student blogger

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Thoughts on Things British

I came to London with a suitcase full of preconceptions and stereotypes about the place that would become my home for a year. Even though I consider myself open-minded, I could not help but expect an exorbitantly expensive city with terrible food and weather, Mr. Bean-like people, an unpopular royal family and pubs crowded with loud hooligans.

After all this time living in the UK, I've learned that some of these legends are completely false, whereas others have turned out to be surprisingly accurate! Here's my take on some things British I have encountered along the way:

Maria's picture

A Day in the Life of a Foreign Student

Yes, I realize that foreign students come in all shapes and colours (literally). However, I think there is no better way to explain what it feels like to study in England than to give you a glimpse of the things I would do on any given day. Do bear in mind that one of the things I've enjoyed most about my time here is the lack of routine. London is such a dynamic place to live in (and Europe is such a great continent to explore) I have the luxury to fill each day with new surprises.

Mornings

In the morning I am usually awakened by little kids laughing, shouting and singing right outside my studio, which is conveniently located next to a primary school. During the academic year, I would take the underground train to school and eat lunch there between lectures.This was a great time to catch up with classmates or readings, or attend one of the lunch concerts offered at LSE. During the two or three days I did not have class, I would dedicate my mornings to my part-time job.

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My Student Neighbours

My decision to come to London was carefully planned: I chose a great school in a great city in a great continent. Little did I know then that the most rewarding part of my experience here would emerge from pure spontaneity and coincidence.

I met my neighbours months after my arrival, during a residents' pizza night at the International Students House. That night was all it took to realize they were an amazing bunch, and a few more meals together confirmed I was part of an incredibly warm and diverse community of friends that would change my life in London in unexpectedly wonderful ways.

Learning and Laughing

It is not hyperbolic to say that I have learned more from my neighbours than I have in the classroom at LSE. Through our conversations I have travelled the world as they know it, through our meals I have tasted their cultures, and through our jokes I have realized that differences become trivial when we all can laugh together.

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The British Dissertation

One-year Master's students in Britain are all too familiar with the situation described so brilliantly by my good friend and fellow Master's student:

INSTALLING SUMMER.....

███████████████░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ 44% DONE.

Install delayed....please wait.

Installation failed. Please try again. 404 error: Season not found. Season "Summer" cannot be located. The season you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is unavailable in England.

Perhaps my friend was referring to the lack of sun and warmth that characterizes this time of the year in England yet is unthinkable for the season in his native Brazil. But perhaps he was referring to the lack of summer that comes from having to write a thesis during vacation. You have all heard that British people are obsessed with time, and one-year Master's programs in England are no exception. Forget about that September-May nonsense; here they last exactly one year. While we attend classes for the first nine months, the last three months after final examinations are destined to the dissertation writing process.

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The Best Place to Stay in London

Every full-time student and professional trainee can become a member of International Student House (or ISH for short), the amazing residential hall in the centre of London that I am proud to call home. However, ISH is much more than a residence. It is actually a cultural, intellectual and social center where activities literally do not stop thanks to the efforts of a fun and dedicated staff, especially the ISH events team.

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