5 General Tips for International Students

If you’ve read my previous blog post, you would hopefully have become an absolute pro at socialising by now. In this article, I’ll divulge some general tips and life hacks that I’ve gathered at university so far, so read on if you’re curious to see what they are!

One of the first things that you should do after arriving is to set up a bank account if you don’t already have one. I would advise you to do this ASAP, as banks are typically very busy this time of the year and it might be trickier to get an early appointment. Furthermore, having your bank details at the ready is crucial when it comes to identity inspections, particularly for students pursuing healthcare courses who might need to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check later. It would be wise to consult with Student Services (formerly called ‘The Compass’) in the libraries prior to making a bank appointment, as they’ll be able print off any official documents required for this procedure.

Being such a huge and bustling city, London might seem slightly overwhelming to new inhabitants especially if you’re more accustomed to the tranquility of the countryside. Nevertheless, with the proliferation of smartphones in this age, one can navigate the city quite effortlessly with apps such as Google Maps and Citymapper. In fact, one of my favourite things about London is the ease at which you can roam the city, and with the assistance of such apps, literally nowhere is off bounds.

London also has one of the most well-connected and efficient public transport networks in the world, so whether you’re commuting from the city centre to the outskirts of London or just hopping between King’s campuses, travelling is an absolute breeze. I recommend linking your 18+ Student Oyster photocard to your 16-25 railcard if you have one, as that’ll give you a substantial discount during off-peak hours. If you travel frequently, you could set your card on auto-top which will then spare you the constant worry of your balance running out.

You’ll also be relieved to know that King’s has its own dedicated National Health Service (NHS) centre. In case you’re unsure of what the NHS is, it basically entitles you to free consultations with a registered GP and free primary care as well as emergency treatments. However, as there might be a short wait before an appointment can be made, it is advisable to visit one of the many pharmacies scattered around London for minor ailments such as cold and flu – as a Pharmacy student myself, I can attest to this! Having said that, you should definitely still make it your first priority to register with the NHS before it gets buried amongst your growing pile of chores later on.

Shopping on a budget can be rather tough, but with the help of your student ID and NUS card, everything will seem a lot more affordable! Eateries that currently offer such discounts include Leon, GBK, Itsu (after 3pm) and Pizza Express (on certain days), but just bear in mind that these are only accurate at the time of writing. If you happen to be at the Waterloo campus, I recommend trying out Lord Nelson (near Southwark station) which offers discounts for its award-winning burgers, as well as the Lower Marsh Market for a wide array of international street food. In terms of shopping, you can save some cash in the long run by opting for stores that reward you on your accumulated points such as Boots, Tesco and Sainsbury’s. Most of my shopping is done at Co-Op as my NUS card gives me a nifty discount every single time!

There will undoubtedly be many other life hacks that you’ll discover along the way as you navigate through life at King’s. My parting advice to you would be to just go with whatever life throws at you, be open about accepting new cultures and ways of life, and most importantly, appreciate every moment that you spend here. A few years might seem like a lifetime for now, but before you know it, you’ll be sitting contentedly amongst your best mates in the graduation ceremony, reflecting back on what must have been some of the best years of your life.

Musings of a Pharmacy Student

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Author: Yik Ming Boey

Often unfairly perceived by the general public as being mindless vending machines or more unflatteringly, “drug dealers”, pharmacists are in actuality an integral part of the healthcare system.

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Tips from a final year student: what I wish I’d known earlier

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Author: Anuthida

Two years ago I boarded my 13-hour flight from Singapore to London, pretty much clueless about what was in store for me at the other end of the world. The heady mix of moving to a different continent and making the leap to higher education was certainly daunting, but I eventually settled in well enough. As a seasoned pro (okay, that might be a gross exaggeration), here are some tips on navigating Uni life.

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A day as a King’s graduate student

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Author: Diana

Being a student is not as easy as it sounds. However, the truth is, that what matters the most, is the person you become after you finish your studies, not only academically, but as a whole. Having the opportunity to study in one of the best universities in the world and live in one of the most amazing cities, one can grow in so many ways.

I will narrate my day as a postgraduate student at King’s College London from the first morning coffee to bed time:

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Choosing King’s

Author: Maria

Since this is one of my first blog posts, I have decided to do one on why I chose to study at King’s. I feel like if I am introducing myself as a King’s student, I should do so alongside my first King’s experience. But before that, let me tell you one thing, this ‘story’ will start from the moment I went to my first lecture and then it will go back in time to the very moment I chose to apply to King’s. Yes, I do not follow the conventional methods of storytelling, so bear with me if you can please.

I was filled with joy, happiness and all those beautiful words the moment I was inside my first lecture. I had already registered at King’s, had gone through both the War Studies and waterloo-campusHistory induction day (FYI, I do War Studies and History…), but it wasn’t until I was actually sitting and listening to a proper lecturer talking about what I was actually going to study that it hit me: ‘I am studying at King’s. I am definitely here.’

But why was I so obsessed about King’s? You know that cliché people tell you that when applying to universities you should visit them, because you will feel which university is right when you walk in there? That was King’s for me. I felt those butterflies. It was the atmosphere, the people, the fact that it was liberal and artsy, multicultural and relaxed – It was not ‘cliquey’, there were groups of students from all over the world mingling with each other, it was international and I loved that since I had always been moving around. King’s in a nutshell is global. It was the very reason why I wanted to come to London in the first place. I knew the moment I had finished the Campus tour for prospective students that I had to be part of this.

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At first I thought I wanted to do History and Politics, so when I visited King’s I already knew they did not have this course, but I went either way since I knew their history department was very strong. But coming out from that tour made me want to reconsider what I wanted to study. I had heard of War Studies and History but did not know what War Studies was about. Researching the course online, and talking about it with some of my teachers I realized my personality was more suited for the War Studies program rather than Politics. I was into more multidisciplinary subjects – my interested varied between arts and philosophy; politics and sociology – and war studies is really about all of this, I could study it from different perspectives and angles and that was what I liked. Especially since as I said before, I do not really follow conventional methodologies.

As I walk into my third year,pic1 I sometimes still have to pinch myself to know I am actually studying here. So far King’s has met my expectations, and my course has become more than just a course, but a major part of who I am and what I am interested. My advice to you: if you don’t know what I’m talking about, feel it for yourself – I heard King’s offers campus tours throughout the year ;)

 

Free London: A student’s guide

Emma and Amber did their work experience at King’s and as young Londoners, they shared some valuable advice for future Londoners!

A student budget can make it difficult to experience all that London has to offer. To make sure that you’re not missing out, we’ve compiled a list of the greatest and quirkiest ways to enjoy the city this summer, all for free! Whether you’re walking, skating or cycling, there’s ways for everyone to create memorable experiences that you just can’t put a price on.

  1. Notting Hill Carnival http://thenottinghillcarnival.com/

With over 30 sound systems and 50,000 performers, this major event has been titled the second biggest street carnival in the world after the Rio carnival. In 2016, it commences on the 28th of August with the grand finale taking place on the following day. The carnival celebrates London’s multicultural diversity and promises to be the biggest party you’re likely to find in London this year!

  1. Gods Own Junkyard http://godsownjunkyard.co.uk/

Discover neon heaven in East London. Submerge yourself into the indie atmosphere whilst becoming a spectatGod's own junkyardor of the beautiful neon signs hanging overhead whilst you relax below. Chris Bracey, the artist behind the lights, spent 40 years of his life dedicated to the quirky and upcoming market of modern alternative art, of which the likes of Jamie Oliver and Johnny Depp have invested in.

 

  1. London Skate http://www.londonskate.com/essential-info/

Bring your skates and immerse yourself amongst fellow Londoners with a community skate throughout the city. View London on wheels, from a new perspective, as you speed past the iconic landmarks with the sun setting behind them. The 2 hour tour begins at the corner of Hyde Park and takes place every Wednesday night of the summer months, broaden your social horizons by making new friends along the way!

  1. Vauxhall one Summer Screen http://www.vauxhallone.co.uk/summerscreen

The recently discovered concept of an outdoor cinema has struck our nation, so where better to enjoy a film under the stars than in the world’s greatest city! Held on every Tuesday of July at Vauxhall’s pleasure Gardens, the free cinema promises to be a blast.

  1. Hyde Park

Covering a whopping 350 acres of land, this stunning scenery hosts for cyclists, walkers and rowers all year round. Go swimming in the serpentine or speak your mind at Speakers corner, the Royal Park has much more to offer than at first meets the eye.

  1. The festival of Love http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/festivals-series/festival-of-love

Based along the infamous River Thames, this yefestival of lovear the Southbank centre hosts a festival that encourages you to reach out to your friends, family and loved ones in what is set to be one of the most heart-warming events of the year. It opens with a party on the 9th of July and continues until the end of August. With a combination of arts, music and performance, there’s bound to be something for you to share with those around you.

  1. Top Secret Comedy Club http://www.thetopsecretcomedyclub.co.uk/free-comedy-club-in-london/

Share a chuckle with fellow comedy lovers at this top secret trendy club where the likes of Jack Whitehall and Seann Walsh have previously performed. Look to the website for the latest free gigs, we promise it’s bound to be a barrel of laughs!

  1. The Tate Modern http://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-moderntate

Explore Britain’s growing contemporary culture by viewing the modern arts it has to offer. With the newly opened building, there’s never been a better time to visit the Tate. Be inspired by the captivating artwork with a broad range of interpretations of what art is considered to be today.

Adapting to the British education system

Author: LeeAnn

Transitioning to a new school system is difficult, especially in a foreign country. Luckily, your tutors and induction program will give you all of the information you need about grading, assignments, exams, and anything else relevant to the education system here in England. Some of the major challenges I personally faced when I first arrived in the UK included: getting used to the different grading scale and the assignment timeline. While I’m able to understand my grades quite easily when I get back papers or exams now, I still need to check the actual grading scale sometimes since it’s so drastically different than what I’m used to from home. In many cases, an assignment may be returned to you with a grading scale on it that breaks down why you earned a certain score. This is extremely useful for understanding your score and for future improvements. Additionally, the way grading works here was foreign to me when I first arrived. Each assignment must be turned in at an academic centre and is then graded by multiple individuals who must agree on a mark. I find this system very fair, however it is quite slow and you must wait a few weeks before an assignment or exam is returned to you.

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Furthermore, it also took a bit of time to get used to the assignment timeline in the UK. Before arriving at KCL, I was used to having assignments for every class each week. However, in my experience in the UK, there are fewer assignments per class. This means a bit more self-motivation is necessary in order to get the most out of every course you take. This self-directed learning can be very rewarding because it allows you to explore the material interesting to you in the most depth, while still garnering an overview of the material. Some ways to motivate yourself include setting up meetings with your tutors to further discuss the material or forming study groups. I prefer study groups to revising alone anyway, because it promotes positive socialization and helps you to get a much more well-rounded view on the topic at hand. Sometimes the unique perspectives of your friends or peers can deepen your understanding of a course on an unexpected new level.

Overall, I haven’t found it to be too hard to acclimate to the British education system, it just took an open mind and little bit of adjustment! However, I come from an English-speaking country, which made it much easier for me to adapt. If you are coming from a country where the primary language is not English or you are finding it especially challenging to succeed in your modules due to the language, I would suggest finding a group of students who are in the same situation as you so that you can all support each other. Additionally, the more time you spend with students who natively speak English, the more you will improve. It also never hurts to ask your friends questions about the language or to help you review your work for spelling and grammar – most people won’t mind a bit. Finally, remember that London is a very diverse city and that everyone finds their place here!

#MedicLife

Author: Rachel

The intense lifestyle of doctors is not an unknown fact. The unsociable hours, the emotional drain, and the constant pressure of handling a human life, is not a hidden secret, but one that separates those that are in it for the wealth, and those that have passion driving them for the long haul.

Whenever referring to certain missed social or extracurricular events due to assignments or full teaching weeks, the hashtag #mediclife is often dropped into instagram or snapchat photos of late-night studying sessions.

For this week, I thought that it would be a good idea to give a brief overview of what life as a pre-clinical medical student is like at King’s, and what an average week would consist of.

We receive approximately 10 lecture-teachings a week, with 3 to 4 sessions of focused teaching that can be based in the dissection lab, the clinical skills centres, or just a classroom-based tutorial.

                                                             On any average day, lectures usually start at 9am, averaging 3-4 hours of lecture Exerciseteachings a day, with one tutorial or dissection lab to complete. I am usually home around 6-7pm after a few hours in the library, and I then go off for a quick jog or attend one of the fitness sessions offered by many of the societies, and end with a nice dinner.

With 35 societies alone dedicated to students with degrees related to the health profession, events will come up at least once a week. I am currently the Publicity and Campaigns Officer for the King’s College London Friends of MSF (Medecins Sans Frontieres – Doctors without Borders), meaning I would spent approximately 2-3 hours a week on average designing posters, creating Facebook events or updating social media accounts.

Certain weekends allow a day off to explore the city of London. Just this past Saturday, a friend and I managed to drop by the Natural History Museum, revising our human biology on the way. Otherwise, the library on a Sunday evening becomes busy again with people meeting Monday deadlines.

Natural History Museum

#MedicLife may be used to describe the days when timetabling has created exhaustive days, but life as a medical student is not as intense as the 4am study nights that some may exaggerate to be. Life as a university student alone, requires a lot more self-discipline and self-motivated independent learning, but with the right balance between work and play, good time management skills will allow anyone to make the most out of their studies here in London.