A bit more to be grateful for the opportunity to be a grad student in both Paris and London, in a spirit of Thanksgivingn here are a few thins that I am grateful about the London side of the grad student experience —
- The academic culture in London is robust and demanding – the quality of academics is often impressive. You always feel enriched with every contact with fellow grad students and faculty.
- The widespread embrace of eccentricity – I love that being eccentric, and unhealthily immersed in one’s studies is implicitly supported by the surrounding culture.
- Public Lectures – there is a strong culture of academic engagement with the public and a wide variety of famous academics speaking and presenting lectures very frequently. This adds to an already stimulating academic context.
- Pubs and sociability – pub culture make it a much easier place to make and maintain friendships. Only here have I been out with professors and seen some of them sloshed. This has only served to increase respect and trust in colleagues and faculty..
- Political vibrancy: London is dynamic as a political space. There are opportunities everywhere to observe protest and politics unfold, this makes it unlike many European cities
- International character – London’s colourful and open, much more cosmopolitan than most!
- Starbucks and ‘Costa’ as Study spaces– One should not be seen entering into Starbucks in Paris, it borders on sacrilege. In London, however, Starbucks and the Costa chain of coffee shops are inviting and appropriate place to benefit from free wifi and drink from gigantic cups of coffee while working through pages of PhD work. They make great places to ‘live’…
- The British Library, and its archival material,is professionally managed by knowledgeable staff. It makes for a rewarding place in which to study and dig into several aspects of British history and life.
- The LSE library – open to the public, it is a host to a rich array of resources and an innovative space. It is a far cry from the old model of library. The ergonomics of it all is stimulating.
- The diversity of London neighbourhoods make it an interesting city to engage with and learn from – it’s a rich and interesting city to live in and to study.
Counting the many reasons to be grateful for the grad student experience offered by Paris and London during 2013, these ten things about London bring the list of things to be thankful for to 275 reasons out of 365.