Blurred image of congregation of people is South Courtyard

Hi I’m [name], from [country] and studying [course]. Pleased to meet you!

Many of my conversations over this inaugural month have roughly followed this formula above. Even though my social muscles have had a workout with more than a hundred people I have spoken with – it has been worth it.

Yet the value of these interactions and others isn’t in the traditional way you’d expect.

  • Our adhoc study group in the library casually discusses the last lecture leading us to find an error in the lecture notes;
  • a chat with a fellow student while descending the stairs after a lecture makes me realise that I can apply abstract microeconomics to measure the cost effectiveness of future interventions;
  • during a free Monday evening lecture we hear from the pioneer of cheap generic ARVs in person, Dr Hamied;
  • a Moroccan restaurant night out with classmates and we couldn’t help ‘geeking out’ and discussing whether viruses could survive in water without a host!

I think these real-life interactions give a flavour of what Master’s studies are like: students are keen to debate and intellectualise, many come from diverse backgrounds so are experts in their own rights and finally learning doesn’t finish at the lecture or seminar end. All these encounters serve as learning opportunities in their own rights.

I sound like a brand advocate for LSHTM, which I’m not yet! But having been given this chance to reflect on my first month I’m happy I came. Intentionally or unintentionally by design, LSHTM has got a great learning environment and this adds unexpected value to the standard learning materials and inspiring staff you’d expect.

Blog soon,


MSc student in Control of Infectious Diseases (tweet me @timpollington)

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