For many of us international students, coming overseas is definitely a daunting experience – leaving all you’ve known and loved only to arrive somewhere you know nothing of. Compounded by the fact that we are apparently adults because we have graduated high school, the sense of protection and belonging is no longer there. We are all very much on our own.
Personally, I was very lost when starting the first year at university – arriving at a new place knowing no one. However, since then I’ve grown incredibly through friendships, failures and successes. I’ve become the president of the table tennis club, managed to secure some internships and met my girlfriend in the testosterone-filled world that is Imperial.
This is how I’ve been wasting my time.
As the holidays came to a start- my initial mindset was, “Oh, I’ve got looaaddss of time. I definitely deserve a break. One more season of this show on Netflix won’t hurt.” It must have slipped my mind that the exam on the day I go back is not a mock. Now that I’m about 70% through my Easter/Spring break, I am filled with regret and drowning in revision. :’)
- Watching a season of Hell’s Kitchen
The first thing I did was binge watch as soon as the term ended. Personally a big Gordon Ramsay fan, even though he’s not a believer in Vegetarianism/Veganism cries.
Studying at the most International University in the UK
It goes without saying that Imperial College London is one of the most culturally diverse university communities in the world. Just walking around campus, it is clear to why we have been named the UK’s most international university by The Times Higher Education. Being one of the highest ranking universities in world and leading the way in scientific research, attracts some of the brightest students from across the globe, giving Imperial its signature incredible variety in culture.
Having lived in London my whole life and attended, what I thought was, quite a diverse school, I’m not sure what I expected Imperial to be like however, I had really not anticipated making friends so quickly with people from all around the world.
This is part 2 of my placement year blog post. If you’ve missed part 1 be sure to go back and have a read (otherwise this next bit won’t really make sense!)
My year in industry placement was at Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust in Paignton in Devon. Specifically I was based at Paignton Zoo, one of 3 zoos owned by the trust. First, a little background about my location. Devon – a place that everyone seems to have visited “when they were a child”. For me, I had heard very little about Devon, even less about Paignton. However, everyone I talked to about my placement, whether it be family friends, elderly ladies at bus stops or cab drivers, knew about Devon and Paignton Zoo.
Summer term’s just around the corner, and what does that mean? That’s right! Endless episodes of exams. Over the years as a student at the RWTH Aachen, I have collected various tips on how to survive the intensive studying phases – all without jungle hair and mental suffering.
First, schedule your free time
Even if you plan to study 8 hours a day, I always take the time to plan my private things first in my weekly schedule. Fitness and relaxation times are a must, and there are even studies that recommend such a planning. In the critical phase time naturally gets a bit tight and sometimes your exercise suffers, but one should always strive for a balance.
I’m finally back from the dead lol. But seriously, it’s been such a long time since I last blogged. Sorry about that, I’ve been busy procrastinating studying.
Anyway, it’s been a little more than a week since my first real field trip to Dorset (not counting the one to Leicestershire in Welcome Week, that is). Before that trip, I was very much psyched about it because,
1) We’re going to the beach, how cool is that! (it’s my first time going anywhere near the seaside since I came to the UK),
2) I get to travel free (okay fine, it’s not really free actually… but I still don’t have to use any of my own personal funds so I’m happy), and
3) This is my chance to get closer to my coursemates and everyone yosh ganbatte erynne-chan!
“Joining cheer was the best decision I’ve ever made”
“I was not proud of the bow, nor the uniform. I was proud of what it meant”
“When I initially message the president asking to join cheer late in the term, I hadn’t really left my bed in three months. I was then in hospital for about a month in December. After that, cheer was the only time I left my house for in a while. I just want to thank all of you so so soooo much for being so lovely and welcoming from the start, and just overall amazing people.
Dieses Jahr habe ich Deutsch gelernt!
I successfully completed my German Horizons course last week!
Imperial’s Horizons programme provides optional, free of charge, extra-curricular courses for undergrad students. The classes for all courses are two-hours long and take place once a week on campus. Mine were on Tuesdays from 4 to 6PM in the School of Medicine (SAF) building- I’m still grateful I didn’t have to trek my lazy butt half way across campus for them.
The course is split between two terms (Autumn and Spring term); some options last one term in duration whereas others, like languages, last two. The different courses on offer fall under the following categories: Business and Professional Skills; Global Challenges; Languages and Global Citizenship; and Science, Culture and Society.
One of the things I love best about London is the flat that I share with my wife in Maida Vale. It’s small but it’s got enough room for the both of us with its loft design. It’s in a lovely area with amenities all around. And it’s a 7-minute bicycle ride to school. Can you blame me for liking it so much?
Finding the perfect place to rent, however, wasn’t exactly a cakewalk. I saw 18 different flats, trekked all over London, lost sleep and definitely grew a few white hairs over the two weeks I was house hunting. I learned a few things in the process and hopefully sharing them here will make the private renting process easier for you.
Since this is quite a long blog post, with lots of content, I decided to split it into parts. The first part (this post) will explain the trials and tribulations of applying for an internship and the highs and lows of the process. The second part will give you a glimpse of what my year was like and what it was like coming back to university in final year. Enjoy!
Last year, 2016-17 as part of my degree, I decided to do a year in industry/research. In short, it was one of the best decisions I have made in my life so far.