The big festival of Exams @ KCL

Exams!! A word which sends a shiver to many of our spines depending on the context it is used in. Pre exam sure is a nightmare to many people but of course the post exam infuses that excitement, that feeling of happiness in everyone. I am sure into that phase at the moment. The last month has been an awfully stressful for the students of King’s College as it had been the preparatory month and there’s been nothing else on the mind other than the final exams.


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People spend a whole year studying and preparing for this big moment, which decides the fate of many of us students. Those lectures, assignments and coursework and hours spent in the library and I am sure that each of the students had prepared and given in their 100 percent of the efforts to prepare for these final exams which take place at the Excel Exhibition centre.

Kcl Exams

Well, I would like to go into the details and give you some insight about the whole process (Yes! I would definitely call it a well planned process because these exams are planned right at the beginning of the year). I have personally been used to giving exams here in India and I would say that there certainly is a big difference.  In India, first of all I haven’t seen almost 2000 people sitting in the same room and writing exam for 3 hours. This is sure going to sound very surprising to many of you because, yeah that’s the reality 2000 people sitting in the same big hall and writing exam simultaneously.

When, I first heard that the exams were going to be conducted at the Excel exhibition centre I was very happy as it is situated right besides where I live. But, it sure did make a lot of people frown because they had to commute a bit longer than they did at the college. A lot of efforts were taken by the student union to change the venue of our exams but they were unfruitful in their attempts. Personally I was delighted (though it may sound selfish on my part, but then again I do understand that it is quite feasible for the college to manage such a huge number of students writing exams at the same time in a big venue such as the Excel).

Excel exhibition centre

When I first appeared for the exams I was literally taken aback after looking at the number of students who had come to write the exam with me and I was like What! 2k people at the same time. I mean I did anticipate that there’s going to be a huge number as Excel was chosen to be the venue but never imagined such a huge number. It did give me chills and was quite scared as the number in itself made me overwhelmed. The whole of the hall is divided into 4 zones and there are 500 students in each of those zones. Each zone is monitored by almost I would say around 5 to 6 supervisors (though I am not sure) but they are really helpful and quick in helping out students with stationary or any other help. Well, what I found a bit annoying is the instructions which are given out at the start of each paper through the PA system. But, then I do understand that these are necessary as there is a possibility that there might be a new student everyday who might not know what to do in a particular situation. And, yes of course no one can forget the ticking clock which is displayed on a huge screen on the front side of the hall which does make many hearts skip a beat; especially during those last 15 minutes.


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But, I must say I came out relaxed at the end as it was not that bad as I must have imagined at the start of the paper. In fact, after writing papers for two consecutive semesters has made me quite comfortable with the fact that I have these many people with me giving their exams with me at the same time. The whole scenario is one of its kinds and certainly quite different than I have had experienced before. I soon became quite used to it and now it doesn’t seem strange at all. Rather, I would say it has become so familiar that it seems I’ve been used to writing papers in this way since quite long now.

Anyways, now that it’s over now i am quite certain that many students are quite relaxed now and must be preparing for the next phase. For Master’s students it’s the time for dissertation and for many others it’s just an year which has passed and are waiting for the next one to come. And yet for many others, they might have started with job hunting and others are simply relaxing and having a merry time at home or at some other place. I give in my best wishes to all of them and wish them good luck for the upcoming days.


Isle of Wight: Dinosaur island

Long weekend was something of which I understood the importance after coming to London. People start making plans about those weekends right at the beginning of the year. I thought why such a deal about it. But, since I was used to the Indian system where we have a habit of having so many bank holidays on countless occasions and those corresponding to the weekend was quite a probability. So, I thought that people are just making a fuss about it. Here, in London it’s so different. First of all, there aren’t many occasions on which you might get an off from work or colleges. Secondly, even if it does, it’s either raining or there’s simply a bad weather day. These are the things which you come to know after living for some considerable time in here, because as they say the weather in London is so unpredictable that it might change thrice (as in it may rain, or get windy or it might just be an another clear sunny phase of a day) in a single day!


The beautiful English Channel

Well, there’s an instance every year during Easter when there is an extended weekend from Friday to Monday. In UK, you never run out of the places you can visit. It is the 8th biggest tourist destinations in the world. London itself experiences the largest number of visitors annually in the UK. There are numerous destinations around London which I have lately discovered and do want to visit them before I return back to India.


One of the many fishing lakes at Isle of Wight

One such location which I recently explored was the Isle of Wight. It’s the largest island of England and situated in the English Channel to the far south of the country. Distance to France is hardly 60 to 65 miles from here. It’s indeed such a beautiful island and I was simply mesmerized by the breath taking blue water and the large stretches of Greenland across the island. Since it is an island you need to get across the sea in a ferry. Ferry is nothing but a huge ship vessel which carries vehicles and passengers across a distance in water. Our ferry had three levels for parking and two floors for passengers; which had a restaurant and a deck. Standing on the deck having coffee, and sailing across the blue English Channel, indeed made me feel as if I were in a movie. The beginning of the journey was so beautiful that the levels of expectations about the island before reaching there had naturally grown up.


The big stretches of Mustard fields

But, it was totally worth it. It was far better than the expectations when I got down the island. This island is also famous for Dinosaurs! As in this was the place where a lot of dinosaur fossils were found and therefore, the island gets its nickname as the dinosaur island! It is one of the important places in Europe where dinosaur fossils were found. There are many dinosaur themed parks and a museum where they have kept the fossils and footprints which were found on the rocks in some parts of the island. However, that’s not it; the island is famous for its thatched roof houses, hovercrafts, different colored sand beaches and much more.


Sunset at Ventnor

If you come to the island I would say you should take at least a two to three day break so that you can explore it to the fullest. There are excellent accommodation facilities on the island especially in the villages such as Niton, Rookley, Godshill or near to the beaches such as Sandown or the Shanklin. Here you can even book cottages which are quite well catered and at quite a reasonable price. If you go in a group of 4-5 people booking a cottage is a good idea. There are supermarkets on the island so getting stuff is easy. I would suggest an outdoor barbecue right by some lake where you have fishing facilities as well (of course for those who are fishing enthusiasts). There are some good shacks on the beach where you get a variety of sea food and it feels great by the night.


The pebble beach at Needles Point

One day should be spent on the nice beaches here which are clean first of all and I don’t know about summers but it wasn’t particularly crowded so in a way it is peaceful out there. There are sand beaches near Sandown which are particularly fun and you have all the facilities nearby so it’s a beach where you can spend most of the time. You could then go to Needles Park which is particularly on the opposite side of the island but here there’s a chairlift which gives you a ride down to the beach from the cliff top and you get a spectacular view of the needles point and the sea ahead. The beach down here is full of pebbles and you can spend most of the time especially afternoons. There are speed boats and slow boat rides but I won’t say there are worth. There are lots of options you could explore on the island. You get nice souvenirs in the Needles Park here and hours could be spent in the market. But, again yeah one more thing if you don’t have your own car, getting across places could get a bit difficult though there are buses which ply throughout the island.


The Godshill Model Village: Note the actual church building in the background

One more thing here which needs a particular mention here is the Godshill village and the model Godshill village right in the middle of the village. Yes that’s right! There’s a model of the actual village which has been scaled and detailed very minutely and accurately. They have made the whole replica of the village and some parts of the island in the form of a small model. This is sure fun and one can really admire the work of art which has been done here.


The Needles Point: Isle of Wight

The final stop was the St.Catherine’s Lighthouse which is situated near the foothills of Niton village. It’s one of the oldest and important lighthouses in Britain. The first lighthouse which was built dates back to the year 1323 which is almost 700 years old.


St. Catherine’s Lighthouse: 700 years old

Of course there have been many reconstructions later on and the latest one dates back to the early 20th century. The optic of the lighthouse which is currently working was established in the year 1905 approximately and is still active. The area near to it has many rabbits and red squirrels which are quite rare and are found on this island. The lighthouse overlooks a house near its premises where the founder of Radio waves Marconi stayed once.

Well that’s all we could explore throughout the island in a trip of three days. Half of one day was wasted because of heavy rains but then again we must know that it may rain anytime in UK and we can’t complain. It is the hard truth with which people live here!


The journey had to end and it did. You wish that you could have some more time you could have done this you could have done that…But, it’s life after all and it must go on. It is just one of the small phases of life where you wish the time would never end. But, then life is a collection of such small phases and which stay in our mind forever and we call them memories.


Rise and Shine

I got up this morning to a very beautiful day today. Yeah it’s Saturday after all and I want my piece of cake after a hectic week and here it was. But just not that, as soon as I open the blinds of the room my eyes are nearly blinded by the bright sunshine which was a cherry on top of the icing. For the whole week earlier, it had been raining nonstop. And here it was a beautiful sunny start of the weekend. They truly say that you can’t know the importance of sunshine unless you stay in London. Well, I don’t know whether they really say that but it is indeed a true story here.

A Beautiful Sunny Day

A Beautiful Sunny Day

The weather in London is so unpredictable, that even stock market seems pretty simple. You see a beautiful and clear sky one moment and just after a couple of hours the whole thing said before begins to seem a contradiction. Black clouds, winds followed by a downpour. Yeah, its London and this is the real picture of it (at least) for some time of the year. But, then again man has been designed in a way to adapt to any surrounding condition and this is what happens to people staying here; you get used to that weather and somewhere subconsciously, you start loving it. Again, this might come as a surprise but it’s a true story!

Fog in London is very common

Fog in London is very common

Of course, it is difficult initially especially for the people (like me) coming from tropical countries, because they are used to seeing sun almost every day of their life around the year. I remember when I came to London; the weather so got on to my nerves that some days I used to feel depressed the whole day. But, as I said before, man has the capability to adapt. You slowly start loving things which you hated before and as they say, one becomes institutionalized to those things when they are exposed to the same things everyday for a longer period of time.


I would say, it’s a good thing which happened to me. Sometimes, you never realize the importance of some things unless they are no more (in this case I would say less often). The same thing implies for the sunshine. I never felt so happy, looking at the beautiful sunshiny day today which I never would have cherished if I would have stayed in my own country. I’ m happy that I am here with new experiences, new people, new places to explore and of course striving to be even a better person as I am today.


London Calling

The first question which is bound to popup into anyone’s mind while choosing a place to study is ‘why..?’ So, I would like to begin with answering one simple question one is bound to ask while coming to London, ‘Why London?’; London is truly among one of the world’s best cities. Not only it has one of the greatest infrastructures but it has always been a home to great people who have been noteworthy around the globe. London is home to 4 universities which are in the top 40 universities in the world and I am happy that I am a part of one such university.

Personally, I have been quite dubious about coming to London before I made the choice. But, when I actually came here I realized that I would have regretted my whole life for not coming to such a beautiful city if I hadn’t decided to come to London. There are many factors which may lead one to think that they should make an another choice rather than choose an University in London, but trust me it’s worth every penny spent.

I would like to give some major reasons one should come to London to study:

  • One of the biggest Multicultural City in the world:

London is considered as one of the biggest multicultural city with over 300 different languages spoken on the streets of London. There are people from nearly all parts of the world, India, Poland, US, Turkey, France and the list is simply unending. You can hardly find such a diverse and a city with such a rich heritage all at one place. The Trafalgar Square is one such place where you can experience the richness of the culture from different parts of the world. Here every year plenty of such festivals are celebrated by people of different regions and one can experience the true culture of London.


  • Education:

King's College London Strand Campus

Whether its Science one wishes to study or the art, London has one of the best universities in the world. London has seen many great people who have been great artists, great literary figures, great scientists and also great sportsmen. So, one can expect top class education in London. Of course one may have heard that London is also one of the costliest cities to live in, but it’s not really that much if you are a student here. Being a student gives you access to various discounts right from shopping to travelling and many more.


  • Food:

london food

There are many people in the world (like me) who live to eat. If you belong to this category, then you are surely in for a treat here. London being a multicultural city also offers a diverse food variety. It has got some very fine and authentic cuisines of the world. Right from the street food at Berwick Street Market and Borough markets to some very fancy restaurants in Mayfair, London is a heaven for food lovers.


  • Social Life:

Freshers party at Ministry of Sound

Man is a social animal but today the definition has changed and we know that man is a party animal. London has one of the finest night clubs offering more than 50 % discounts to students. Of course, the first week itself will introduce you to some awesome fresher parties which is surely going to exhaust you (though not literally). With Ministry of Sound and other fantastic party destinations, one may hardly find himself lonely in this lively and happening city.


  • Plenty to explore Stuff:

The famous Piccadilly Circus at Night

London is also a place known for its world famous Museums and Art galleries. And the most important thing is, they are free. You heard it right! The Naturals History Museum, Science Museum, Tate Modern, The national art gallery and many more such places which are priceless indeed. Also, the famous Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar square, parks (Hyde, Hampstead Heath, etc) which are surely the best experiences while as a student you may get. Not to forget the famous Southbank for its riverside view of the Thames.


  • Shopping:

Flooded streets on Boxing Day

If you are a person who likes to shop till you drop, then there’s no other place than London itself. With some or the other discounts going on around the year, you will find plenty of shopping destinations in London. Especially in Christmas you will find huge discounts at various places in London. The top destinations are the Oxford Street, Regent Street, Mayfair, Westfield where you’ll rarely not find the thing you need.


Well, there are plenty and many more reasons for people to come to London and study. It’s quite easier to find part time work here while you study, because students coming to London are allowed to work part time. The national minimum wage being £6.5 its quite easier to at least pay your bills and also save some. Also, London is a true global destination from the career’s point of view. It gives a global and commercial outlook and exposure for the people working here. And being one of the powerful currencies of the world, you’ll definitely earn more than your counterparts in other parts of the world.


Lastly, I would say, what I described above is just an overview of London as a destination to study but you’ll discover much more when you actually come and experience the true spirit of London yourself. And I would say coming here as a student is the best possible way to come to London, if you wish to settle in the world’s most global city for your lifetime.