I’m definitely a social animal. While I need some “me time” once in a while, I tend to surround myself with people. This is why when I embarked on my first PhD journey, I wasn’t too thrilled to learn that I’d be travelling alone. That sounded so scary, I was afraid that something would go wrong or, in the best case scenario, I’d just feel lonely and miserable for a few days.
Since then I’ve been to so many conferences in various countries, often extended to a mini-vacation. Almost always, completely alone. And let me tell you, I learned to love it.
If you’re thinking of going to Amsterdam, go to Haarlem instead. No, seriously.
Haarlem is a smaller city just 15 minutes away from Amsterdam by train. It’s got far fewer tourists, cheaper and nicer accommodation, and way better food. PLUS, it’s a mere 20 minute bus ride to the beach!
Haarlem’s main square. Photo: iamsterdam.com
With the final assignment of term 2 done and dusted, we decided to take advantage of Eurostar’s new direct train from London to Amsterdam (£35 one way). Well, almost direct. It does do a short stop in Brussels and the total journey is about 3.5 hours.
Best part of doing a PhD? Conferences! When you finally manage to do some meaningful research, it’s time to present it to a wider audience. In other words, pack your suitcases and bon voyage! I know that attending conferences might be a bit overwhelming in the beginning, so here are a few tips to make the most of them.
- Find a good conference. If you’re as lucky as I am and have a great supervisor, she or he will suggest interesting events to you. Otherwise you’ll need to do the work yourself. However, at Imperial we’re flooded with e-mails advertising scientific events, there’s also Google and your colleagues who can give you some advice.
London is a big place, 1,572 km² to be exact, so you definitely need to know your way around. Whether it’s to shave off those precious seconds on the morning commute so you can lie in bed that bit longer or simply because you don’t want to walk in the rain, one of the most iconic transport systems has got you covered.
The Underground: A.K.A The Tube
Riding at high speed in a metal tube down a very dark tunnel, miles underground sounds like a great way to travel, right? Well, that’s basically the Tube! The massive network of underground tunnels crisscrossing all over London is one of the quickest (and more pricey) ways to get round on public transport.
The great thing about studying in London is that travelling is extremely convenient.
Last week, I visited Bath! It was a trip consisting of mostly sightseeing, eating and most importantly, a break away from busy school life.