Bath, the British and Buses!

PhD student Tanakorn Chantasuban talks about his experience as an international student studying at Bath University.

I came to study in the Chemical Engineering Department at Bath University in October 2012.  I have to say, coming from a tropical country like Thailand to live in the UK for the first time means that it’s been an interesting year for me.

Bath abbey in winterStarting something new is never easy. Starting a new life on a different continent is certainly not easy. I remember the first time I came to the UK.  There were so many things different from Thailand. The buses looked different, the restaurants looked different (actually, the concept of Thai restaurants are a bit more like a pub here in the UK). My first impression with British people (or more accurately, British bus drivers) was not very nice. The first bus driver from Heathrow Airport refused to lift my luggage for me. And the second bus driver in Bath shouted at me on the very first day I went to the university. Well, it did not look like a good start to me. But it did get better!

overlooking bath in summerI spent the first three months on the English pre-sessional language course. The English program at Bath University is really helpful for international students and it’s not only about learning English. For international students, it is easy to feel lonely, like we are the only one in the country with no friends or relatives to rely on, and struggling to have a life in the UK. Thanks to the university’s English program, I received a warm welcome from the English and social staff, many of whom I still have as friends; especially Tim, Jonathan, and Dawn who now, by chance, has become my landlady. I must admit that the staff from the university helped to change my views of British people vastly. And most of all, I met other international students who felt the same way. I have got a great bunch of friends from the program and I would really recommend it for those who have never lived abroad.

I started my Ph.D. working under Chris Chuck in January 2013. Since then it’s all been about research and working in the lab. There are no classes except seminars and selective PG (postgraduate) skill courses. These have been helpful for my research as I have improved my database searching and use of specialist software such as Endnote and ChemBioDraw. I consider myself lucky to study under Chris who is very supportive in every way and is available for a discussion almost all of the time. The facilities and staff with in the department are also sufficiently supplied for research.

Atumnal colours on the River AvonOutside of university life, Bath is a small city compared to its sister, Bristol. But nonetheless it is undeniably one of the most charming cities in Britain. Its beauty shines in every season throughout the year. Over the past year, I’ve experienced the cold breeze and golden leaves in autumn, walking home at 5 pm on a miserable already-dark cold winters evening, the beautiful snow-covered city of Bath and the warm scent of flowers blossom in spring. In retrospect, it seems that so many things happen in a year!

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