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.
I’m sure that your English is fluent enough for you to study in the UK (if you aren’t confident, take a look at my post about studying in English). I’m also sure that you’re able to communicate with international students withouth any problems. But do you understand what locals, i.e. English people really mean? It took me a while (and a few awkward situations), so here are a few surprising things Brits say.
- How are you? You’ll hear this question dozens of times every day. In the beginning I thought: “wow, these Brits are so nice, they really care about me”.
We were celebrating my friend’s birthday in a pub, when someone mentioned that “something happened on London Bridge”. Soon I got a message from my mum, who wanted to make sure I was fine. Not much later the news were getting more and more upsetting. A van? A stabbing? How many victims?!
When we were going back home, some random people approached us on the train station to check if we were aware what happened (because we were actually heading in Vauxhall/Borough Market direction). I think only then I realised how serious it was. I felt safe-ish only when I finally made it to my room…
Many of you might have had similar experiences last night.
Let’s face it: living in London is expensive. It might sound scary, especially that for some of you the first year of the university will be also the first year when you have to be fully responsible for your finances. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Here are my survival tips.
- Find a good accommodation. This is the key, since paying rent will be your biggest expense. Remember that you’ll also need to cover bills – and you might underestimate how high they’ll probably be. Having said that, I must stress: don’t go for the cheapest option. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Science Uncovered is part of European Researchers’ Night, and is a free annual festival of science held at various institutions across the UK giving the public the opportunity to discover rare items from the Museum collections, meet experts and take part in interactive science stations, debates and behind-the-scenes tours.
Thankfully I managed to avoid being dragged to see the Oxford Street Christmas lights this year but as my Christmas-loving boyfriend was visiting it would be rude to not show him any and he was happy with seeing some of the Regent Street lights during a day out in London.
Regent Street Christmas lights
As I described in an earlier blog post, work last week consisted of mostly Christmas parties! Starting off with the the Natural History Museum Student Association Christmas Party and moving on to the Soil Biodiversity Group Christmas gathering where my supervisor Paul Eggleton tried on my Christmas hat!
This week the Wildlife Gardening Forum held its conference ‘Soil Biodiversity in the Garden’ at the Natural History Museum in London. Being a keen gardener and researching soil biodiversity I had to go along.
Steve Head opens the Wildlife Gardening Forum conference
The Wildlife Gardening Forum is a group of organisations and people who are passionate about wildlife in gardens and seek to help people value and enjoy wildlife in their gardens. While there has been quite a lot of interest in gardens as habitats for birds, mammals and pollinating insects, few consider the life below ground so this conference was a great way to raise the profile of soil organisms and discuss ideas.
Yesterday I attended my first ever hackathon, held at the Natural History Museum in London.
I took a day off from studying to visit the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill, South East London. The museum has been on my ‘places to visit list’ for sometime, and I was particularly looking forward to meeting its famous walrus specimen, which even has its own Twitter account.
The exterior of the Horniman Museum
Since rain was forecast we decided to look around the grounds of the museum before heading inside. The building is in the arts and style and was founded in 1901 by Frederick John Horniman. The wall features a mosaic called Humanity in the House of Circumstance.
Bandstand with London skyline
The museum has extensive gardens which include a bandstand overlooking the London skyline and some farm animals.
“This is Victoria”, the now familiar recorded message says as I step off the train at my namesake station. “Yes. Yes, it is”, I think to myself.
I am one of 28 students starting PhD research at Imperial College’s new Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet (SSCP) Doctoral Training Programme. This is hosted by the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment, although most of my research is at the Natural History Museum, one of the SSCP partner institutions, where I was based for my MSc last year. I will be modelling human impacts on soil biodiversity, combining two of the things I love most: playing with computers and digging for earthworms!