Travelling Around the UK

Hi, my name is LeeAnn and I am a Master’s student at King’s studying Biomedical and Molecular Science Research. I am originally from New York and this is my second time living in London. One way I like to spend my spare time is by traveling around Europe and the UK. Living in London makes it so easy to travel and there are so many historic and beautiful places to see not too far from central London.

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I’ve had the opportunity to travel to a number of places throughout the UK and was surprised by how close many of them are to London. A great deal of the traveling I’ve done was in a group with a tour guide and other students at Uni in London. This took a lot of the pressure off because I didn’t need to book transportation for these trips. Some of the places I went in this group are Wales, Stonehenge, Bath, and Canterbury and Hever Castle. The trip to Wales was a lot of fun because I had the chance to walk around historic castles, go spelunking, and meet new people. The people I met on this trip ended up being involved in this travel program with me for six trips and we all ended up getting very close. I think one of the best parts about traveling around the UK is that since so many of the destinations are within two hours from London, there is no need to stay overnight. Of course, it can be nice to extend the trip sometimes but it makes traveling much more affordable.

Some of the places I’ve visited without a student tour group are Oxford, Dover, and Brighton. All three of these locations are easily reachable from London by bus or rail and relatively cheap to get to. Walking around Dover was a lot of fun and the view is gorgeous. Even though it is only about 1.5 hours away from London, it feels like being in another world. That is the same feeling I had in so many of the places I vi1969688_10152285823859905_1073385783_osited around the UK. They are all so unique and very different from the hustle and bustle of London. It can be very nice to take these types of day trips to escape the stress of schoolwork and explore different parts of the country. I learned so much about the UK by taking these trips and I am looking forward to planning some more!

Home away from Home

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My name is Rachel, I am a 2nd year medical student from Hong Kong studying here in London. Hopefully my bi-weekly posts will give you a little insight into the academic life here at King’s, punctuated with snippets of my adventures here in London.

After growing up in Hong Kong for 10 years, living in Shanghai for 7, and another 2 years at a boarding school, I would’ve thought that I’d be prepared to go abroad to complete my undergraduate degree in Medicine. Now, I can only say that I’m still learning.

Although it may sound cliché to name London as one of those ‘big, international cities’, the type of diversity you find between two adjacent tube stops never fails to amaze me. From the neatly aligned, picturesque houses of South Kensington, to the hustle and bustle of Borough Market, there are always new places to explore.

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But speaking of home, my favourite place is still ChinaTown. Although the slightly overpriced DimSum carries genuine flavours of authenticity, it’s more the little things that remind me of ‘home’. The bakeries filled with the aroma cocktail buns (‘鸡尾包’) and pineapple buns (‘菠萝包’), the efficient and slightly rude customer service at restaurants, and the simplicity of streets flooded with people. What better way to reminisce that hustle and bustle than visiting ChinaTown on the day of Chinese New Year celebrations?

 

 

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The shops steal the chance to make a little more profit from selling mini dragon puppets, Chinese custard buns and window space for the front row seat to see the lion dance street performances. The rhythmic drum beats echo through the streets, occasionally interrupted by explosive ‘cracks’ created by the tad-pole like throw bangers packed with minute amounts of  dangerous fun.

friendsFinally, the centre of all Chinese New Year celebrations is the aspect of family, which unfortunately being 9000km away from home, means it’s a little difficult to achieve that tradition. However, it fills me with pride to see multicultural communities come together to experience and enjoy these Chinese New Year celebrations. And being in such a central location, it’s never hard to find ‘family’ that will celebrate this with you.

I think I’m ready to call London my home away from home.