I'm studying for a PhD at the HIT Lab AU which is part of the School of Computing & Information Systems. HIT stands for Human Interface Technology and the lab is one of three in the world. The other two are based in Christchurch, New Zealand and Washington, US.
Where are you from?
I'm from Loughborough, Leicesterhsire in England.
Why did you choose Launceston?
I started my PhD in Hobart (the capital city of Tasmania and a 2 1/2 drive south of Launceston) because my primary supervisor is based there, but after 3 months I was asked to move to Launceston to be closer to the people and the facilities at the HIT Lab.
Where do you live?
I live in private accommodation, I rent a flat. I decided before I arrived in Tasmania that I'd rent privately because I wanted to get into the mindset of an employee/professional rather than a students, and to treat my PhD as a job rather than a course.
Where do you hang out?
As far as bars go there is a good mix. I like the Sportsman's Hotel and the Royal Oak, they have a good atmosphere of being able to sit down and enjoy a drink and conversation, as well as entertainment. Irish Murphys, Lloyds, the Northern Club and the Star Bar are good for a bit later on. Most of these places have live music pretty regularly, which is good, and for a good combination of food/drink/atmosphere/live music, Fresh on Charles St is very good.
Where do you love to eat?
There are a lot of good places to eat in Launceston. Burger's Got Soul is amazing! I also like Cuccina Cafe. On campus we have Saltz, which does good and affordable meals whether you are living on or off campus. There are also a few really nice places to eat the Seaport and along the waterfront such as Hallams. There are quite a lot of restaurants and cafes in the city centre but I haven't had time to sample too many of them yet.
What do you like about Launceston?
One of the best things about Tasmania in general is the scenery, and Launceston has a few beauty spots of its own. The Gorge is really nice in the summer, and there is also the City Park (one of many nice little parks and squares to relax in and around). Being into sport, I like the fact that every few weeks you can see an AFL game at the Aurora Stadium (Australian Rules Football being a completely alien concept in the UK), and I also play soccer at the weekends with a local team here in Launceston. I find that the people in Tasmania are exceptionally friendly and very accommodating, and joining a team or club of some kind is a great way to get involved and meet new people.
What do you know now that you didn't know before you arrived?
I know that the Tasmanian winter is a harsh mistress and that contrary to popular belief, not every part of Australia is all about sun, sea and sand. I also know that I will never again take central heating for granted! I also know that there isn't much in the world that is more horrifying than a Huntsman spider, and that we're very lucky in other parts of the world not to have such monstrosities living alongside us.
Where is your future headed?
I'm looking to get an academic job when I complete my PhD but I have no idea where at the moment. I'm keeping my options open.