Entertainment Spots in London

If you think that university life mainly revolves around attending lectures, rushing to complete the next assignment and spending sleepless nights in the library, you’re… actually absolutely spot-on. But that doesn’t mean you can’t afford to have a little fun along the way, right? Right? (It’s honestly in these moments of self-deception that I indulge excessively and consequently subject myself to last-minute revision.)

Well, I think that’s enough information on my procrastination habits. So what exactly can you do in London to have fun? The answer to that question would obviously vary according to what your idea of “fun” is, but for this article I’ll assume that all of you enjoy the dorky forms of entertainment that I revel in, which is essentially anything to do with music.

Drama geeks would absolutely rejoice in the fact that the West End, which houses the majority of London’s theatres, is literally just minutes away from the Strand campus. I don’t mean to brag (yes, I totally do), but I’m guilty of having watched most of the current productions, and there was literally not a single one that disappointed me. From the spine-tingling murder mystery of The Mousetrap to the soaring vocals that define Wicked, every production is bound to keep you thoroughly entertained. Just between you and me: most musicals have day-seat policies, which essentially mean there’s a chance of you getting a heavily-discounted ticket if you queue up dead early at the box office.

I’ve been in orchestras all my life, so you could imagine my excitement upon finding out that I was staying mere minutes away from the Royal Festival Hall, which frequently showcases concerts by world-renowned orchestras, among other performances. A handy app called Student Pulse offers discounted tickets to students and is definitely worth having in your device. If classical music doesn’t sound appealing to you, fret not as London is virtually on every major musician’s tour stop due to its wide array of concert venues such as the O2. My inner fangirl was unleashed in all its glory when I attended a Shawn Mendes concert this year, which I shamelessly prioritised over my finals which were held the following week (sorry, mum). It’s worth looking out for music festivals as well if you’re not a die-hard fan of any particular artist.

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(British Museum)

When I first stepped into the heart of London, it struck me that I was literally surrounded by history. As you walk along any of the bustling streets in the city, it’s hard to not envision the many historical events that transpired on the same street that you’re walking on, besides the many undiscovered secrets that it still holds. Heck, part of the Strand campus is actually Somerset House’s east wing, and the Maughan Library was originally the national Public Records Office. If you’re a true history buff, head over to the British Museum and be prepared to spend an eternity wandering through the imposing sculptures of Ancient Egypt and the glistening treasures of Medieval Europe. Fans of Jurassic Park should definitely make a bee-line to the Natural History Museum as it has an extensive collection of imposing dinosaur relics.

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(Maughan library)

Something I’ve really enjoyed doing the past year was hanging out in the many parks that adorn the city. Amongst the towering skyscrapers and the throngs of pedestrians, lie expansive parks where you can take a break and gather your thoughts. Hyde Park and Regent’s Park are perhaps the most renowned ones in London, but there are plenty of other quaint parks that you’ll discover along the way. Other places of interest would be the art galleries here, and some of my cheekier friends take immense pleasure in captioning the unique – and sometimes undecipherable – artworks displayed at Tate Modern. To cap off a long day of adventuring, head over to the Sky Garden for a breathtaking bird’s-eye view of the city.

If anyone ever tells you that London gets boring quickly, they either have been imprisoned in an underground dungeon (that got dark very quickly) or more likely, they just haven’t read my awesome blog. Jokes aside, the possibilities are virtually endless in this vibrant city as long as you are eager to explore for them.

Quick Q&A with recent graduate – part 2

Author: Julie

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Applying to university

  1. What was the most difficult thing for you when you applied to university?

The personal statement was the most difficult thing for me because I only got one chance to impress 5 different admissions teams at 5 different universities. King’s has a pretty good video explaining how you could write a good statement here. In addition, UCAS guidance is interesting as well.

My tip for writing a personal statement is simple – draft it, write it, read it, and write it again. I must have drafted my statement multiple times before I was happy with it! As English is not my mother tongue, I also asked my teachers to proofread my essay and improve it based on their feedback.

Additionally, make sure you do not write more than allowed – UCAS would automatically cut your statement at 4,000 characters.

Also, it is worth start drafting the statement early, perhaps in the summer before your final year of school, so that you are not rushed during the year.

  • How did you go about choosing your 5 UCAS choices? 

The biggest factor for me was the academic programme and how flexible I could be with my career choice (see above). I also looked at university rankings.

The problem with university rankings is that they use different criteria, which makes massive different in rankings of different universities. My advice – no ranking is better than another. You should take them with a grain of salt. If you could visit the university, great! If you can’t, try to get in touch with the marketing team or an alumni and ask them for more information. King’s regularly visits different countries throughout the year as well.

Going to King’s College London

  1. What was your biggest challenge when you first joined King’s?

I was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to understand the English accent and people wouldn’t understand my confusing European / American / Vietnamese accent. Thankfully I was proven wrong.

One of the first things I realised was that there was a lot of independent study which was very different from how I used to study in high school. I only went to lectures* and tutorials** for about 12 hours a week in my first year (this got progressively larger as I moved forward in my degree however). The rest of the time was doing compulsory readings and preparing for tutorials. My lecturers and tutors had office hours where students could come in and ask questions.

lecturer

*Lectures – you sit together with every student in your course. I was overwhelmed in my first lecture because my cohort had over 200 students! Lectures are usually 2 hours with a break in between. The lecturers speak and you take notes.

**Tutorials – you are assigned into tutorials of 20-30 students. I was often given a reading or a worksheet to do. You are expected to participate in tutorials. I have realised that international students often do not speak much in tutorials. It could be a bit awkward and embarrassing initially, but it got much better. And it feels really good when the lecturer / tutor knows your name as well!

Quick Q&A with a recent graduate – part 1

Author: Julie

Hi there. Considering that you are reading this blog, I am going to go out on a limb and assume that you are considering applying to or joining King’s College London – good choice. As such, in this first blog post, I will attempt to answer some very popular questions that I have been asked as a King’s student. Happy reading!

About me

Who are you? My name is Thuy Duong Chu, but my friends all know me as Julie. I grew up in Hanoi, Vietnam; did my high school education in Berlin, Germany; and just graduated from King’s. I studied BSc (Hons) Business Management which is in the same department as BSc (Hons) Economics and Management, BSc (Hons) Economics, and BSc (Hons) International Management.

Why did you choose King’s?  The biggest reason is that I wanted as much flexibility in my career choice as possible. At 18 I knew I wanted to study a business-related subject – I just didn’t know which area of business I would fancy the most. In BSc (Hons) Business Management, I studied the basics of economics, marketing, HR, and finance and accounting in my first year and the first half of my second year. From the second year onwards, after having had more knowledge about different fields in business, I felt more comfortable picking my area of focus. Essentially, I wanted to make a more informed decision about my specialisation while keeping my options open.

As a business student, being in London is very important for me. A home of many international corporations, London offers many opportunities for career building and networking.

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  • What do you do outside of university?  

I was a member of the Vietnamese Society and KCLBC which was King’s Business Club. I founded a volunteering society that worked with local year 6 students to raise their awareness of local issues and improve their literary skills.

As a King’s student ambassador, I led Strand campus tours on a regular basis; attended higher education fair in London and the surrounding areas; and delivered talks about King’s and studying in London.

In my free time, I like to go to stationery shops because I love stationery! As you obviously could see, I like to write as well.

Bonus questions

Where is your favourite spot in London? I like to sit on the stairs in front of National Gallery on Trafalgar Square, although I don’t do it often enough because the area is always extremely busy.

Trafalgar Square - celum

Is London expensive like people say? Yes and no. Rent is more expensive, living cost is similar to other cities in the UK. If you are aware of your expenses and do not eat at a fancy restaurant every week, you are in good shape.