A Year in Review: From a President’s Scholars Rep

by Abellona U

Upon becoming the year rep of the President’s Scholars, I set myself a goal – to foster a community amongst the scholars.

I was very excited to serve this community because we really are a unique bunch. We come from all corners of the world and we research in all imaginable areas across science, engineering and business. I wanted to organise social events that form part of the highlights of the scholars’ student life at Imperial.

Queen’s Tower Tour

The first event that I organised was the Queen’s Tower Tour. We walk around this iconic tower every day, yet, have you ever wondered what it’s like to go up there? I was curious and thought, why not organise a tour so that we can all find out together! It turned out to be so well-received that there had to be three separate tours to accommodate everybody. It was a fascinating tour; squeezing through the narrow spiral staircase, discovering something new on each level. At the top, we got to admire the 360º view of the Kensington area. Here is a sample of the North,

The Tasting Culture Series

Next up, was the Tasting Culture events. As a cohort, we represent a wide variety of different cultures so it seemed like a great idea to sample cuisine from some of those different countries; an opportunity for us to show off a little taste of home and to sample lots of different food!

We first went to a Cantonese Dim Sum restaurant where we tried the variety of dim sum, what I call ‘Chinese tapas’. We then went to a German pub to enjoy German beer, and an Ecuadorian restaurant featuring seafood in huge portions. We also had a potluck where we showcased our own cooking skills.

Out of London!

On one fine summer day, we headed south to Seven Sisters in Sussex. It was a trip of 12 people representing 10 nationalities. Talking about our cultures alone gave us endless topics for our conversations. The weather was perfect and the scenery was amazing. It was one of the best days out walking I have ever had in England.

We also went to Richmond Park during the rutting season.  We were lucky enough to see some stags in action as well as finding ourselves on an open plain with lots of deer!

A nice cosy Christmas dinner to wind up the year

Finally we wrapped up the year with a cosy Christmas dinner at the nearby Italian restaurant Da Mario, which was funded by the Graduate School’s Cohort Building, Research Community Fund. We enjoyed our time so much that we hardly had the chance to take our mobile phones out for a snap. Here’s the only one I managed to take!

I would like to thank the scholars for their support in making the events successful and I would like to encourage more scholars to take part in this unique community. Looking ahead, we have formed a social committee to take us into the New Year, so look out for more events over the coming months.

What I learnt from being the rep

As well as thoroughly enjoying the events myself, I also learnt a lot about the culture, history, the food and what life is like in different parts of the world. These events have been a great opportunity to make friends beyond students of my own discipline and conversations I have had with fellow scholars from different backgrounds, have widened my perspective as a global citizen.

Imperial has recently been rated as the most international university in the UK. With over 125 nationalities represented on campus, you are always going to meet someone new and from a different country. You soon realise that you’d need to study the world map so that you won’t get embarrassed when someone tells you where they come from and you don’t have a clue where that is!

My message for all fellow students is: seize the opportunity to enjoy not just the world-class research experience, but the world-class global citizen experience here during your time at Imperial.

Hey, after Imperial, you will have a local guide and a coach for you wherever you travel in the world!

About the President Scholars

The President’s PhD Scholarships is a scheme run and funded by Imperial College. It offers 50 fully and generously funded PhD positions in any discipline to students regardless of their nationality. Please see here for more details.

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