Navigating Imperial College London

Universities can be classified into two major categories: campus universities and city universities. Campus universities are those where all students and facilities are located on-site, whilst city universities have their students, facilities and campuses spread out across the city. Imperial definitely falls into the latter category. When you study in a metropolis like London, it is a bit difficult, logistically, to build large all-encompassing campuses in the city centre. This post will give you some information on Imperial’s 8 major campuses and facilities, focusing on the main South Kensington campus.

Imperial campuses

Most undergraduate students will be located at the main campus in South Kensington. The buildings host different faculties, and feature a range of architecture styles, ranging from Edwardian to ultra-modern. Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Chelsea and Westminster, Royal Brompton and St. Mary’s are medical teaching and bioscientific research campuses, dotted around London, and are associated with hospitals of the same name. Located near the Hammersmith campus, White City functions both as a place for research but also as a multidisciplinary innovation hub (I-HUB) for entrepreneurs, researchers and corporate partners. There is a free shuttle bus service that runs between the South Kensington, Hammersmith and White City campuses on weekdays, making travel much more convenient. Due to COVID-19, a booking system has been implemented to minimise risk for passengers.

South Kensington

The South Kensington campus hosts a number of facilities that greatly improve the student experience. While other campuses have similar provisions, the South Kensington campus is the most relevant for most undergraduate and postgraduate students as they will most likely be based here.

Student hub:

The Student Hub is a place where students can go and ask for advice and information about almost anything. Located on the 3rd floor of the Sherfield Building, the hub has a wonderful team of people who are knowledgeable about finances, accommodation, exam arrangements, and also provide important student documents (e.g. transcripts, student record, etc.). They have a specific team that offers more specialised support for international students, such as understanding the Tier 4 student visa and its implications.

Ethos:

Ethos is located in Princes Gardens, near the Eastside and Southside halls. It hosts a variety of sports facilities, including a well-equipped gym, swimming pool, sports hall, squash courts, climbing wall, and a studio for fitness classes. A treatment room is also available for those that want massages, physiotherapy and even acupuncture. Memberships start from £30/year for students, and this gives you access to the gym and swimming pool at any time. However, if you only wish to use these two facilities during off-peak hours, you can register for the free membership!

Careers Service:

They can be found in the Sherfield Building (level 5). They have many career consultants who help Imperial students (and staff) explore their career path and opportunities. You can book consultations with them to discuss specific applications or even just your career aspirations in general. I find the JobsLive website very useful – there are lots of talks from companies across many industries, job opportunities, workshops and also services for checking your CV, interview practice, etc.

Central library:

The Central Library (opposite Queen’s Tower) has 5 floors of books and study space. The ground floor has computer rooms as well as a breakout space for group work. There are floors for silent study, while the quiet zones still allow some talking. Each floor has study rooms and/or meeting rooms that can be booked. This library is usually quite full. Other campuses also have their own libraries, so if you do not want to ‘fight’ for a seat, you can go to a campus library nearer to your accommodation.

Food and drinks:

There are around 29 outlets around campus that provide drinks, snacks and hot food. Most buildings will have their own café, making it very convenient to grab a bite to eat between lectures (when we had in-person lectures!). The prices are very reasonable and student budget-friendly, so they are good options. If you want to bring your own food, there are microwaves available on campus to reheat your food. The ones I know of are in the Sir Alexander Fleming building and the Sir Ernst Chain Building, though I’m sure most buildings will have their own.

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