Eleven great views from my room in the UK

Let’s go back for a moment to July 2019… you had recently found out your Chevening Scholarship application had been successful and you might have even received your Final Award Letter. You were probably thinking, now what?

Well, next you will have needed to make all of the necessary preparations to move to the UK including securing accommodation for the year. Several options will have presented themselves at this point; student accommodation through your university, private student dorm rooms, shared accommodation with other students, shared accommodation with non-students, or perhaps even your own private flat (although let’s be honest, this is probably rare). Whichever option you chose, we’ll bet you didn’t plan to have to spend quite so much time there.

So, imagine having made your selection and upon arrival, discovering it has a really great view – winner! Below, we look at 11 current scholars who have had, really great views.

1. THE VIEW FROM FLOOR 11

Deema AlWeshahi, Jordan

‘This is my room view from the 11th floor in East London.

The photo shows part of the Olympic Pool and the ArcelorMittal Orbit Slide at Queen Elizabeth Park. The Slide is an artwork by the two leading architects Carsten Holler and Sir Anish Kapoor.

I encouraged myself recently to try the slide, which is the UK’s tallest sculpture, the world’s tallest and, at 1,78m, the world’s longest tunnel slide. The slide lasted 40 seconds and speeds can reach up to 15 miles per hour!

As well as the adventure that awaits, the slide also provides a great view over London. It’s one thing I’d encourage other scholars to try too.’


2. AFTER TOURISTS LEAVE AND BEFORE THEY RETURN

Wei Jiang, China

‘These are some of the many photos I have taken of the British Museum. The student accommodation where I live is located just opposite the main entrance to the museum, which has given me a unique chance to see the museum from my room, especially those moments after tourists leave or before they come in the morning. There was a time when I spent the whole day in front of my desk, trying to write an essay, but ended up taking photos of the museum from dawn to dusk instead.

The British Museum celebrated its 261st anniversary in January. Its appearance hasn’t changed much, with 43 Greek columns in the forecourt, a pediment representing the progress of civilisation with the union flag above. I guess it will remain the same for many years to come. The fact that I spent a year as a neighbour of the British Museum is definitely going to be a highlight when I look back on my days in London.’


3. VIEWING THE SKY

Dito Adisuryo, Indonesia

‘These are enclosed photos of the views from my bedroom in a newly-renovated student dormitory located in the heart of Edinburgh. My room is on the back side of the dorm, which is such a blessing in disguise! I have a window which faces the sky, which on sunny days, shows the clear blue sky but also often other types of weather (it is British weather after all).

Gazing at the sky is a simple thing and a good source of inspiration, energy, and peace. It reminds us that however difficult a situation and however harsh a storm, they will pass.

My dormitory features a colossal kitchen with a large sunroof. Sometimes if you have no ideas, just simply look at the sky there and the ideas will flow! The huge kitchen consists of several dining areas and five big master-chef-styled kitchen spaces. In this area, not only could I use it to cook, have meals and drinks, but I could also host other Cheveners and mingle with mates from multinational origins, and speak a few foreign languages besides my mother tongue and English, as I love to learn these multicultural things

This is, indeed, a home away from home.’


4. AN 08:44 VIEW

Lanvell Blake, Jamaica

‘It’s 08:44, Saturday, 18 January. The sun is up and out. That’s a rare occurrence here in Swansea. When I pull back my window curtain and crack the window, I can see as far as the Swansea Bay. The tide was low that morning. A closer look and I could see the frame of bodies walking alongside the Bay.

“Must be nice,” I whispered to myself.

I appreciate mornings like these. With no classes to attend, you can just sit and stare. You get to appreciate nature and the scenery in your own backyard more. Swansea has been famously dubbed “an ugly, lovely town” by Dylan Thomas, but I can’t help but see the beauty in all its parts.

If I had a telescope, I could see the picturesque village that is Mumbles (the gateway to the Gower Peninsula). Mumbles (Mwmbwls in Welsh) is a fishing village situated at the western end of Swansea Bay. I once ran a half-marathon from Swansea to Mumbles and back. There is so much to see and do here.

There are other days though when my view from Tŷ Beck is dark skies and heavy clouds, or raindrops on my window pane. Actually, that is a more popular scene than sunny days in Swansea.’


5. CHILDHOOD STORIES

Alejandro Aguilar Cayetano, Mexico

‘Since my childhood, the stories of castles, dragons, knights, and maidens filled childhood with emotion. A wonderful world full of dangers, adventures, and suspense.

Today my room, my home, my temple, my castle is exactly in the centre of Cardiff – the capital of Wales, on the main street and exactly in front of Cardiff Castle.

I have one of the best locations in the city. Lying on my bed, through the window, I can see the first rays of light at dawn, the seagulls with their pirouettes in the afternoon, and in the dark of the night, I can see when the stars wake up, and how the moon dances when playing hide and seek behind the clouds.

From my other window, I can see the majestic Cardiff Castle. I can see the famous red dragon furrow the skies on the flag that is at the top of the main tower of the castle and in the afternoons, with an English-style tea, I enjoy the sunset each day. On sunny days, I can see the children play in the castle gardens while their parents drink tea, and literally, the castle is like my garden, because I have unlimited and free access just for living in front of it.

Without a doubt, Chevening has given me one of the best life experiences, and I have undoubtedly chosen the best place to live.’


6. ORBITAL

Swe Mar Hlaing, Burma

‘As a Chevening Scholar, finding a good place to live in London for one year is a kind-of blessing which I am lucky enough to have. I stay at Unite Student Building on the in Stratford, east London.

Though the rent is a bit expensive, its strategic location is worth the cost. It is only a fifteen minute walk from my university, ten minutes’ from the bus stop and stations, and is standing side by side with Westfield Shopping Centre.

The best charm I like about my room is my window view from the seventh floor. It is perfect enough to have a bird eyes-view of the bustling Westfield Ave and the West Ham Stadium; the former Olympic Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park which is one of the London’s landmarks.

The Stadium stands as an amazing picture both at sunrise and sunset, as well as in the sunshine and in the rain. As a “homebody girl”, I love watching Westfield Ave and the Stadium at my leisure, especially on sunny days. It is always exciting to see some routes blocked and congested with football fans on Westfield Ave as well as a helicopter flying in the sky whenever there is a Premier League football match. I am sure I will never get bored and fed up with this view.’


7. VIEWS OVER THE MARINA

Priscilla Adjei-Mensah, Ghana

‘It’s easy to take some things for granted when you have it in abundance. That was my relationship with the sun until I moved to the UK.

With very little sun here, I’ve quickly learned to appreciate something I once used to complain about and it’s fascinating how my day gets better as soon as the sun comes out!

The best view from my bedroom will definitely be watching the sun set over the marina and these photos remind me to cherish what I have been blessed with.’


8. PUDDLES

Brenda Vázquez Uribe, Mexico

‘To be honest, the view from my room is not impressive at all and my flat is not particularly modern either.

Don’t get me wrong, when I got to campus I fell in love with the contemporary architecture and the natural entourage of the University of Warwick, but for me going back to the dormitories’ life after years of living in my own apartment was kind of a challenge. I had to decorate my room buying things in Tesco, Wilko, and Ikea because when I got to the flat the lack of furniture was depressing.

Nevertheless, recently, something happened that changed the way I see life in student residences. I was studying at my desk—as we all Cheveners do on a Sunday afternoon, of course—when I heard some people laughing outside, which seemed odd to me as it was raining cats and dogs. I got to the window and saw that some of my flatmates were jumping from one puddle to another. They were having a blast trying to get to the garbage bin, so I stayed there watching. At some point, they realised I was staring—how rude of me—and waved back. It was a movie-like moment, like the ones that reveal important information to characters. I realised then that that’s what student life is all about; connecting to the incredible people around you. It’s not about material things or living in the nicest flat, it’s about enjoying the view and the company, even when it rains.’


9. RINGING BELL TOWER

Cheung Ying Tsang, Hong Kong

‘After a day at university and on my way back home, I sometimes hear the ringing of the bell tower next to my accommodation. Stunning sunset views just behind the tower remind me that it’s time to refresh my mind.

Sunset and the bell tower – what do they mean?

For me, it’s about time and memories that I will never be able to recapture. About being thankful and treasuring what I have in my life – the exciting yet nervous time preparing for the Chevening Scholarship application, the interview, and finally, all the procedures before I could travel to the UK for my dream.

Sunset shined upon the bell tower, forming a silhouette. The exact time wasn’t shown clearly, but we all know that time waits for no one.’


10. MEMORABLE SUNSETS

Larisa Carpina, Philippines

‘Sunsets remind me of my mother.

However they appear on the horizon – a ball of fire slowly descending from the sky or golden streaks that set the sky ablaze, it fills me with comfort.

I arrived in the UK during autumn. My homesickness almost dulled my senses to the breathtaking colours around me. The cold weather and the rainy days dampened my spirit. I yearned for the sun; the bright and warm days that wrapped me in summer’s embrace before I came here. It was a struggle that I had to overcome, reminding myself of what I went through to be here.

On days that I’m in my room, I would look out of my window. Catching the sunset makes me excited. The view from my window may not be as breathtaking as the famed sunsets of Manila Bay, or even the jaw-dropping sights I’ve seen while at sea in Tawi-Tawi, but it calms my heart knowing that I’m not alone.

I would just stand by my window watching the explosion of bright colours in the sky until they fade away. Over a year ago, I was among the thousands around the globe eagerly waiting for news from Chevening. Now I’m here in the UK, living my dream of studying overseas as a Chevening Scholar.

Watching sunsets is the most beautiful memory I have of my mother. And everytime I do, I also tell myself that a new day brings me closer to my dreams, just like now.’


11. THE RIGHT ELEVATION

Thokozani Kachingwe, Malawi

‘Among the reasons for picking Brighthelm as my new home during my one year at the University of Sussex, having the kind of view which my room provides and I enjoy every day was not one of them.

The day I moved into my flat, I was shocked with the many steps I had to take just to get there. The alternative stepless path felt like going uphill. My room, being on the second floor of my flat, made dragging my luggage up the 100+ steps and the stairs of the flat itself no light task. But the pleasant part was that my flat being situated uphill and my room being on the second floor gave me just the needed elevation to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the lovely green fields that stretch beyond Park Village and Northfield—including some of the university’s other on-campus accommodation.

From the window of my room, I have seen the sometimes-rare sight of the sun and the countless moments of rainfall. I have also seen the attempts of snow and I have watched the dancing of trees to the blowing winds, at times as heavy as Storm Ciara. I have also seen beautiful sunrises and sunsets, and I have watched the night skies, sometimes catching a glimpse of the moon and the stars. There have been days when I have caught a colony of seagulls fly past my window into the blue skies.

I would never have guessed that my room window would provide such beautiful moments.’


Thank you to all of our scholars who submitted pictures and stories to this theme. Entries were submitted in early March before the UK went into lockdown.

To submit your own pictures and stories to the latest themes, please check your most recent Scholargram for submission details.

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