Beginings

So I’ll be doing this Fulbright summer course this year and they suggested I keep a blog about it. Not one to pass off a chance at self publicity, voila!
The course is entitled Civic Activism which not only covers a lot but also represents a pretty major departure from my physics MSci at Imperial, of which I’ve just finished my third year. But there’s method to the madness as I’m not really cut out for the world of physics research and am hoping instead to go into a rather different field; international development. This basically involves fighting poverty, corruption and crime and generally being a superhero. Or so I wished. Instead, it seems quite a murky, messy world but I’m hoping that a bit of hardnosed scientific method should shed some light in the form of Randomised Controlled Trials which I’m really excited about but will leave for another (lengthier) blog post. 

With departure just over two weeks away now, we (there are 12 of us from the UK on 4 different courses)’ve done quite a lot to get here. Applications are essay based (name a challenge you’ve overcome in life, why do you want to do the course etc) and successful folk are then invited to interview. In Newcastle. Newcastle, if you haven’t heard, has the climate of a Siberian Autumn. And I’m sure Newcastle could be lovely, if it had the good manners to come a little further down south to chill with us lovely guys in London, Bristol and so on. Instead it stubbornly remains up ‘North’ which meant a gruelling 3 hours train journey with intermittent mobile signal and just fifteen minutes of free onboard wifi. You weren’t there man. YOU WEREN’T THERE.
And all this for a twenty minute interview, which went ok.
Visa interviews come next, a short dash across Hyde Park to the US Embassy in Mayfair. I counted fully four bars of phone signal during the entire walk. Joy. Since Fulbright is organised by the State Department there was no need for the common-person 4 hour queue, which was rather gangster, to which three slices of cheesecake only added. Yes, gangsters eat cheesecake. Meeting m’ colleagues was a pleasure, 11 of the finest people this country has to offer, all looking rather dashing in smart- casual attire.
There will be three of us from the UK taking Civic Activism, I think about twenty students in all from across Europe. We’ll be the guests of Drexel University, Philadelphia, for 5 weeks until mid August. From what I’m told, Philadelphia has a large Irish- American population, so I’m hoping to wrangle me a free drink or two with the accent. I’m also gearing up for the legendary Philly cheese steak which just sounds dangerous.
Hopefully I’ll be able to fill this blog in over the two weeks leading up to the US (the trials and tribulations of buying electric adaptors and more) and then when we’re actually in the place, where we’ll be given video cameras for even more professional updates.
Over and out.

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