All good things come to an end

Time goes by very quickly, especially when you are busy.

As summer is slowly fading away, I realised that it was due for me to tell you about the LUIP closing ceremony.

As you all know, since October last year, I have been an International Student Ambassador for the London Universities International Partnership and I have achieved so many things through this programme!

I have met wonderful people, gained insight into London’s cultural and historical life – better than most people – and, to be honest, it has been the best experience since I have been in London.  But you know what they say, all good things come to an end.

This partnership has taught me so many things:

That friendships are born from the most insignificant things and that being from a different country it only shows how special people are. And because we are so special, we work our way around the world in different ways.

My fellow ambassadors were students from all around the world studying from English Literature, Nutrition, Veterinary Medicine to Business and Marketing and because of that, we grew together as a whole.

After experiencing London from a different perspective and understanding everything it has to offer, it was time to say goodbye and start our own individual paths, taking with us everything we’ve learnt.

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Fellow ambassadors with their diplomas and prizes!

Fellow ambassadors with their diplomas and prizes!

The closing ceremony was held at the Swan Bar, at the Globe Theatre, where we were delighted with cherry tarts, apple pie, lemon drizzle, and of course, prizes!

One of the other things that I’d like to share is the fact that I was awarded the ‘Most Committed Blogger’ Award and I couldn’t be more than thankful for it!

This wouldn’t have been possible without all your support, follows and comments, and of course, without Kim Duller’s ( our awesome programme leader!!) encouragement and good advices.

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I’d like to also say ‘Thank you!’ to all my fellow ambassadors for sharing their experiences and memories with me, for being such good people and for giving the world the best they have!

I hope the future brings you all the best things.

Love,

Csilla x

Why study in London?

Originally posted on LinkedIn

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Following a degree in London has always been my dream.

Even from highschool, I was fascinated by the high-quality education that has been praised over the years, and eventually, I decided to pursue my dream. Being the cultural capital of the Globe, London is a metropolis that offers more than it meets the eye, and once you’ve submerged in the beautiful London world, there is no easy escape.

Coming from a country that is still in development and a small town, I realised that being a London student offers so many free things to experience and so many people to meet.

Although many people argue whether London is the most expensive city to live in or not, I tend to disagree.

The capital is a city that has higher prices than other cities, is true, but as an international student, you can still manage and have fun!  Budgeting and understanding the prices that grocery brands offer is the first thing to do. For example, as a self-supporting student, once I’ve gotten a job, I managed to keep my weekly groceries at  £15 per week.

It’s not an easy task, but once you know where to shop and that street markets offer you great deals, you’re ready to go!

I understood how important it was to come and study here from the moment I stepped inside Middlesex University.

I studied Creative Writing and Journalism, and because the world is changing at the blink of a second, I knew London is the place to be. The accessibility of information, technology and place is absolutely amazing and is only in London where you can develop a sense of responsibility and attachment.

Having peers from all around the world in my class, I have met many international students that have given me another perspective over the world,and over the boundaries that sometimes are pointless.

One of the greatest things about studying in London, as a Creative Writing student, was the fact that inspiration can be found anywhere.

Regardless if you’re enjoying the sun in the park, the view from Richmond Park, sipping your tea in St Paul’s, there is no better place to evolve professionally than London.

Universities offer a great range of activities that students can get involved, and more importantly, they offer cross-platforms for students from all the United Kingdom to know each other.

For example, I have been lucky enough to be selected as a Student Blogger last year for the Southbank Centre during the Women of the World Festival. Secondly, because, along with my friends, we’ve set up the FutureRising society at university, I have also become a FutureRising contributor. FutureRising is a creative online website that allows people from the creative industries to connect.

Overall, I believe that London has to be experienced in order to be understood. Students coming here will see that although hard-word is necessary to succeed, with the cultural immensity that London offers, things will be easier and more entertaining!

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My Thames Waltz – A River Cruise of Cultural Discovery

Imagine a river cruise on the waterways of London, gliding through picturesque landscapes dotted with skyscrapers and old buildings: an escape where the destination will be as pleasant as the journey.

On the 28th of March I had the chance to join the world of river cruising on the Thames, alongside my fellow ambassadors and, let me tell you this, it was breathtaking.

Will you join me on a trip through memories?

via ASALONDON

                                                                  via ASALONDON

Our day started of with a short, but colourful, visit at the National Portrait Gallery, in Trafalgar Square, where history meets with contemporaneity and talent is boasting everywhere. At first, finding the Gallery seemed a little complicated but after about 50 stairs and a short walk, we managed to get to our desired place.

Trafalgar Square view from The National Gallery  entrance

Trafalgar Square view from The National Gallery entrance

As you enter the National Portrait Gallery, your visual perspective is being flooded with portraits of all sorts, old, new, colourful, black & white and your breath is just simply taken away by their beauty. I am a much more simpler person, and I have to be honest, my understanding of art is not that wide. However, one thing’s drawn me in for sure: The Tudors Gallery

Words cannot even measure the satisfaction I had while being in the room with the portraits of all the Tudors, and I’ll let the pictures speak for me:

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Mary Queen of Scots

             Mary Queen of Scots

 

The Tudors

                     The Tudors

After strolling in the National Portrait Gallery, it was time for us to take off and do some City River Cruising.

Just so you know, City Cruises offers a spectacular trip on the Thames, and it’s only £9.10 for a student and your cultural experience will not only be enriched by the views but will take your breath away!

For those of you that don’t know, City Cruises:

Is a company that operates scheduled public sightseeing cruises on the River Thames in London, serving Westminster, London Eye, Tower and Greenwich piers every day (except 25 December) throughout the year. It operates the services mainly using purpose-built wheelchair-accessible ‘RiverLiner’ vessels, which have a large open top deck and enclosed lower saloon with panoramic windows and bars, backed up by some ex-Paris single-deck conservatory-style sightseeing boats.

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If you are a Harry Potter fan, with City Cruises you can actually see the school where Daniel Radcliffe ( City of London School)went, and, also enjoy an abundance of historical facts without getting bored.

Take my word for this, you’ll feel like the cruise is taking you back to time and you’ll enjoy every moment of it!

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                                        The Old City of London School. River View via Panoramio

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Our lovely Ambassador Leader, Kim Duller

Our lovely Ambassador Leader, Kim Duller

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London Eye, under heavy clouds of rain

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Enjoying the view with my friend and guest, Rita

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What would be the City Cruise without this famous view?

Just to finish off my tale about the City Cruises, I’ll let you enjoy a video that our friend, Divi Malshe (http://whatiluvv.blogspot.co.uk), created to enchant your views:

If you are interested in finding out more about the exciting things that City Cruises are offering, make sure you check their website and buy yourself a ticket!

Until next time my darlings,

Csilla xx

10 things I’ve learnt from being an international student in London

As it has been a few years since I moved to London, I have realised that being here has had a greater impact on me that I first expected.

The cultural diversity and social divergence in London is greater than I’ve ever experienced and understanding the different layers on which society works has been a metamorphic process in which I have rediscovered myself and learnt that challenges can become rewards.

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Moving out from my parents’ house has been indeed a cathartic way to discover more about my skills and accomplishments and  how to become an adult.

Is there a precise way of learning how to be an adult? No, there isn’t. But let me tell you this: You build your own strategies and tactics in life.

1.Be aware of your and other people’s needs. 

Being nice and polite is a must, but knowing when to say ‘no’ to things is vital. Understanding that everybody comes from a different cultural and social background is essential to buildings up new relationships.

2. Meals shouldn’t be just chips and take-outs.

Learning how to cook simple meals is indispensable. Your health for the following years will rely on this and there are endless, on-budget options.

3. Think outside the box, or even better, remove the box.

Don’t get follow stereotypes. People  come from very different social backgrounds and they might have other views that yours. Carefully choose your words or you might offend/ get offended by awkward situations if you don’t act with care.

Be considerate to others.

4. Create a budget but don’t forget to have fun.

As a new person to the hustle and bustle of  London, spending money on things you don’t really need may be very easy. Keep in mind what is your monthly expenditure and try not to go overboard when shopping. You might realise you’re penniless a week after your pay-check.

5. Find a part-time job.

It can be in an office, a cafe, a restaurant, walking dogs or baby-sitting. As long as it does not interfere with your studies, go for it.

If you are lucky enough, you can get a job in your desired field and as Confucius said: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

6. Find time for your inner peace.

Being a student and having a part-time job can be quite stressful and joggling between work and studies can bring you to the edge sometimes.

Find the time to relax and enjoy the day. Go on a 10 minutes walk just to relax, read a book, listen to your favourite band, Skype with a friend. You’d be surprised to see how much this can help.

7. Don’t forget about your roots.

Living in London can be quite transforming.

It is very easy to get lost in the abundance of new things or habits coming from other people and it is natural to want to experiment.

But, bear in mind everything you’ve learned from your parents and make sure you leave a print on the world.

8. Stay connected with what’s happening at home.

Although exploring London can be fun and filled with new experiences, you can lose track of what’s happening at home quite easily.

Being caught in the routine of studying and working you’ll realise you haven’t checked the local news from your country or you have even forgotten about the new elections coming up.

It’s vital to remain on track with information from home or else, when you go back, you’ll find yourself confused by the amount of things you missed out on.

9. Move on with your life and build new relationships

I understand how important are for you the relationships you have with your friends from home.

But as soon you leave, they move on with their lives – they still care about you – but they keep the party going.

And you should do the same.

Another thing, “it does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live” ( Albus Dumbledore), because you’ll end up being sad and lonely.

Get out there, meet new people and have fun!

10. Be yourself!

No matter what you do, you don’t have to live your life to please anyone.

Your decisions are yours and yours only.

No one can tell you what do and you shouldn’t be bothered by that.

It is true, you can be advised about doing certain things, but, never, ever let yourself driven by someone else’s passions.

Stay positive and learn to love yourself and people will start loving you.

Love,

Csilla

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Chinese New Year in London: 2015 – Year of the Sheep

London is a place where multicultural diversity is something you will find at almost every corner and , of course, the Chinese community plays a big part in this.  Because of that, the metropolis celebrates every year the Chinese New Year, as a sign of gratitude towards cultural integration.

Policemen opening the parade, making sure everything is secure.

                                  Policemen opening the parade, making sure everything is secure.

Having spent a couple of years already in London, I have myself attended last year’s and this year’s parade that took place from Trafalgar Square towards Leicester Square and my eyes were delighted by the magnitude of commitment and seriousness towards this events.

Every measures have been taken to ensure that the parade will run smoothly and that the celebrations will take place in an environment where everybody enjoys themselves.

For those who are not very familiar with this parade, I invite you to check out my last year’s post here where I have explained more about it.

Although the warmth of the weather was not very generous, I have enjoyed my time in Leicester Square and managed to talk to a few people as well about their perspective on the celebration. Many have welcomed it with pleasure and others have attended it for the first time!

People from different cultural backgrounds, waiting for the parade to start.

                     People from different cultural backgrounds, waiting for the parade to start.

Marie, from Germany, currently studying said:

It was an unique experience! Life is London is very different and I love how welcoming everybody is towards the expression of different cultures.

On the other hand, Vlad, engineer from Bulgaria, added:

 It is very important for people to understand that Europe and Asia can come together in this kind of projects in order to support togetherness. For many years now, Leicester Square has become the home for China Town in London and everybody just loves it!

And because the celebration couldn’t be complete without some natives talking about their experience, I managed to have a chat with two lovely girls, both of them studying and working in London, that have come a long way from home.

Chyou is 25 years old and she is from Shanghai. She graduated as a Photographer in China and now she’s undertaking English classes in order to fit better in the London community.

The fact that there is a parade for the Chinese New Year in London means a lot for me. It brings me closer to home and it helps me feel just a little more close to my family. I am the only one from my family here, so, celebrating with Londoners becomes something very soothing.

The day I arrived in London for the first time was just one day away from the first parade I attended. It made me feel less homesick. It is indeed beautiful.

Jiao Lan is 19 years old and she’s a first year student in London. She has just recently moved here and her experience was more emotional.

At first, I didn’t want to go. Most of my Chinese friends live in the area, while I live in North London. I don’t live with a Chinese community, thing that makes me sometimes sad, so attending the parade would’ve made me just homesick. I have to confess, the fact that I actually let my friends to drag me here was a good idea. It not only made me feel more connected to people, but I felt like being at home. People were singing and dancing and enjoying every moment of it.

It was just another proof that London can make you feel at home at any time.

Indeed, for people from abroad, traditional experiences can make them feel more homesick, but it can also make them feel like they belong somewhere and are welcomed.

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As an international student myself, the parade was a moment for joy and enjoyment with my friends, another modality of understanding different cultures!

新年快樂!

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Chinese New Year is organised by London Chinatown Chinese Association and supported by the Mayor of London and Westminster City Council.

Visit to Google campus

In a world where technology is slowly taking control over values, ethics and morals, there is a sparkle of hope from a major corporation that intents to connect the entire planet and make internet available to everybody.

Google is known worldwide.

Even from its launch in 1996, it has reformed the meaning of online surfing and the power the Internet has so that it became the leading corporation in Internet-related services and products. Not only that, but Google offers products that are accessible for everyone, such as Gmail, Google Books ,YouTube, etc.

One of the most attractive products that leads the market is YouTube, the video-sharing website that managed to bring together music from every corner of the world.

Being an LUIP Ambassador is more than just representing Middlesex University at a national level, but also enjoy some of the  bonuses  that come along ( as many of you already know!) and this time, I visited the Google Campus o  and admired the beauty of the campus, met two brilliant vloggers, Sanne Vliegenthart and Helen Anderson, and of course, had a chance to catch up with all the fellow ambassadors and mentors.

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The View from Google Garden

After exploring the beauty of Google Campus, it was time for some more serious things and we were led into a room where we were welcomed with goodies from YouTube, snacks and drinks, and of course, a masterclass about being innovative and expanding our shareability.

YouTube goodies

                    YouTube goodies

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Our mission is to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

9 Notions for Innovation:

1 • Customer Need = Creative Inspiration
2 • Ideas come from everywhere
3 • Fail quickly and learn
4 • Allow ideas to morph
5 • Creativity loves constraint
6 • Share everything
7 • Data informs decision-making
8 • Users come first
9 • A license to pursue passions

Google’s intentions are all about connecting the people from every corner of the world and making the world a better place for everyone.

The greatness of their upcoming projects is so big, that even myself couldn’t believe some of the things that can be accomplished with enough money and power. However, in a world where competition is at stake, Google knows well its market and how to deliver the general public the required products.

 

On a different note, the discussion we had with our guest vloggers was more than inspiring. As a part-time blogger myself, I understand the necessity of filling the market in the required areas, but as they said, things can get easier if given enough time and energy.

If you are currently a blogger or you are thinking about becoming one, make sure you know your market, write with passion and just be brave enough to put yourself out there!

 

Love,

Csilla

 

LUIP Ambassadors and mentors, Google staff, Sanne Vliegenthart and Helen Anderson. Many thanks for Kim Duller for this awesome photo!

LUIP Ambassadors and mentors, Google staff, Sanne Vliegenthart and Helen Anderson.
Many thanks for Kim Duller for this awesome photo!

The magic behind the London Underground

Diving into history for a little bit, today is all about the London Underground: history, development, secret locations. As an Ambassador in London Universities International Partnership, I was given the brilliant opportunity to visit one of the closed – and secret to the public – tube stations, and, truth be told, the experience was breathtaking!

Going back at least a century and a half, the idea of creating underground transport in London was more than simply a dream, it was meant to tackle the problem of congestion in the main areas of the capital. Therefore, in the early 1830s a few plans of linking London to the railways came to life, but it was only in 1843 when the first underwater tunnel opened.  The first plans of creating bigger connections and better undeground transport took life in the early 1860s and towards the end of the 1800s, London’s facade was entirely revolutionised.

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1863: A contemporary lithograph of a steam locomotive on the Metropolitan line near Paddington StationPicture: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The desire for extension was bigger and bigger every year and London had become in the late 1800s a city that took proud in its transportation system, mainly because of the low fares and due to the speed to which citizens could commute. For example a journey on the City and South London Railway (now part of the Northern Line), from Stockwell to the City, took just 18 minutes.

Tube Firsts

  • The journey of the first Tube train took place on 9 January 1863.
  • The first Tube line was built and financed by a private company, the Metropolitan Railway.
  • The Tube’s first escalator was installed at Earl’s Court in 1911, featuring a diagonal finish to the stairway, meaning the right  foot reached the top moments before the left.
  • In 1907 a spiral escalator opened at Holloway Road.

( The Independent)

"Underground"-branded Tube map from 1908 showing the newly opened tube lines in central London

“Underground”-branded Tube map from 1908 showing the newly opened tube lines in central London

The way the underground system in London has developped is impressive and it is one of the most effective in the entire world. Here’s a documentary about the history of the Tube and how it has become the greatest tool of London:

Now, as a LUIP Ambassador, I have to say that I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to visit one of the secret, closed off stations and have a short sight into history. Our guide, David Leboff, Principal Sponsor-Line Extensions has given us a beautiful tour of both the TFL House and the closed station. There are many rumors and books written about it, but none of them actually understand how mysterious it actually is. Filled with evidences of history, traces of events and bits and pieces of action, the station resembles of an old house with removed furniture. As you are walking in the tunnels, you can see how much it was put to use, to both transport and other secret missions and why it is vital that the general public doesn’t have acces to it.

I’d like to carry on the discussion about the station, but if I would disclose more graphic and geographical details about the it  how secret would it be?

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LUIP Ambassadors and Mentors at 55 Broadway, enjoying the view and the weather.

However, here’s some pictures I took, as a small taste of our experience! 20150124_145940

Fellow Ambassadors as we were explained further details on the line expansions

Fellow Ambassadors as we were explained further details on the line expansions

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Train Intervals at the Tfl House, as they were in the 1980s, and David Leboff explaining the signifiance of the panel

A little sneak-peak from the secret location: To the Train

A little sneak-peak from the secret location: To the Train

And right before I finish and say goodbye, another one to cover your curiosity, a classical:

Classic: WAY OUT

Classic: WAY OUT

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Always follow your dreams.