The University of Southampton
International Voices

A year in the UK; experiences and memories for lifetime

When I first got to know that I could publish my blogs on the University website, I was too excited about the fact and pledged to write and submit a blog each month. But in reality I could only manage to do two. The first time I submitted my blog was after a month of staying in Southampton and the second is the one you are reading now, written when only a month left for me to wrap up. I owe it totally to the University and the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, UK to keep me engaged throughout the year. In order to share some of my experiences, I must start with my course which is Master of Research in Vertebrate palaeontology. Yes, I know that is a big word(as many say) but is simply, the study of vertebrate fossils and to simplify it all the more to someone who is inquisitive, I say, ‘have you watched F.R.I.E.N.D.S(it’s an American television sitcom)?’ and instantly the reply comes, are you Ross? I smile and say well, somewhat trying to be. But unlike Ross, who researches on dinosaurs, I study shark teeth! 

Sinjini B1

Apart from academics, attending various events organized by the Commonwealth Commission, dance and travel formed an integral part of my one year of UK life. I am delighted to be a part of this prestigious University and Commonwealth Scholarship Commission who gave me the opportunity of host visit and have the privilege of staying with a British family. HOST UK is a wonderful organization for International students, where international students as guests stay with English families (hosts) and have mutual exchange of thoughts about the history, culture, cuisine of their respective countries. Since, my host and I loved travelling; we went to a few nearby places. We plucked strawberries directly from plant, which was something very new for me. They gave me memories which I will cherish throughout my life.

Sinjini B2

Other places which I visited includes the Durdle Door and the Jurassic Coast of England, Stonehenge on the Summer Solstice day, Bath and Bristol, Isle of Wight a couples of times for field work and of course Oxford and Cambridge to envisage the oldest buildings of the country. I was fortunate enough to make it to the Lordington Lavender farm, when it was opened for a week in July. I have never seen such a farm in India before.

Sinjini B3

The people in this country are the best ones I have met so far. If you seek help for arriving at your destination, they would either escort you or use their phone’s GPS but would make sure you reach your destination safe and sound. Also not to forget, my classmate baked a scrumptious cake for my birthday, exactly the one I love, chocolate with vanilla icing.

‘You alright’, ‘ Sorry’, ‘Brilliant’, ‘Thank you’, ‘Lovely’ are a few typical English phrases which I learnt and started applying as well as time passed.  In the beginning I was not familiar with the coins in the UK. So, the first time I went to buy a cookie from the student store, I didn’t know how to pay the bill amounting to £0.70. I knew the minimum price for commodities was £1 but didn’t know how to pay for less than a quid. So I went to my programme officer and she helped me to know all the coins. The University, the halls of residences as well as the city is quite happening. I celebrated both English as well as Indian festivals here. The best part was participating in the International Culture Night, where different Nations showcase their culture and history through dance and music.

Overall, to sum up, time just flew by before I realized that I am about to finish my course. But with the help of the University, I could make the best use of my UK time. The commonwealth Commission also gave me opportunities to visit some significant places like the Houses of the Parliament, Foreign and Commonwealth office and the Canada House in London. Given a chance, I would not give a second thought about coming to the University of Southampton again. It is the most student friendly school that I ever attended!

Sinjini B4

Sinjini Sinha
Commonwealth scholar

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