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Amar Nath Wahi

(Electrical Engineering MSc, 1970)
remembers moving from India to study at Imperial

Listen to the interview here

Interviewer: What did you like best, when you were here?

London busAmarnath Wahi: Oh, lots of things, London. Well, it was a different way of education; it was totally different to what I had known in India. It was more open and it was more direct, there was a direct interaction with the professors and teachers and of course, it was a very small group post graduation, that was very important and of course, all your other friends and colleagues were here. They were very helpful and were not staying in the campus because it was very difficult to get accommodation on the campus so, living somewhere in London. Then of course the College, the classes were in two different places, it was in Mile End Road, I think it was Queen Mary, no, Kings College I think it was. So, once a week one had to travel right across London. Otherwise the education was very good, it was less of lectures, more of studying yourself and there two ways. There was this master's course, that was an examination plus a thesis and it was quite cramped, you didn't have time for other things. So, then of course, some friends used to live on the campus here and that was very good because often, you need a coffee somewhere and not in the canteen or something like that. So, for lunch we could go all go down there.

Interviewer: Did you do parties, in their houses?

AW Oh no, hardly any parties. Not in our group. I guess the undergraduates were more in for that. And you have to know, you have to be there for quite some time to have a base, you need a certain base for parties and friends. Most of them were married and settled, who came in for studies later, at least they had already worked, and they'd come back for post graduation. So, they were living around London, some place, so, after college they all went away and then there were just a few of us were, two or three of us who had no responsibilities as such, as far as a family was concerned. So, we met during college hours, and then everybody was busy and then in the evenings off and on, a beer or something like that, was rare. It was rare, this thing, because you have to have some people around.

Interviewer: What did you think of London or the people here, culturally?

AW It was interesting because it was, coming from India you feel very much at home and I'd lived in Germany before that, a year and a half, and we had some German students also and that was interesting. A lot of European students, a lot of students from India. In fact, in our class I think we were three from India and people from South Africa. It was very interesting because you just have so many friends you can discuss various cultures, without having a first hand knowledge basically and actually nothing like a television programme telling you what a country's like, because you have first hand knowledge of people who have lived there in those countries and it was very nice. Basically Indians know a lot about the UK anyway so, it's there, I mean, it was nothing very different. In fact, it was nice after nearly two years in Germany to be able to speak English to somebody because there you had to learn German and it was interesting.

London gardensLondon is a very big city and offers lots of things I think and most of the time when we had free time we used to go around seeing various gardens and the science museum just around the corner. Of course, then there are things like concerts and plays. The only thing is that as a student your budget is very small so, you really have to make the best out of it. You speak the language, you know the people and, as I said, there're lots of friends. They were very good and you don't, I didn't feel homesick as such, I mean, it was very nice.

Filming by Barbara Axt Portella.

  © 2007 Imperial College London

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