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!