Traveling in the UK

London Eye

There’s no doubt that coming to the UK for rotations is a unique experience, not only because of the well-known clinical learning opportunities of the UK teaching hospitals, but also because of the many great travel opportunities here as well. While my six weeks in the UK was shorter than how long most AUC students who come here stay, I managed to take advantage of both the learning and travel opportunities to the fullest extent, and looking back, the experience was truly enriching.

During my stay in the UK, I dedicated my weekdays to my psych rotation, clerking and writing up patients, doing practice questions, and studying the topics that my attending physician suggested that I study. As my rotations were my priority, I did not take any days off, and got all my studying done before the weekends arrived. Because 6 weeks is a short time and I did not know when the next time I’d return to the UK would be, I managed to dedicate every one of my six weekends in the UK towards exploring the country, exploring six different regions in the UK.

Benji’s 5 Tips on Traveling in the UK:

1. Get Familiar with National Rail! — The best way to get around the UK is by train and bus. Before traveling anywhere in the UK, the first place you must go is National Rail Enquiries. This site gives you all the train schedules in the UK, and tells you exactly which platform at what time you have to catch the train, as well as which stations you must transfer, if necessary. Before going on a trip, I usually take pictures of the train schedules that I may take to and from the destination. That way I have a better idea as to when I should plan to arrive or depart each location I am going to, as well as get a better estimate as to how long I should stay at each location.

2. Enjoy the Train Ride! — The train ride isn’t just a way to get to an attraction, the ride itself is already an attraction! Some of the most beautiful scenery you’ll see will be on trains, going through the pastoral British countryside. Likewise, enjoy any bus or plane trip you may take.

3. Stay at the Hostel! — As students, we’re always looking at ways to save money. While staying at a hostel might be everyone’s “thing,” hostels are definitely a great place to meet other like-minded travelers, and if you are traveling alone, this is especially great since you may meet a temporary travel buddy who you can go with together. A lot of the hostels in the UK are actually pretty nice, and you can save a lot of money by staying in them.

4. Buy round trip tickets! — A round trip ticket is will cost usually only a few pounds more than a one-way ticket, so always purchse a return ticket! Once you buy a ticket, you can take any of the scheduled trains that will reach your destination, so you don’t always have to plan beforehand when exactly you want to leave or come back. If you had originally planned to take a certain train back and decided you wanted to stay longer and explore a place more, you could always just catch the next train, using the same ticket! Also, if you wanted to make multiple stops along the way to your final destination, you can do that as well with your ticket.

5. Engage Your Senses! — Traveling is more than just going to a place and checking it off on your checklist. No, to travel is to engage your senses in a new place. You don’t really know how tall a mountain is until you climb it. You don’t really know what the people are like until you talk to them. And with food, try something new. You may discover something that you like or at least appreciate why others like it.

Videos From My Trip!

6 comments to Traveling in the UK

  • Izzyidl

    I was wondering if you can answer one question for me, is it true you have to set up your own clinical rotations?

    • Benji

      Hi Izzy,
      For the core rotations (psych, surgery, IM, Peds, OB/Gyn), the school sets it up for you. For electives, the school sets it up for you if you want to do electives at Nassau, Miami Beach, or Bronx-Lebanon. For electives at all other places, you schedule it yourself, but confirm it through the school.

  • E

    Hi Benji,
    I’m glad you are having a good time in the UK. My question is kind of off topic but I was wondering how much vacation time do we get after a semester. For example, I’m starting in September 2012 and the semester ends in December. Will we have enough time to get some vacation time? Also do we get spring break?

    • Benji

      Hi E, you get about 2-3 weeks of break in between each semester. I’d check the academic calendar on AUC’s website for the most updated schedule.

  • Jack Sanders

    Hello Benji,

    I have been following your med school adventure since you started. I am an older non traditional student from Texas and was planning on following in your footsteps to AUC. But recently with all the changes I have given serious thought to a change of plans. I am considering broadly applying to physician assistant schools instead. Things like pre-match being done away with and possible medicare funding slashing GME spots.I feel like the future of match spots available to everyone including US DO students isnt certain anymore. I think you will be safe but those starting school in 2013 or after might be out of luck? Anyway sorry to write an essay here. I just remember somewhere you said your wife went through PA school recently. My question is how did she like it? Do you or her feel it was a good career move? Was it easy to find employment as a new grad PA or is it pretty tough? Any thoughts from her or you on the profession or her schooling experience would be apreciated if able. You can email me if you like. If you dont have time or interest its understandable. Good luck with your future clinicals and I look forward to the day I read your match results!

  • Rachna

    Hi Benji,

    Amazing blogs! I had a chance to visit today and really enjoyed reading through your blogs because of your great writing style and photography skills.

    I work at an online travel company and maintain its travel blog, which is well known and has guest blogging as it main feature to make the blog site an interactive and informative resource for travel enthusiasts. It would be our pleasure to have you on as a guest blogger. Included in your guest blog would be link to your blog site so that the interested readers could read more blogs by you.

    If you’re interested in adding more visitors and increasing your online visibility while delivering fresh perspective to the readers of our travel blog, please send me email and I’ll provide you with more details.


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