Balancing learning and leisure as an international MSc student

by Vedashree Chandewar, MSc Environmental Engineering 2022-2023

As an international student pursuing a Master’s at Imperial College London, you have the exciting opportunity to study in one of the most vibrant and culturally diverse cities in the world. But let’s face it, you’ve got only one year to soak it all in, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed about how to balance studying and exploring the country while adjusting to a new environment. In this blog, I will be sharing tips on how to make the most of your time at Imperial, so you can excel in your studies and still have time for fun.

One helpful strategy is to break down your year into manageable chunks. You can set short-term goals by dividing your year into termly and monthly fragments. For instance, the goal for your first term could be adapting to the new environment and culture. In this term, you could spend your first month settling into your accommodation, attending freshers’ events, making new friends, and exploring the city’s landmarks. During the second term, you could focus on strengthening your academic foundation and advancing your professional skills as you start applying for jobs or a PhD. The third and final term is the research project, and you would be expected to dedicate your complete time for your thesis.

The curriculum at Imperial is structured such that it offers breathing room in the first few weeks of each term, allowing you to visit London’s famous historical monuments, markets, gardens, clubs, stadia, musicals, theatre, etc. The International Student Support team at Imperial hosts a wide variety of tours every month for most attractions with extremely affordable tickets. Do not miss out on them as they can be excellent networking opportunities!

Imperial College has the advantage of having a campus in South Kensington which is home to the  Victoria and Albert Museum, Science Museum, and Natural History Museum. These museums have free entry and can be explored during long breaks in between classes. Another way to take full advantage of London life is to get involved in extracurricular activities. Imperial has more than 300* clubs and societies catering to the interests of people from around the world.

Finally, don’t forget to optimise your limited time in the UK by travelling to other parts of the country or to  Europe. Plan your trips in advance, but also be flexible enough to take advantage of last-minute deals and student discounts.

Having said that, it is important to manage your time and energy as you please. Although it is tempting to explore all the tourist spots and attend all the events, it is important to prioritise your studies and mental health. Remember, it is okay to take a break and do some self-care.


*Correct at the time of publish

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