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Neurons and Neighborhoods: My Transformative Journey at UCL

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  5. Neurons and Neighborhoods: My Transformative Journey at UCL

Studying abroad at University College London (UCL) as a Molecular Biosciences student was an adventure of a lifetime. It was not just an academic journey but a dive into a cultural melting pot, rich in history and diversity. London, a city that never sleeps, became not just a place I studied in but a home that held a special place in my heart.

The first thing that struck me about UCL was its impressive campus, nestled in the heart of London. It’s a place where tradition meets modernity. As a Molecular Biosciences student, I had access to some of the best facilities and minds in the field. A Neurobiology course I took was a personal highlight. It was fascinating to delve deep into the workings of the human brain, understanding its complexities and how it can malfunction in disease. The course was challenging yet rewarding, filled with cutting-edge research and novel concepts that were both enlightening and insightful.

However, the teaching and learning style at UCL in London was more independent, focusing on self-study and research. Initially, this was a challenge. I was used to a more structured learning environment and found the transition challenging. But, as time passed, I learned to adapt. I developed stronger research skills, became more self-reliant, and learned to think critically. This shift in learning style was a significant growth point for me, teaching me not just academic skills but life skills that I will continue to apply beyond my time at UCL.

Outside the classroom, London was an endless adventure. My favorite part of the city was the area around Embankment and Leicester Square. Walking around these places was like flipping through the pages of a vibrant history book. The
Embankment, with its stunning views of the River Thames and the London Eye, was a place of tranquility amidst the city’s hustle and bustle. Leicester Square, on the other hand, was always buzzing with energy—a perfect spot to catch a
West End show or enjoy a vegan meal at one of the many restaurants.

Being in London also meant I was at the crossroads of the UK. Thanks to IFSA, I had the opportunity to travel to Cardiff in Wales, as well as Edinburgh in Scotland. Traveling and experiencing the different cultures of the UK was another highlight of my study abroad experience.

Reflecting on my time at UCL, I realize how much I have grown. The challenges I faced, both academically and personally, have shaped me into a more confident and independent individual. The diversity of the student community at UCL opened my eyes to different perspectives, enriching my understanding of the world.

In conclusion, studying abroad at UCL was more than just an academic endeavor; it was a life-changing experience. The knowledge I gained, the friendships I made, and the memories of walking through the vibrant streets of London are treasures I will always hold close to my heart. UCL not only educated me in Molecular Biosciences but also prepared me for life in a globalized world.

Although going abroad challenged me academically and personally, it was an endlessly rewarding experience that
I wholeheartedly recommend it to every student. In that spirit, I end with a quote I saw outside one of the lab classrooms at UCL.

Ginger Watzinger (Trinity College) attended the University College, London in the Fall of 2023 through IFSA’s partnership London, England study abroad program.