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Soon-to-graduate Canadian seeking advice... Research, housing, culture, randomness. watch

    • Thread Starter

    (Didn't realize how long this was... please read through though)
    I'm a Canadian poli sci student at the University of Toronto finishing the last year of my undergrad, and am looking to move to a university town (or a town with a university in it, for that matter) in the UK for a year to hopefully volunteer/work as a research assistant part time, and get outside North America for the first time in my life.

    Unfortunately, I've little knowledge of the UK and as a consequence, don't really know how to go about finding a place that I'll enjoy. Hence why I am here, and would like to ask your advice:

    First, academically my interests are political/social science, with a focus on information, rational decision theory, environmental policy, and privacy policy. I've qualitative and quantitative experience from classes and work, so hopefully getting a foot in the door won't be too hard, but yeah. Not entirely sure which universities might focus on that. So far I've been looking at Bath, Sheffield, Bristol, etc., but the research work being done doesn't appeal that much.

    Second, I'm looking to live with students and frankly have a good time. I lived in a student co-op house last year and it was fairly intense: fun, drink, the occasional bonfire, and chances to meet some interesting people. Not really into the club scene at all, though pubs sound okay (right now I'm so epically poor for saving to go abroad, I can only afford the cheapest of places). To be honest, I'm not sure which I'm more interested in: just having a good time and enjoying myself before I dive into graduate school, or focusing on the academics... Either way, living with some fellow students and/or in student ghetto area is high on my list of desires, as is a time filled with random nights (does pool hopping happen much out there?), good local shows, and hopefully an enduring affection for British alcohol. (This said, I'm not the type to drink a huge amount and go to work hungover/drunk... Work is taken seriously, but yeah. I hope you folks know what I mean)

    Third, I'm hoping to go over in the summer, and was whether a lot of students stay in the university towns during the summer, or whether it would be more worthwhile to go to one of the more major cities? Again, I'm kinda hoping the summer will be spent drinking, socializing, and hopefully just having a good time in between the research.

    As for myself personally... I dunno. Just graduating university, primary hobbies are music and my studies. I'm one of those awkward, skinny jean wearing, obscure band listening, "why does he have his hair over his eyes? Doesn't that obscure his vision?" nerds, but I don't think I'm particularly pretentious about it, nor as bad a hipster as some. At least I've a few redeeming qualities. Like, I can play piano? I enjoy jogging... I have a cat named Midi, maybe? Actually, maybe the cat named Midi might be a point against me... Either way, I just don't like calling myself an "indie/alt/hipster kid" so I felt the need to go on for a paragraph.

    Anyway, my crowd here tends towards the art school student type, but again, my goal here is to meet new people and hopefully just have a good, life changing experience. When you're stuck in one city for five years of undergrad, your world view can be phenomenally narrow, even with as diverse a city as Toronto.

    Soooooooooooooooooooooo, yes. Any advice with my above listed criteria would be appreciated. Interpret them as you will, including "Wow, you sound like a douche" or whatnot (I know it sounds like I just want to go to the UK and get hammered, but it's more an issue of "Yarg, where did my youth go? Oh right, essays." ), but whatever the advice, it will be read, considered, and appreciated greatly!

    (Also, sorry if this is maybe the wrong place. Not a big forum user, but it's gotten to the point where I want to actually ask for advice directly instead of just surfing information sites...)
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