Tag Archives: UK

Life as an Overseas Student in Nottingham

Before I moved to Nottingham, my only knowledge of the city was its links to the legend of Robin Hood. Although I had visited Nottingham before, I did not have any particular feelings towards it; I only thought it was rather green and big in comparison to the place where I did my undergraduate degree, Leicester. It was soon made evident, however, that the two cities, although 30 minutes apart by train, were vastly different! Continue reading


London Tube Etiquette: My First Experience of the London Underground

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series A Semester Abroad in London

Participating in a study abroad program and living in London was the highlight of my Bachelor of Arts degree. This series is a record of my adventure to London and Europe with my young family and my sister as the nanny.

Travelling on the London Tube can be daunting for the uninitiated and involves knowledge and skill beyond just ‘how to top up your Oyster card’. It is a skill that includes certain knowledge of Tube etiquette: always stand to the right on the escalators, don’t make eye contact, Continue reading

Mr Thinktank

Chinese New Year in London

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series A Semester Abroad in London

Participating in a study abroad program and living in London was the highlight of my Bachelor of Arts degree. This series is a record of my adventure to London and Europe with my young family and my sister as the nanny.

London holds the biggest Chinese New Year festivities outside of Asia and last year saw the biggest yet, with extravagant floats transported from China. This is not something I read.  I got it from the horse’s mouth; an organiser of the event, no less… or that’s what he claimed Continue reading


Music at the Minack Theatre, Cornwall

Most people go on holiday to snorkel, ski, and catch some sun. This summer, we were not that family — ‘we’ being myself, my mum, and my dad. Oh no, we were the family who travelled all the way to Cornwall… to see a tribute act.

In our defense, and before you judge, it was a Fleetwood Mac tribute act, so I think we can be forgiven! The act in question, Fleetwood Bac (I wanted to make a joke about how witty this was, but I couldn’t bring myself to — they made enough of a joke picking that as a name anyway!) were performing at The Minack Theatre. Now that’s the main reason we were going — for the gorgeous, rocky, sea-salty theatre that is the dramatic heart of Cornwall. This may be turning slightly ‘Shakespeare’ in its romantic declarations, but it is a truly beautiful place.


The Minack Theatre embodies drama, not just in the shows it holds but in appearance too.(Photographer: Fimb; Flickr)

The epitome of a British Colosseum, if such a thing existed, it flows in great stone circles — stone, grass, stone, grass — until it reaches a sandstone stage surrounded by arches and clear blue water. When the sun goes down they light the arch, giving it an angelic look, like some sort of three-dimensional stained glass window: a doorway to heaven if you will.

Before that though, and as I’ve briefly mentioned already, there was daylight, in which the theatre was just as spectacular. Flowers and trees, exotic and exciting, were planted around the entrance, hiding the winding flagstone paths so it looked like something out of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden (if the book The Secret Garden was set on a tropical island somewhere far away from the real world). Continue reading

Mark Ingle

Brexit: The day Britain left Europe and we left Britain

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Three Months, Two Students, One Motorbike

Being a university student, and so tied to one place for most of the year, it’s easy to get itchy feet. After our last minute decision to ride our motorbike from Wales to Marrakech last summer, my girlfriend and I decided this year to be more prepared: more savings, more planning, and most importantly, more time. The question is, will three months really be enough?

A year of talking, months of planning, weeks of preparation, and we were still running late the morning we were supposed to be leaving. We woke to the news that Britain had voted to leave the EU, and were still wrapping our sleepy heads around the idea that our savings, the fruits of nine months’ labour, were worth ten percent less than when we fell asleep the night before. After all the build-up to our departure, it felt like our balloon had been burst; money aside, we felt foolish getting ready to embark on this great European adventure whilst the rest of Great Britain collectively raised two fingers to our continental cousins.


Remember when the pound fell after the referendum result came through? The financial consequences of this affected more people than many care to admit. (Photographer: TaxRebate.org.uk; Flickr)

Hours after we had planned, we were finally ready to leave. We clambered onto the bike, our luggage making us hop awkwardly to get into place. I gave all our bags one last shake  to make sure they wouldn’t move, and twisted my torso to see Charlotte behind me.

“Ready?” I shouted through my helmet, despite the fact her head was inches behind mine.

“Yalla!” She shouted back, with a thumbs up for emphasis.

This was an Arabic word we had picked up in Morocco and continued to use. It simply means ‘Go’, and is something the donkey drivers shout to their donkeys to encourage them to move. Given how loaded our bikes always seem to be, it seemed appropriate that we took it for ourselves.

I slipped the bike from neutral into first, released the clutch, and we began rolling away. Like opening a window in a stuffy room, I could feel the cool breeze on my face blowing all the morning’s worries away. Nothing behind us mattered now;  we were away!  Continue reading