Viva for Viva

A very special seminar took place at Department of European and International Studies’ research room at King’s Strand campus last Saturday. Just like the “Arab Spring”, this event was organized by my good friend, also a PhD researcher at King’s, through the Facebook group called ‘KCL New Thinker since 2012’. Participants were from various disciplines and some hadn’t met each other face to face!

The location was tricky and the organizer was considerate enough to give directions

As ‘What’s your research topic?’ was the most frequently asked question for us first year PhD students, our organizer proposed a different way of self-introduction to avoid aesthetic fatigue, which is to draw a picture and illustrate our research. (I suggested her quitting PhD and becoming a party planner, seriously.) Then the organizer provided useful information about PhD upgrade, including timing, requirements, paperwork, procedure and preparation. Our friend from Department of Informatics made some inspiring comments and encouraged us to be happy instead of worried about the upgrade, and I contributed some tips borrowed from a training course on upgrading. During the exciting Q&A session, two guest speakers who had successfully upgraded recently shared their experience and satisfied our curiosity about external examiner, unfamiliar questions, dress code, result notification…

The seminar closed with a nice group photo which is now the cover photo of our Facebook page. We’re working on group funding and hopefully more activities will come up!

KCL New Thinker since 2012    http://www.facebook.com/groups/360026037422645

If Spring Festival Comes, Can Spring Be Far Behind?

Here came the Chinese New Year, with little flowers already in blossom in parks in London. According to schedule, a group of Chinese students held an informal workshop titled “Methodology of Making and Eating Dumplings” on the eve of the Year of Snake. In spite of lack of experience, all participants contributed to the empirical section and produced delicious food. During the following entertainment section, they sang songs hilariously and enjoyed themselves very much.

Symposium of the workshop

On the first day of the New Year, people were attracted to the Trafalgar Square for the various performances that lasted from morning to evening. At the end of the show, beautiful fireworks drew hurrah from the crowd. It felt kind of weird to celebrate the Spring Festival in rain instead of in snow, though.

Evening of the Trafalgar Square

Then there was the gala jointly held by seven branches of Chinese Students and Scholars Association across London, including CSSA-King’s. Songs, dances, talk shows, and stage plays were designed to fit in the theme “Memory”, and did remind the audience of adolescent years. Thus, the festival atmosphere was decorated with both melancholy and laughter, which extended into a serene night and a happy new year.

New Year Gala

CSSA-King’s  http://www.cssakings.org.uk/