her way to Falmouth and luckily for both of us, we were going to the same accommodation – Glasney Student Village.
The welcome was very nice and warm, exactly the kind you’d want after a long day of travelling.
After we were taken to the hotel, we were separated out into 2 groups, one earlier and one later coach, giving more people the possibility to show up and still make it to the bus. We were given tags to put on our luggage, so they would be taken to the correct place (some people’s bags, mine included, travelled on the early coach whilst they themselves travelled on the later one). One of my suitcases still has the tag on it from the trip and it’s been over two years now! They also gave us some goodies, like a giffgaff SIM card for our phones, so we could connect to the UK network, as well as some other booklets and informational material, which was definitely interesting to read.
The trip itself was around seven hours long, with a stop at one of the service stations where we could get some lunch (or more fittingly dinner by that point). As in most service stations, there was a McDonalds, Costa Coffee, a WHSmiths, along with some other little shops and fast food joints.
Me and my new friend, who I’d met at the airport, had quite nice long chats and really got to know each other, it was pretty special getting to know somebody from a whole different background to my own. We arrived at Glasney at around 8 pm, which was quite alright, seeing as we only left Heathrow around 2pm. We were let out of the bus pretty much next to Glasney Lodge and people were already waiting for us to give us our keys and help guide us to our new homes. The welcome was very nice and warm, exactly the kind you’d want after a long day of travelling.
They gave us our keys and a map of the campus, so we would be able to find where to go. If you didn’t think you’d be able to find where to go, there were ambassadors, in their bright yellow jumpers, around to take you to your flat and help you settle in. As I mentioned earlier, my stuff had been on the earlier coach, so I didn’t have to worry about getting it to my room, which was on the top floor (I was really thankful that I didn’t have to look for a way to drag everything upstairs). As I got to my flat, I saw my suitcases neatly standing by my door, so I just had to unlock the door and wheel them in.
Overall, I am really happy I chose to travel to Falmouth via the Heathrow collection service, especially for my first time here. I didn’t have to worry about anything besides getting to Heathrow on time! Everything was taken care of and that was a really nice feeling (especially compared to more recent times where I have planned my own journeys, I know it can get quite hectic). I met some amazing people on that journey, which is always an added benefit.