By Javier Cabello Garcia, PhD Student, Department of Bioengineering
After a really tough year, the members of the SynBIC decided to organize a trip to bring back together PhD and Master’s students. This way, we could give a proper welcome to the new arrivals in the team! After thinking about what the best place for our meet and greet would be, we reached the logical conclusion that there is no better place than a garlic farm! So, we headed to the Isle of Wight to visit its garlic farm and the island surroundings.
The day trip to the Isle of Wight took place on Friday 2nd of July, 2021. Our voyage started at 8.30 when we got a coach from Victoria station. During the 2 hours trip, we hang out talking with each other and playing card games. Once in Portsmouth, we walked to the port where we rode the hovercraft that brought us to the Isle of Wight. The hovercraft was an experience itself! You do not fly over the water every day.
Later that morning, a bus transported us to the Isle of Wight garlic farm, a place of international renown. There, we enjoyed lunch (always respecting current COVID restrictions!). We visited the farm afterwards, taking a stroll through the garlic while listening about all the different garlic variants that they grow.
After that, we took a bus back to Ryde beach. This bus also happened to be a tourist bus, so we could quickly see other attractions of the isle of Wight, like the big cat sanctuary or the vineyard. The discovery of the latest caused a small mutiny among some members of the expedition, that questioned why we went to the garlic farm instead of the vineyard (Author’s note: Even when garlic is far superior). After putting down mercilessly the insurrection, we arrived at Ryde beach where we hiked and carried out some team building activities. There, we had some time to know each other better and give a warm welcome to the newcomers! We even had some time to talk about our current projects, which sparked some collaborations between the members of the centre!
After a full day of activities, we took the hovercraft back to Portsmouth, where we took the coach back to Victoria. On the trip back, some were chatting, others fast asleep, but most of us were simply watching Spain obliterate Switzerland in the Euros!
The atmosphere in the trip back was completely different from the outbound journey. We were more talkative, and the groups mingled together. So I guess the trip was a success! We had a great experience meeting new people and participating in the activities. New arrivals could introduce themselves and get to know their new lab mates. On the other hand, senior members were able to reencounter in a more relaxed and ludic environment. At the end of the journey, we all had a clearer idea about other members’ research and who they are outside the lab. Additionally, the experience increased our sense of belonging to a group. Everybody (even the vineyard insurgents) concluded that the trip was a great experience from a professional and personal point of view.
And of course, we especially acknowledge Imperial College London Graduate School for sponsoring our day trip to the Isle of Wight. Their funding has been vital for the PhD and master students at the SynBIC!