Abhinaba Ghosh talks about his M.Sc. research work at Imperial College, London.

United Kingdom has been one of the most preferred educational destinations for a long time. The number of international students applying for the institutions in the U.K. is consistently among the top in the world. I pursued my M.Sc. research work at the Imperial College London, UK as a visiting researcher. Since, English is the language followed in the U.K., I did not face any language issues there. But of course, I realised the huge cultural difference. The people were friendly when it came to making enquiries such as asking for directions.

I completed my bachelor’s programme and was pursuing my master’s at VIT University, Vellore. I approached the VIT Alumni Office with regard to initial preparations for my trip which was of great help. A member of the VITAA London chapter received me at the airport. He searched for an affordable student accommodation in a location of Asian community (East ham) in the U.K. and guided me about travel and other local amenities. My supervisor at Imperial College London also provided me her handset number, just in case I needed to contact her after arriving at the U.K. It is cheaper and convenient to use the London tube to commute in London. Students are issued TFL travel cards which provide considerable discounts for travelling via the tube rail. Special students-rate recharge amounts are available for the travel card which enables one to travel as many times all over London for one week which is certainly cheap and advantageous. Buses also ply across the city and one can use the same travel card for travelling by bus. Details of the issuance of the travel card can be obtained from the institute’s students’ hub/cell.

The professors were welcoming and colleagues were friendly which actually helped me settle down in a very different work environment. Fellow colleagues were helpful and kind enough to extend their support, whenever I needed help. Periodic internal meetings and seminars within the department helped me boost my confidence in speaking at international public forums.

There is an array of restaurants offering a range of Indian foods at affordable prices. Some of them also provide student discounts on presenting the university card. There are many places to vist in London and most of them are free. Those which have charges attached also have students’ discount. One can plan short trips to nearby places such as Oxford, Cambridge and beautiful country sides. London is an excellent shopping destination and provides flexible options but might be costly.

By the time studies are over, one gets sufficient exposure to pursue higher studies or work in an industry.

(The writer was selected by the Imperial College, London, as a visitor to carry out his M.Sc research work. He is currently pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Cambridge, U.K. Email: abhinaba@vit.ac.in.)