Paulina Kordyl is about to start her 2nd year in Genetics and Cell Biology
Attending the 2016 London International Youth Science Forum at Imperial College London has been a fantastic experience which has undoubtedly left a long-lasting impact on me. It’s been an absolute privilege attending specialist lectures from the world’s leading scientists, witnessing first hand as yet unpublished research and even meeting Nobel prize laureates. The theme of this year’s Forum was ‘Great Scientific Discoveries’ and upon reflection I feel that my time there achieved just that – it allowed me to discover great things which I could not have imagined before.
Possibly the most exciting part of the trip for me was the endless sightseeing opportunities presented to us. It was a dream come true getting to visit Stonehenge, the quaint medieval town of Salisbury and see Rebel Wilson in a high-end theatre production. The rest of my time between lectures and visits was spent rushing between museums and trying (and failing) to understand the fast-paced labyrinth that is the London Underground.
LIYSF has been a fantastic opportunity to network and make friends from different countries, different cultures and different ways of life. Never before did I imagine that I would end up on the news in Pakistan, or help my new Omani friends make a presentation video for their college. With over 500 delegates from countries all across the globe scattered around Imperial College London, making friends quickly became second nature to even the most introverted people, and after just a few days there were familiar faces to be seen everywhere. There was always someone new to talk to, new perspectives to discover. Although each culture was different to the others in some ways, it was really interesting to see the ways in which we were all the same (like the ubiquitous hatred for the soggy sandwiches in our packed lunches!)
Of course the most fascinating aspect of the Forum was the academic research that we had all come to see. It was an amazing privilege witnessing top-of-the-field research which had yet been unpublished and not released to the public explained to us by leading scientists worldwide. Many of the delegates were pre-college age and therefore the varied talks and demonstrations helped them to choose a university course. For me this only reinforced my view that I had chosen the right course, and seeing genetics laboratories and research facilities provided a much appreciated insight into the kind of working conditions I could expect in the future after graduation. These visits also made me aware of the different internship options that were available to apply for in the summers.
Each day was action-packed and full of adventure. Between the excitement of exploring London’s Chinatown after a trip to the Tower of London with my new multicultural friend group; peering into a microscope in a world-acclaimed research lab to see cardiac tissue beating steadily; and rushing between lectures, social events and activities organised by LIYSF, I can honestly say there was never a dull moment during my visit to the London International Youth Science Forum.