Work Institution: St George's University London, England
Research Interest: Preeclampsia, early pregnancy
Favourite Movie: About Time
The UK has been the third country I moved to within 2018.
Although I grew up in Vienna I have never really lived in the same place for more than 2 years since I was 15.
After spending a few months in Boston after medical school, I moved to Vienna to start my residency there. But after a few months of working, and to my own surprise, I got an offer for my current PhD position in London.
Although I really enjoyed my previous job, working with a lovely team and spending some time in the city I grew up in, I didn’t need to think about it twice: I accepted the offer, quit my job and moved to the UK for this once in a lifetime opportunity!
Living in London has always been my dream since I went to a boarding school in the UK and occasionally went to London for a day on the weekends. I just always loved the international atmosphere and the endless opportunities the city has to offer!
I was in the really lucky situation that my sister and my boyfriend already lived there when I arrived, so I didn’t need to go through the hassle of finding a room or an apartment there. This can definitely be challenging and often kills the initial excitement of people who have recently moved there.
Anytime, anywhere you move, there will always be an adjustment period, an undetermined amount of time where you, among other things, acclimate to your new home and learn your way around the new environment.
A lot of factors come into play that will determine how long this adjustment period lasts. Experience helps and, (un)fortunately, I gathered a lot of this experience in the previous years! The more you move, the more you place yourself in an initially uncomfortable setting, the more conditioned you’ll get. It’s a bit like running – it never gets easy (or super fun – let’s be honest…), but it does get a little less hard, and once you have settled in/finished a long run, you feel kind of proud of yourself and more confident about new challenges. I was really excited to finally move to a place where I am actually going to stay for the next 3 years of my life and to quit moving every few months/years for school or jobs!
I have always enjoyed visiting London to see friends and family but I never thought I would enjoy living here even more! I feel like despite the fact that it is a big city it really seems more like hundreds of smaller towns right next to each other (as long as you avoid the super busy touristy areas…). Travelling longer distances to go to work or to see friends was definitely something I needed to get used to (my commute in Vienna was 20 minutes walking distance…), but once you begin to know your way around “your” area, it is really easy to feel at home here!
One thing I particularly enjoy about London are all the greens areas! It is really such a green city! There are so many public parks and private gardens, and if you feel like escaping the city on the weekend, you can just hop on a train and you will find yourself right on the British countryside (or you just go to Richmond Park ;-) ), which is always lovely no matter the season! Another huge plus, and something we lack in Austria: the closest beach is only about two hours away from London, so during the summer you can even do a day trip to the beach!
Maybe you are wondering now: but isn’t the weather always bad?! The short answer is no.
You might not get your 8 hours of sunshine every day, but you also will very likely not get 8 hours of pouring rain – so…
If you don’t feel like you are up for putting on your rubber boots and exploring the trails of Kent in November, or swimming in 15 degree “warm” water in mid-July, there are obviously always tons of things happening in London all the time!!!
Just a little executive summary of the world-famous artists that played (music-wise! Don’t even get me started on Wimbledon…) in London over the last two weekends:
I think you start to get my point by now. But despite everything that is happening here all the time, I have to admit that I, as a proud self-proclaimed awkward introvert, have been FOMO-free “missing out” on most of the happenings here so far. I just truly enjoy BEING here every day and I didn’t feel the need to make more out of it than it already is. Overall, living in London for a while is an amazing experience and I can also finally tick the “live in a big city” box off my to-do list. 😉
Dr Colin Murdoch, University of Dundee, iPLACENTA project coordinator