First, I want to say, Irene found out that she passed her Physician Assistant National Certification Exam!!! Now after years of hard work, she is now a certified PA!

Now that we both know that she has passed,  and we both are finally here together in Romford, we can now take a deep breath and spend our time in the UK relieved. I think it’s now a good time to share with you all our new home for the next 2.5 months!

Romford is located in the northeastern part of London. Historically, it was well-known as a market city, with its historic Romford Market. Today, the market continues to flourish and along with shopping centers, department stores, and pedestrian shopping streets, Romford is a shopper’s Eden.

As for Irene and I,  we are living in Swan Housing where most AUC students stay during our rotations at Queen’s Hospital. It’s a fairly new complex, built in 2009, and within 10 minute walking distance from both the hospital and the shopping areas, making it a very comfortable and convenient place to live. They rent out suites of 4, studios, 1-bedroom apartments, and 2-bedroom apartments. Because Irene was going to be joining me in living in Romford throughout most of my rotation, I decided to book for a 1-bedroom apartment, completely furnished and stocked, and I’m really happy about that.

I go into the hospital on most days at around 9am, and come home around 5pm or so, depending on the day. If it’s a busy day in the OR or on the ward (like whenever my team is on call), then sometimes I may stay at the hospital until 8pm. On other days when things may be going slow, I may come home earlier to study. While I’m at the hospital, Irene has been busy with quite a lot of tasks. First, she has been getting groceries and cooking. As we live close to the hospital, I often walk home for lunch, and it’s nice to be able to come back to tasty, home-cooked meals, and not to mention, much more affordable than what I could get at the hospital cafeteria, even with the student/staff discount. As London is a great jumping point to other parts of England and Europe, Irene also has been researching and organizing trips that we would like to take during my weekends off from the hospital. Thus far, we have Paris and Brussels on the bucket list, as well as some other places in the UK like Oxford and Cambridge (yes, I’m in love with academia). Irene has also been preparing clinical cases so that she can act as a standardized patient for me to practice on. Everyday, we’ve been doing 2 cases  from First Aid Step 2 cs book, and it is really good practice. It reminds me of playing make-believe doctor and patient as kids and it’s educational for both of us.

I’m really happy that Irene is finally here with me in Romford. Living here has been a lot easier with her around. I look forward to the rest of our stay together here in Romford, as we build memories together during this unique part of our lives.

4 comments to Romford

  • jessica

    Hi benji!! can u please send me the information on swan housing, i’m looking to start surgery in april which brings me to my first question, will they rent an apartment for 12 weeks? My husband and i also have a kitty, are they pet friendly? Most importantly how much is the rent? Thank you

    • Benji

      Hi Jessica,
      Sue, the AUC coordinator at Queen’s Hospital should be sending you information before you arrive, but just in case she doesn’t/didn’t, I just sent you the info I had received from her. Swan housing do rent apartments for 12 weeks. However, they only allow you to reserve a room 17 days before you arrive. I’m not sure if they are pet friendly, as I didn’t bring a pet. Rent is around 850 pounds per month for a 1-bedroom apartment, which would be more suitable for you and your husband. Swan Housing is a decent place to live and it’s really close to the hospital. Most of us students who are at Queen’s Hospital stay here. However, some people may be spending more time at King George’s Hospital, about a 20-minute bus ride away, and they have housing there too. You should be getting more information from Sue. However, you could also contact Helen or your clinical coordinator to make sure you are on the email list.
      Best of luck!

  • Jenna

    Hi Benji,

    I will be doing rotations at Queen’s in September. Do you know if they will allow me to rent a studio apartment for me and my fiancé? He won’t be there the entire time, so I don’t think I need the full one-bedroom. If so, do you know how much a studio is per month when it’s furnished? Do the studios also have washers?



    • Benji

      Hi Jenna, they should allow you to rent a studio apartment for you and your significant other, as I’ve heard of some other students who have done the same. I would contact them for pricing, as they keep changing. I’m not sure if there are washers in the studios, as I never lived in one, but if there are none, there are laundry rooms in each building. Swan Housing has limited studios and they run out fast, so I’d inquire early.

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