Review, Sightseeing, Travel

First-timers' guide to attending the Olympics

I can’t believe it’s already been 4 years since the London Olympics! It was really fortuitous that my PhD plans coincided with London hosting the Olympics in 2012, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to experience the Olympics in person. Funny enough, I recently found an essay I wrote almost 20 years ago about what I want to accomplish in 20 years, and I wrote that I hoped to attend the Olympics on day!

Since the 2016 Olympics are starting this Friday in Rio, I thought it would be fun to provide some tips for those looking to attend their first Olympics – and maybe see an event for free!

London Covent Garden Olympics Signs
Colorful Olympic banners in Covent Garden

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Getting a PhD, PhD Milestones, Study Abroad, Travel

Differences between US and UK graduation ceremonies, and highlights of Canterbury

Hi everyone! I apologize for the lack of posts recently, but last week I was in the UK to officially graduate and get my PhD degree! After going through two ceremonies in the US for my Bachelors and Masters degrees, I found it so interesting to participate in a UK ceremony. If you’re studying abroad in the UK or just fascinated by all things British (I’m guilty of both!), here are some observations I made throughout the day of my graduation.

England London Union Jack Flags
Not Canterbury! This is London, where my family & I were staying. We took the bus to Canterbury in the morning and returned in the evening.

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Transportation, Travel

Traveling ON your birthday

Many of us travel to celebrate special occasions, especially birthdays, but what if you had to travel ON your birthday? As in, spend most of the day on a bus, train, and plane? Sometimes the need to save money and book flights with optimal departure and arrival times results in spending a significant time traveling on one’s birthday. This is exactly what I had to recently consider when I was booking my trip back to the US from the UK. So what was it like spending my birthday basically alone, taking on various modes of transportation, and traveling over 3,000 miles? Join me as I relive this not-so-bad day!

Heathrow London to Boston Map
Just over 3,000 miles to get home! (image source: Google Maps)

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Review, Transportation, Travel

Pros and Cons of a last minute, overnight bus trip from London to Paris

Thinking of traveling from London to Paris on a budget? Definitely consider taking an overnight bus. While some may be hesitant to travel this way, there are some Pros and Cons to consider.

Paris Eiffel Tower in spring with flowers

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Review, Sightseeing, Travel

Is Stonehenge worth visiting when you're in the UK?

One of the wonders of the world and a World Heritage Site, Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in Wiltshire, England, which is two hours from London.

People might know Stonehenge as a mysterious formation of rocks, but if that’s all there is to see, is it really worth your time when you’re visiting the UK?

Stonehenge England UK
The mysterious Stonehenge

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Getting a PhD, Moving to Another Country, Study Abroad

Top 5 reasons to get a PhD in the UK instead of the US

I previously discussed the many hassles of studying abroad. So, why did I decide to get a PhD in the UK rather than the US? Here are my top 5 reasons.

University of Cambridge UK
Idyllic UK campus

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Travel

American vs. British English

Even through English is the main language in both the US and the UK, it still took some time for me to adjust to their different words and spellings. I was really surprised by the old-timey spellings of words like tire and fair, in which the “i” is replaced by a “y”.  I have to admit, I found this very charming and quaint! Something I found not so charming? Adding another syllable to words, like changing aluminum to aluminium!

US vs UK example
Image courtesy of englandevents.co.uk

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Getting a PhD, Moving to Another Country, Study Abroad

What to expect when you apply for the Tier 4 General UK student visa

Let’s be honest, it’s probably a lot cheaper and a lot less of a hassle to find a PhD program in the country you live in. You potentially have to spend money visiting the school, and then there are also the flight, overweight baggage fees, and international student tuition costs to consider.  Even before all of that, there are essential forms you need to fill out to obtain your student visa.  But don’t despair!  It’s a daunting process, but it can be broken down into manageable steps.  This post will hopefully shed some light into this complicated process.

Tier 4 UK Student Visa
Image courtesy of warwick.ac.uk

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