My name is Chih-I. When I was a King’s College London Summer School student in 2010, I was only 19 years old. I decided to spend the summer at King’s for several reasons.
First, I intended to improve my English by fully immersing myself in an English-speaking country. Second, King’s was reported in the year to be one of the top 25 universities in the world. For a student like me who cares so much about the teaching quality and the academic environment, King’s immediately attracted my attention.
Moreover, the campus as well as the accommodation provided were just perfectly located in the city centre: close to Covent Garden, the Strand Campus was also three-minute walk from Temple Station; the accommodation on Stamford Street was next to Waterloo Station, one of the London underground hubs, which enabled me to reach anywhere in the shortest time. Finally, considering the diverse backgrounds of the student group at King’s Summer School, I knew that I would be able to meet people from all over the world, each one with different culture and life experience. This has definitely constituted an ‘added value’ for my King’s Summer School experience.
Although I majored in Law in my home university, I decided to study musicology at King’s Summer School. Studying musicology does not mean to learn to play an instrument, as opposed to what one may think. Musicology is the scholarly research on music, a branch of humanities. In the three-week course, we addressed various issues regarding the interaction among music/art genre/style, political environment, and urban development in London. Outside the course, we went to up to 5 or 6 concerts/shows/musicals in the evening. We then discussed some of the artistic elements in these performances with reference to what we had talked about in the seminars. As for my final essay, I explored the self-identity of different personas in Pucini’s opera ‘La Bohème’ in relation to the socio-economic context in Italy in the 19th century.
The summer school has exerted positive influence on my later life in different aspects. First, it allowed me to know better the higher education system in the UK, particularly in terms of types of supervision and support one student can receive from the professor. It was from that moment that I came up with the idea to come to the UK for my master studies. The experience of living in one of the biggest cities in the world was marvellous, needless to say.
However, the best part of the summer school, in my opinion, was that I have made friends from all over the world: France, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Russia, Taiwan, and the US, to name only a few. I have been able to keep in touch with some of the friends since the end of the programme, and have managed to pay them a visit in their countries, despite the distance. Some of them even helped me enormously with my master thesis. The wonderful fruit of our friendship was something that I did not anticipate before starting the programme at King’s.
Six years later, when I recall the old college days, I cannot help but be amazed by how the Summer School has strung our life together. Thank you King’s for creating such a superb memory in my life!
By Chih-I CHANG
Current MPhil student in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics at the University of Cambridge