I was very excited to begin my internship at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), Southampton, UK which is regarded as one of the principal centres of oceanographic research in Europe. Southampton is an important port city, located on England’s southern coast and among other things is famous as the departure point for the ill-fated Titanic’s first and final voyage.
My third semester of master program “Marine Geosciences” is dedicated to geoscientific project. It is set up to widen our knowledge in applied spheres, to have a useful experience in possible cooperation with companies, institutions, scientific centers. Realizing an internship in the UK is slightly more complicated than other countries currently within the EU as it is not part of Schengen and therefore a separate visa is required if you like me are not a European citizen. There was also an interview process for the position to ensure that I had the required background and enthusiasm for the post. And after all the necessary documents, interviews I got an answer about having an opportunity to organize my internship there! And I was ready for all the possible difficulties at the beginning of my way, because I was pretty sure – it would meet with my expectations and Erasmus would definitely help me to realize my aims.
Impressions of NOC and Southampton
From the moment, I walked through the entrance of the NOC building I was in awe at the size and scale of the research that was being carried out here. Attached to the NOC is also a cutting edge marine robotics centre, responsible for developing the latest methods of data acquisition from autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVS). Passing by corridors you could stuck there forever looking through posters, reading and realizing how many interesting projects are being organized here.
Even eating your lunch in the NOC canteen is stimulating as it offers a great view of the NOC dock where research vessels such as the RV James Clark Ross can often be observed whilst being prepared for the next cruise. My responsibilities were clearly explained and well-organized, so I did not face to any difficulties during my stay. Weekly I had a meeting with my supervisor and colleagues to discuss my results.
I would say Southampton itself is quite an industrial city, being a principal port and therefore maybe not the most picturesque place. However, it has some nice parks and developments such as the more recently constructed Ocean Village where you can sip on a cocktail whilst listening to jazz and looking out on Southampton harbour, it is also a busy student town with two universities so there is rarely a dull moment.
By far the best thing about Southampton is its location, it is close to the historic cities of Portsmouth and Winchester as well as the New Forest a stunning area of natural beauty. Portsmouth played an important role in the UK’s naval and military history, with the HMS Victory which Admiral Nelson commanded at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805 being located there. Winchester has a beautiful cathedral and was once even the capital of England. I was also impressed visiting such well-known cities as Oxford, Bath, Bristol.. However, my highlight in terms of sightseeing would have to be a weekend trip to London which is under 2 hours away from Southampton by train. All its magnificence and the atmosphere of the city made me feel special. Ever since I studied English at school in St. Petersburg I have dreamed about visiting this city and the ERASMUS program finally gave me this wonderful opportunity.