I am writing this amidst planning trips for the last few weekends of my internship. It’s been a month now at Loughborough, and I am still trying to get accustomed to the English weather which the Englishmen themselves describe as ‘rubbish’. It’s hard to digest the fact that the sunrise is at 4:30 am and the sunset is at around 10 pm. Rainbows are quotidian here. The campus is quite beautiful and diverse with people from all around the world studying and pursuing research studies at Loughborough.
Loughborough university comes around early February with projects covering roughly all the departments in IITB. This year there were 7 JAFs or projects that were opened for 2nd/3rd year students. We were expected to write a short SOP and were shortlisted based on that and our resume. The interview process depends on the professor. In my case, the professor had emailed the shortlisted students a research paper related to the project topic. He expected us to go through the paper and wanted us to discuss the results during the interview.
I got the internship in mid-March and the visa procedure was completed just after the end sem. UK visa takes around 10-15 working days to arrive provided you have submitted all the required documents.
Loughborough is around 100 miles north of London. So, after a hectic flight to Heathrow, we had to travel 4 hrs by bus to reach there. But the journey was quite fun because of the beautiful scenery and clear skies (except when it’s not raining, obviously) here.
Our accommodation is arranged in the campus itself, 5 min away from my department. There is both veg and non-veg food available in the mess. But I would advise bringing a lot of dry snacks or maggi from India.
The university left no stone-unturned to give us a warm welcome. We had a short get-together of all the professors and students with the Vice-Chancellor, people from the Research office and Doctoral College. We had a chance to interact with the professors and got to know about what other students are working on. We are a group of 12 students out of which 7 were from IITB, 3 from IITD, one from IITR and one from IISC Bangalore.
To give an overview of what my project is, it is based on testing and calculating the permeability of Droplet-Interface-Bilayer Systems abbreviated as DIBs. The phenomenon is based on diffusion caused due to the difference in concentration of resorufin dye in the two droplets. Initially, the droplets are submerged in oil and are allowed to stabilize for the lipid monolayer formation. Then, they are joined and hence, a bilayer is formed. My job is to come up with a mathematical model to describe the diffusion profile in the DIBs and also explain the phenomenon happening close to the bilayer.
Loughborough university ranks first in the world for sports. The campus has a wide range of infrastructure for different sports. So far, I have seen 2 cricket grounds where the England men and women cricket team is usually seen training. There are numerous open spaces where people play baseball, quidditch, frisbee etc. The campus has 3 rugby fields, 3 football fields, a futsal court, a tennis court, a swimming pool and much more. Many of the Olympic medallists for England study here and can be seen jogging on the streets. There are indoor courts as well, where one can issue stuff and can play anything.
Loughborough Student Union (equivalent to SAC at IITB) has various events throughout the week. They organize DJ nights in a bar on Wednesday and Friday which go on till 4 a.m. Mind you, the bar is inside the campus.
The people here are very humble. You just need to ask for help and they will help you in every way possible. While interacting with my colleagues here, I came across a word which can be used in place of Thank You, Sorry, Welcome and No Problem. Englishmen often use the word ‘ Cheers mate ‘ which actually can be used in place of those 4 words. Wow.
Me : ‘Can you show me how to use the optical microscope?’
‘ Ya Sure, meet me in the afternoon’
Me: ‘ Thank You’
‘I forgot my ID card. Can you please let me use the printer ?’
Me : ‘ Ya Sure ’
Me : ‘ I want to slap you ’
‘ Cheers ’
Me : ‘ Just kidding’ .
Me: ‘ Why are mutual funds subject to market risks?’
As I stated earlier, ‘English weather is rubbish’. On an average day, you can have temperatures as low as 10℃ and as high as 25℃. It can rain any time of the day no matter how bright the sun is. Rainbows are quite common. The climate is quite windy. So, you can never predict how the weather will pan out in the next hour or so. The sunrise happens at 4:30 am so most of the places like malls, stores open at 6 am in the morning. That’s good but the caveat is they shut at 5 pm. But, thankfully, the LSU has a shop where you can get anything like stationery and food.
At Trent Bridge Cricket Stadium
Touring around the UK has been the fun part of this internship. The classic English culture and architecture is quite evident in cities like Oxford, Nottingham, Cambridge, Manchester, Liverpool, London etc. I, being a cricket and football fan, had a great time visiting famous stadiums across the UK like Trent Bridge Cricket Stadium, Lords, The Oval, Stamford Bridge, West Ham United football stadium, Wembley Stadium, Nottingham Forest football stadium, Old Trafford and Etihad Stadium. With the ICC Champions Trophy happening in England and Wales, it was a great experience to enjoy India’s warm up match at the Oval stadium.
To avoid getting bored touring the cities, UK also has many countryside places to visit. Beacon Hill, Matlock, Peak District, Hope Valley to name a few. To enjoy the scenic beauty and windy climate here, It’s better to visit this places when there is no rain predicted during the day.
There are many great places to visit in UK, but touring may prove to be a bit expensive. Buses are the cheapest way of travel but takes a lot of time. Trains are very expensive but it cuts down the travel time. Every place in UK has its own history associated with it and hence it provides a different experience altogether. The day being longer comes as an advantage as you can roam around till late in the evening.
Obviously, UK has been in the news in recent times. I would say we were lucky that we were away and safe when the incidents unfolded. We avoided visiting cities during that period and decided to stay in the campus or visit the countryside instead. But, as per my lab colleagues, UK is a safe place in the daytime and it’s advisable to stay indoors after the sunset and avoid crowded areas.
Overall, my stay at the Loughborough university has been a joyous one. If you have any questions about the university or the selection procedure in general or want to have a chat , do message me on Facebook or email me on email@example.com