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Univ Chalet trip report

Ferard and Leney Travel Report – Samvida Sudheesh Venkatesh (2019,  DPhil Genomic Medicine and Statistics)

I am extremely thankful to the Ferard and Leney Fund for reimbursing my visa costs to travel to the Chalet des Anglais in the French Alps this summer. I am an Indian citizen studying in the UK, and have never previously seen the Alps – partly because of the expense and difficulty in obtaining visas to travel outside the UK.

The walking trips enabled me to experience first-hand the geography, ecology, and climate of a part of the world I’d never visited before. Right at our doorstep, we had breath-taking views of the mountains surrounding Mont Blanc and the valleys of Saint Gervais les Bains, Chamonix, and Les Houches. It was also my first time hiking across mountainous terrain, including coniferous forests, alpine meadows, and the rocky gravel and glaciers at higher altitudes. While the walks were physically challenging, the stunning views throughout made the trip worthwhile.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the reading days, when we had quiet mornings for academic reading. It was blissful to be unplugged from the world, as the chalet had no electricity and limited 4G internet, and allowed a deeper form of concentration than I have had in Oxford. I was able to catch up on reading several academic papers in my broader field of human disease genetics, and I also enjoyed talking to fellow students about their readings – be they oceanography, climate science, engineering physics, or Latin. I will treasure for a long time the friendships I built with the other students, particularly the undergraduates who I rarely intersect with in college.

Thanks once again for giving me this wonderful opportunity.

Find out more about the range of travel grants and scholarships available to assist Univ students on our Travel Grants page or read further travel reports. Find out more about the Chalet des Anglais on our Chalet page.

Published: 22 July 2022

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