Benedict - AIM Overseas Cambridge Sciences

Bachelor of Psychological Science (Hons)
July 2018

My experience

The reason I chose the Cambridge Summer Sciences Programme was not only the fact that is was run by Cambridge, but you get to choose a broad variety of topics, all taught by some of the leading researchers in their fields. The topics I chose were: Nanotechnology in Healthcare, Polar Adaptations, Autism, and Action Potentials, three of which were relevant to research in Psychology. The best part was that the programme is not open just to undergrads but also people who have already graduated, some of whom are experts in their own fields. Our nanotechnology class was fortunate enough to be graced by an immunologist, and added much insight into class discussions. The students were all also academically switched on, unlike at home where you also tend to get a lot of un-engaged people only looking to pass. This really created a stimulating environment, even when people were half distracted by World Cup results at times.

How has the experience changed you?

The two weeks I spent there not only has allowed me to meet new friends, but also to network with some of the leading researchers at Cambridge. The discussions I've had have led to some new research ideas I could pursue in future should I choose to go down that path.

Favourite memory

If I had to choose, it would be watching the World Cup with friends in a country that actually cares and a team that made it into the knockout stages. The Bletchley Park visit (Alan Turing), and having drinks with my Autism lecturer were very close seconds.

Top tips

Cost Saving and Getting There:
Apply early to get cheapest accommodation choice. If getting there by train, plan to arrive at least 2 hours before closing of registration that day. There can be severe delays at King's Cross and Liverpool Street Station especially during weekends. You'd rather have extra time to explore Cambridge. By your tickets online to get a bus pass for your trip to your college. Your student ID they provide will entitle you to £1 bus fares so you can use that for your trip back to Cambridge Station. If going by coach, book really early for the best prices. Otherwise it will be cheaper to go by train.

For Credit Essay:
Choose a week 2 topic so you can get the 1st week of semester to do it. That said, start it while you are there or you will regret it.

General:
You have two weeks before the programme starts and it is a long flight to Europe. Use it and make the most of your break. Use a big backpack rather than a suit case (or just a small one in addition). This will save you with the stairs at your college (and Paris if you go before hand). Talk to your lecturers; this is a rare opportunity to get to know them and you may be surprised to find unthought of relevancy with your field. You will have limited time to explore Cambridge due to the schedule, leave the places close to the lecture hall for after class and the ones further for the weekend (Pubs excluded due to later closing hours). You can store your luggage at your college during the last day after checkout too if you need extra time. Your college may also have their own boat you can rent for punting. Choose a morning time slot to avoid river traffic. You can also miss one plenary lecture each week so you can use that time to explore if the topic really disinterests you.

Funding

$1000 grant form UQ - almost a third of programme costs.