student blogger

Manuela's picture

Life at the University of East London

French student Manuela Constantini is one of the newest members of the ForeignStudents.com writing team. Here she gives a view of her life studying for a degree in Communication Studies at the University of East London.

"I have been observing and analyzing people from my university since last September when I first moved in. It was love at first sight as I was simply amazed by the view from my kitchen window, as I could see the planes taking off and landing from a distance. Planes from London City airport and the DLR did not sound so noisy back then. Maybe I was way too excited to learn in a new environment, explore the city and make new friends.

I moved in to university halls mainly because it was close to my gym, and close to the uni library open 24/7. Other than that, it is in the middle of nowhere, and the simple thought of going food shopping or central is painful. Food shopping is not even a necessity when I compare French food to English food. I don't get the beans on toast concept? No offence. Oh and please do not assume that French food revolves around frog legs and snails. Although my world revolves around French baguettes and pastries.

Manuela's picture

A London Underground Story

"Greater London is served by 12 Tube lines, along with the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and an interconnected local train network. Trains generally run between 5am and midnight, Monday to Saturday. Operating hours are reduced on Sunday." (VisitLondon.com)

Bank station was voted as the most hated station by Londoners.

I personally don't agree. Let me explain why.

I live in the East End and therefore have to travel on the DLR pretty much everyday. I have my reasons to complain as the DLR has shut down numerous times on the weekends. So I'd say if I had to complain it would not be about the station, but about the whole line instead. But then again, why always consider the negative aspects of public transport?

Other hated stations include Oxford Circus, Elephant and Castle and King's Cross- the busy ones obviously. The London Underground system can become very crowded at peak times and, therefore, is difficult for those with mobility problems. Sometimes you even have to wait to get on the next train as carriages are packed. But this is LONDON!

The Positives of the Tube

There are positive aspects to the London Underground, which provides many advantages such as the following:

Erik's picture

An Unexpected Conversation

Earlier this week, Bank was voted the most hated tube station in London. Possibly because of the general loathing against bankers- the station is always full of them because of the direct service to London City Airport and Canary Wharf.

But for one Wednesday last week, the busiest station must have been St Paul's. It was there that I met a businessman who was rushing to do business somewhere around Greenwich.

I was waiting for a tube, just coming back from Margaret Thatcher's funeral, when joined by several well dressed gentlemen. One of them, nearing his 50s, approached the traffic warden with a question about the connection to North Greenwich - business interest, obviously.

Later he boarded the train and spent the journey engaged in conversion with a ‘peer'. I only overheard that one word 'peer' while reading paper, business news.

Upon leaving, I left the paper on the seat. The well dressed gentleman took it. I meant to leave it for other travellers to read, I apologized for what might be seen as leaving rubbish.

"That's all right', he said "I'll read it on my next train".

He asked me whereabouts I was from.

"Slovakia", he reacted to my country of origin. "I have a friend from there, Bruno, makes good guns".

Erik's picture

Erik’s View: Farewell to the Iron Lady and the Marathon Tragedy

Erik Redli is a university graduate from Slovakia who is currently living in London. Each week he gives his view on the events of the last seven days. This week, he looks at his experience of Margaret Thatcher's funeral, and the Boston Marathon bombings.

"London lives with two main events this week in mid-April."

The Iron Lady's Funeral

"Even the most alien visitor must have realized that something big was happening in London on Wednesday. Who knows if there would have been 8 police officers deployed inside the St Paul's tube alone if not for the Boston marathon tragedy that showed the extraordinary security measures needed. Even the security guys from the nearby building stood out in the streets to look like important.

Outside the station I tried to make a photo of a leaflet lying on the street inviting me to some kind of Thatcher party. But it was blown away by the wind the moment I approached it. Respecting the right for eternal rest, I joined the other mourners and visitors.

We were ushered by the police and organizers to the improvised corridor that took us to the ticket entrance at St Paul's Cathedral. No further, as it was only for the family, invited politicians and personalities. I would like to meet Henry Kissinger or Boris Johnson, but it is not polite to talk inside a church anyway.

Manuela's picture

The Free Online Future of Higher Education?

The digital revolution has led to many societal and cultural changes. Nowadays people tend to use electronic technologies anywhere and anytime. University students take notes on their laptops and on their iPads or tablets, they do research on the web library because the internet is a huge database without limitations, and also a time saver.

More and more websites are opening free online classes called MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses), which attract students massively. With web sites offering students the possibility to learn online, their popularity questions the future of higher education. Is this the future of higher education?

The Benefits of Online Courses

Every semester students have to register for their modules, hence everyone goes through the module descriptions and requirements to choose subjects of their interest. No one wants to pay for a module that won't interest them much, as they won't put much effort into it.

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