An Interview With Instagram Competition Winner Adrian Moftakhari

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Adrian Moftakhari was a student at this year’s Undergraduate Summer School and was the winner of our ‘Summer at King’s’ Instagram competition.

So please tell us a little bit about yourself.

How could I define myself… ? mmh well that’s a good way to start this interview! I would simply say that I’m Adrian, a Swiss/Iranian bloke studying law, dancing tango and painting soon to be masterpieces when my nose isn’t buried deep into textbooks… I’m also a big fan of beers and coffees (especially when the company’s good!) astronomy and theatre. As a Swiss guy, I love skiing, cheese, chocolate and great watches (how typical…), but I can only afford the first ones haha!

This year I’ll be turning 22 and should have the first part of my studies in the pocket: the Bachelor’s degree. I’ve done all my studies in Switzerland so far, except for a couple of months Down Under to learn English when I was 17 (if you haven’t been there yet… you’re really missing on something pretty sweet!); I do hope I’ll be studying abroad again soon, it’s always a great adventure.

You’ve studied at King’s College London on the Undergraduate Summer School. What made you decide to pick King’s and the module you studied?

I’ve known King’s College London for a couple of years already, a friend of mine was studying there at The Dickson Poon School of Law and I have to say that it was really tempting. At the time I didn’t have the grades to get into King’s, I didn’t work hard enough in college. So I’ve always wanted to give it a try later on. My current school, the University of Geneva, offered its students scholarships for a couple of summer schools around the world; this included King’s, so what better way to finally try it?

What brought me to King’s in the first place is its marvellous reputation around the globe as a Law School as well as its location- the heart of London,  a city I’ve been fascinated with for a long time. So this Summer School gave me the chance to 1) study at King’s for a while, 2) live in London for three weeks and be able to see what it’s like (oh and it’s awesome by the way), 3) acquire some valuable knowledge on a specific subject.

This subject was “International Commercial Law”, as for now I haven’t had any class on the subject back in Geneva, so it was a great way to discover that branch of law. I wanted to know how international commerce was legally covered and I think that this class gave me a pretty wide and complete overview on the matter. I’ve broaden up my legal knowledge a little bit and I now know that it might just be something I’m interested in for my future. Those kind of classes let you discover things you might just not have the possibility to back home or back to your university, so it really was something good for me I think as I’ve always been interested in the matter.

What have been the best parts of studying at King’s this summer?

There was no BEST PART, I can’t choose anything as everything had value in its own intricate way. Of course I met great people there, made heaps of new friends and some of which I’m still in contact with every day. Sad thing is they all live pretty far, but it’s not that bad as I have a place to crash wherever I go now. I think meeting people is one of the core aspect of a summer school, if you don’t do so you’re definitely missing something, because they are what is left when you go back home and will always give you a big heart-warming feeling linked to your souvenirs.

But it has also been a time for me to walk around by myself, to take the time to get lost in London, immerse myself in the different cultures of the city and breathe in all it had to offer. Actually, definitely not all, there’s so much to do all the time, this city is alive and moving fast, very fast. Coffee shops have been a daily routine, check out the Fleet Street Press Coffee (on your right to the way to the Maughan Library) as I’m a big fan of flat whites, always a sweet way to start the day.

London is a town of culture, which means that you have to go see some shows and visit a couple of museums at least, so I’ve done that. But if you know some locals they’ll bring you to the “tourist free” spots of town and that’s where you finally get to see some real London, from the little bagel places to the hidden parks and the best spot for a sunset over the Thames… there’s plenty of things to do outside of the official guide. So yeah… so many great parts came with this summer school, and that’s without mentioning the actual studying and all the partying.

What will you take from your experience here at King’s back to your home institution?

This class has given me an opportunity to get a little extra experience in my curriculum vitae as well as general knowledge on the matter of commercial law. It was not easy even if we did not go too far in the subject, so much had to be covered. But now I know what it is about and will be able to continue my studies with a better understanding of what I want to do in the future. There is so much fields of law you can specialize into, and it’s all very broad, so you’d better know what you want early because studying it will take you a couple of years. So now I know a little bit more, my choices will be taken a little bit more enlightened.

What have you been up to since leaving King’s?

Since I’m back I’ve taken a week off with a visiting friend, but otherwise I was doing an internship in a law office in Lausanne. It’s now over and I have about a month left until the classes start again so I think I’ll allow myself some time away from the studies as I think I’ve done enough for one summer!

For those students considering studying at King’s for the summer in the future what advice would you give them?

Choose a course that suits you and that will actually bring you something in your future, all classes seem interesting but do some research before on who is teaching you and what it really is all about. But in the end, you’d better take some extra days before and especially after the classes so that you can have more time to spend for a last party or museum tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Interview With Author & Alumni Kudrat Dutta Chaudhary

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Kudrat Dutta Chaudhary studied on King’s College London’s Undergraduate Summer School in 2014 and has been extremely busy ever since. On top of studying Law, Kudrat had written for a number of magazines and newspapers and in July her debut novel Laiza: Sometimes the End Is Only a Beginning was released.

You studied International Relations and Criminology and Criminal Justice at King’s College London’s summer school, how did you find your experience?

My experience at the King’s College London’s Summer School was a life changing one and is something that I cherish to date and would continue to do so for all times to come. I thoroughly enjoyed both the courses that I’d undertaken, which were International Relations and Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Studying International Relations with such a demanding module strengthened my intellectual faculties and gave me an expert insight regarding understanding complex International situations to find reasonable and fair solutions. On the other hand the subject matter and teaching of Criminology and Criminal Justice helped me grasp issues that plague our society and how they can be dealt with effectively. Apart from academic learnings, I’d also want to highlight that the sort of holistic and diverse environment that the summer school provided me with to interact with students from all across the globe was definitely an experience of a lifetime.

Overall, after the completion of the summer school I found myself way richer in terms of knowledge and insight; something that I feel has made me evolve and wise in every way.

Apart from writing your novel, what else have you been working on since your time at King’s has ended?

I studied at The King’s College London Summer School in the year 2014 and ever since then two years have passed and these have been the busiest two years of my life.

Apart from comprehensively working on my debut novel, I undertook an Accreditation course in Mediation from the Australian Disputes Centre, Sydney in 2015. The completion of the course made me an accredited International Mediator which also means that currently I happen to be one of the youngest mediators of the world. Owing to this, I was bestowed with an opportunity to intern with Holman Webb Lawyers, Sydney in 2015 which was definitely a brilliant experience and a very augmenting one.

Then I got selected to intern at the Ministry of External Affairs, India in September 2015 wherein all my learnings from the course of International Relations came in handy. Then in March 2016, I interned as a Judicial Clerk at the Punjab and Haryana High Court which too was a very fulfilling experience not only as a Law student but also as human being who believes in social justice.

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Your novel Laiza- Sometimes the end is only a beginning, was released in July, can you provide us with a brief summary on what the book is about?

LAIZA- Sometimes the End is only a beginning is a fiction novel based in real time, of about 95,000 words approximately expressing all the emotions and dilemmas on a wide spectrum of feelings. It is deep, engaging and intriguing. Laiza represents the plight of a million women who may fall, get injured, but never back down.

It is a story that would introduce the world to the dark side of disasters; it’s a story that would inspire every reader to fight in life, no matter what. It’s a story that needs to be heard. The main themes of the book are Feminism, hope, human trafficking, Indo-Nepal relations, Nepali culture and self discovery.

Did your travels to London and your study at King’s inspire your writing in any way?

I personally feel that we are all a culmination of the experiences we have and the travels we make! So my travels to London would continue to be a part of my being and personality forever, irrespective of the fact that they’re mentioned in my writings or not.

Moving on to the inspiration I sought from my study at King’s. Issues of Feminism and Human Trafficking along with Indo-Nepal relations which are the main themes of my book are basically figments of International Relations. The book is very intense and hence it runs on a consistent background of Indo-Nepal relations and how they affected my protagonist’s life. Every detail about their ups and downs in the year 2015 has been mentioned in the book and analysis of true events to include them in my story was definitely the pedestal wherein study of International Relations helped.

Apart from this, I personally believe that I am a very positive person and for me the toughest aspect of writing ‘Laiza’ was to characterise antagonists! I believe I could do so along with providing every antagonist a back story as to why they became what they became because of being a Criminology student.

So to be very honest, I haven’t used my study and travels to London in the most direct ways to write the book, but they certainly have helped me at various points to twist, turn and knit the story with no loopholes so left to be plugged in the end.

For those student’s at King’s who are budding novelists what one piece of advice would you like to give them?

If you want to write and that’s what you’ve been wanting to do ever since, then START NOW. As Hemingway says, the first draft of everything is bad, so don’t let that dampen you, instead seek inspiration and go on to liberate not just yourself but also the one whose life would change after he/she experiences your work.

And please, don’t ever let anyone tell you that you aren’t worth it, Because you certainly are. Most importantly Free yourself from your own limitations before anything else.

You can now buy Laiza: Sometimes the End Is Only a Beginning on Amazon. And if you wish to contact Kudrat please so send her an email:kudratduttachaudhary@gmail.com

Throwback Thursday: King’s College London Undergraduate Summer School

Untitled designMy 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

My time at the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Summer School

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As a final year medical student I was due to spend Summer 2015 on an elective in Belize. When this fell through at the last minute I ended up doing my elective in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at St Thomas’ Hospital. Following this I was invited to be a mentor in their summer school alongside 5 other final year students.

The summer school took place over five days, with each mentor being assigned four students. On the first day of the summer school we mentors taught the students basic obstetric and gynaecological examinations and skills. The students were then given a timetable for the rest of the week where they would attend clinics and theatre to get an idea of the specialty. In addition to their time spent in the hospital, we asked the students to prepare a very brief presentation on something about the course that they had found particularly interesting. The students presented these to the mentors and course organisers on the final day of the course and we had a small ceremony where they received certificates for their participation.

The course proved to be a valuable experience for both students and mentors. As mentors we got to experience what it feels like to be responsible for a group of colleagues, trying to ensure that they got the best learning experience they could. This wasn’t always easy due to the busy nature of obstetrics and gynaecology, but for the most part we managed to make sure everyone got to experience all areas and had an enjoyable time.

It definitely made me personally appreciate how much work goes into organising our medical course and develop a new respect for the people who do so. For the students, the course gave them an excellent insight into a new specialty, with the chance to practice skills that most don’t get the chance to learn until 4th year and the opportunity to practice their presenting skills which are a big part of medicine.

Overall the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Summer School proved to be one of the things that turned my makeshift elective in the UK into a really enjoyable and worthwhile experience I would highly recommend it to both those interested in being a student or a mentor.

By Isabella Fernandes

Literature in the City

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It has been six months since studying at the King’s College London Undergraduate Summer School. However, every time I think of my fantastic experience my heart is still filled with pleasure. What I acquired there was not only the learning experience in class, but also living independently in a foreign country. Life in London taught me new ways to express myself, as well as gaining courage to turn my classmates into friends.

The course I studied in King’s was Literature in the City, which focused on reading and discussing the literary materials related to the city of London. In the Chinese-speaking culture I am used to, the tutor would directly and exactly tell students what the writer wants to claim in the literary pieces; however, things were totally different here. What you thought about the reading materials and how to share your own opinions to the classmates were important. We were divided into small groups, trying to reach mutual understandings, convincing our peers and being convinced.

Besides the discussions in the classroom, we had paid many visits to the spots where literary episodes were based on. Including the house Yeats lived in and the enclosed underground tunnels that people lived during Blitz. What’s more, we also took a boat  down to River Thames, the river that exists in almost every narrative of the city, and embracing history and innovation at the same moment. I still remember my tutor, George, a young and amiable scholar who was always analytical and calm in the classroom, became animated when we were travelling down the river.

I have some glorious and unique memories from my stay in King’s, forever printed in my mind: the sunny weekend in Hampstead Heath, loitering in the many museums and cathedrals. The most impressive was my encounter with an old considerate British gentleman in Royal Albert Hall, who helped me kindly with every detail so that I could enjoy a concert.

In the opening event of summer school, the speaker once told us that all of us had the equal chance to build connections with others and make our time during the summer school remarkable. Fortunately I had made the best use of my time during the summer and thankfully I seized the chance to join in with all of the activities, earning myself a brilliant time in London.

Yun Lin, Undergraduate Summer School 2015

Our Summer School Experience

Pre Arrival

March is an exciting time of year for the Summer Programmes Team. Spring has finally come to London and we’re receiving lots of great applications to our Undergraduate Summer School.

And just before we begin welcoming a new cohort of students, we thought we would share with you some thoughts past students have had about studying at the King’s College London Summer School…

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“Getting to go behind-the-scenes at the Museum of London in Curating the City has illuminated the process by which curators tell stories through objects. This study of material culture will enhance the way in which I think about texts as objects to be scrupulously analyzed. My tutor was not only kind and relatable, but also passionate about the subject matter and engaging as an instructor…”
Anna Mukama, Summer School 2015

Untitled design 3“I have been involved with King’s Summer School for the past 3 years, doing courses ranging from History of Medicine to Neuroscience. I daresay that I am a veteran in terms of King’s Summer School, and what really kept me coming back were the impeccably planned lessons and the wide range of experience that the lessons bring for me.” Hsiu Yen, Summer School 2013-2015

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“My experiences at King’s Summer School are certainly ones I will never forget, to say the very least. Coming here, I didn’t have many expectations, but I have learned far more than I could’ve ever imagined. I have learned about London, and the UK as a whole, both in and out of the classroom.”
Samantha Birk, Summer School 2013 

 

Untitled design 4“When I was accepted to study International Human Rights Law at King’s College London, I was so humbled because it was an opportunity to study at a world-renowned university and in the centre of a global metropolis in a cohort of other like-minded yet diverse people…I am so grateful to have been a part of this incredible experience. Every day of Summer School has, without a doubt, helped me to grow and pushed me to better myself. ”
Jordan Soresi, Summer School 2015

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“I think if there’s one thing that the King’s Undergraduate Summer School has done for me, it’s broadened my perspectives. The various performances, galleries and historical sites we visited on our city walks provided the perfect backdrop for our learning and really helped me understand my course content on a deeper level… The insight and encouragement I’ve gained from my teachers and other students alike have really been invaluable…”
Lauren Reid, Summer School 2015

And this is just a handful of our happy Summer School students. So if you’re looking to have a memorable summer, studying in the heart of London submit your application to our Undergraduate Summer School now.

Anis Syed: Negotiation, Strategy & Skills

The Kings College Undergraduate Summer School is definitely one of those experiences that I would cherish for a lifetime. From having an exceptionally good tutor to meeting people from all over the globe, the journey has been self fulfilling in all ways.

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I took the module Negotiations: Strategy and Skills and I feel the topic couldn’t have been taught in any better way than it was.Learning theories in the first part of the class and then applying those while negotiating our cases through the second half helped us understand the subject in so much more detail. The short course of 3 weeks definitely delivered a lot more than expected.

What made this experience awesome was meeting great friends at the summer school. They were the best co travellers you can have on a journey. With them, I believe the experience was a lot more than just having fun, I learned a lot about life, about different cultures, lifestyles and the main lesson of “adjusting” with different people. And now when I reflect back, I can evidently see a transformation in myself.

Anis Syed

Shakespeare in London

During the reign of Elizabeth I, London was at the centre of a burgeoning literary and theatrical culture whose influence is still felt to this day. William Shakespeare made the journey from Stratford-upon-Avon some time in the 1580s and became a member of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, later the King’s Men; their principal playwright by the time the first Globe Theatre was completed in 1599. Across the river from the main commercial city, the Globe was a centre for entertainment alongside the bear-baiting pits and brothels of the Southwark ‘Liberties,’ but the theatre was also a place for a wide range of contemporary concerns to be disseminated and explored: the power structures of the Tudor and Stuart monarchies, the early forays of colonialism, nascent capitalism, shifting gender politics and the aftershocks of decades of religious conflict.

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Today, Shakespeare’s influence is still felt in London: from the genteel Victorian theatres of the West End, where famous actors such as David Garrick, Edmund Kean, Henry Irving and Ellen Terry made their names with iconic interpretations of Shakespeare’s characters, to the National Theatre established in the 1960s where the relationship of Shakespeare to British identity is still being negotiated, to the reconstructed Globe theatre a stone’s throw from the theatre’s original location. At the Globe, modern audiences can encounter Shakespeare in an approximation of its original form. In 2014 the new Sam Wanamaker Theatre opened: a Jacobean-style indoor playhouse where candlelit performances of plays by Shakespeare’s contemporaries take place in conditions similar to those of the earliest indoor playhouses.

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The Shakespeare in London course at King’s is an opportunity to explore both: the historic context of Shakespeare’s work in early modern London and the long shadow of his continuing influence on the modern city. We will attend a variety of performances: Elizabethan-style performance at the Globe and contemporary adaptations, taking advantage of the varied theatrical landscape that London has to offer. We will trace the remnants of Shakespeare’s city in contemporary Southwark and the evidence of his later influence elsewhere in the city.  Lectures will provide background and explore three of his plays in some detail, both in their original context and in subsequent adaptations, and interactive seminar discussions will explore issues related to these texts, including gender, genre, politics and religion. We will discuss the ways that these plays communicate the major political and social concerns of their era, and consider the ways that their meanings have been deployed, inverted or appropriated in four hundred years of performance. This year, the plays we focus on will be Twelfth Night, As You Like It and Macbeth.

Join us in London for an in-depth engagement with Shakespeare in the city that made him famous. For more information visit http://www.kcl.ac.uk/study/summer/programmes/undergraduatesummerschool/modules/kingsculturallondon/Shakespeare-in-London.aspx

Please feel free to contact us with any questions at sarah.barnden@kcl.ac.uk and miranda.thomas@kcl.ac.uk

We look forward to working with you in July.

Sally Barnden and Miranda Fay Thomas

Tutors

Secrets & Spies: Modern Espionage and Intelligence

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London has been at the centre of a web of global espionage for over 100 years. The work of British officers and agents in every corner of the globe helped build the British Empire, and later supported the soldiers, sailors and airmen who fought in the World Wars. Throughout the last century the secret services struggled against terrorists at home, and international competitors abroad. This mission continues today.

Most of those who risked life and limb in the spying game did so in secret, but on this course we will cast a light on their activities. Driven by a variety of lectures, seminars, and exercises, students on this course will be immersed in the secret world.

Based a short walk alongside the river Thames from the iconic headquarters of MI6, King’s College is a world leader in the study of intelligence in war and peace. Its scholars have pushed the boundaries of the subject, writing ground-breaking books on British, US, and Chinese spy agencies, on intelligence and terror, on cyber-spying and cyber-war, and on privacy in the digital age.

Together, on this course, we will observe how intelligence and spying has developed globally over the past century and beyond; we will examine how it is used and abused by politicians, from Churchill to Obama; we will question how it is used in combating the terrorist threat; and we will discuss the implication of developments in spying and intelligence for each of us in the future.

We will open locked-doors, and gaze inside the top-secret world. Doing so, and asking the difficult questions, has never been more important; be part of the debate at King’s College London Summer School 2015.

Dr Huw Dylan

My Summer School experience: Anton Kryvoshlykov

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‘My remarkable journey with King’s College started in November 2010, when I was a foundation student in Queen Mary University of London. I attended a University Fair and came across the King’s College London Summer School prospectus. Upon finishing my IFP programme, I accepted an offer from the Law School in Southampton University. I had little knowledge of the peculiarities of the English legal system and of what common law is in general, consequently, I have decided to get some background before engaging into actual law studies, and by that time it was clear to me that King’s is the place to be if you want to do Law. I applied for two sessions: An Introduction to English Legal System and European Union Law, the latter being a compulsory module for all the major UK universities. As it turned out this decision was one of the most crucial in my life.

The first thing to strike me was obviously the position of the campus, centered at the heart of London, surrounded by major political and legal institutions such as Westminster, Royal Court of Justice and Inns of Court, the location truly provides the spirit of vibrant political and academic community with fundamental constitutional cases decided just across the street. Moreover, living in King’s accommodation in Stamford Street, while having classes in the Strand Building, I enjoyed the picturesque walk across the Waterloo Bridge every day.

Fleet Street in London. Picture: Ingrid Raussman.

Fleet Street in London. Picture: Ingrid Raussman.

King’s College is well known for its academic excellence and I was fortunate enough to experience it first-hand. The first session, An Introduction to English Legal System, provided me with the much-needed explanation of the basic concepts of English law, and legal systems in general. The programme successfully combines the academic analysis of the law as well as its practical side (so it’s not just dry discussions all day long) with visits to all main legal institutions including the Supreme Court, Royal Court of Justice and Old Bailey. I would like to highlight the admirable devotion of the course leader, Dr. Thomas McManus, who offered an unparalleled guidance and insight into the legal profession, being a practitioner, himself. The course denoted to the Study of the EU law was an important experience as well, providing a valuable overview of the differences in approaches to the law-making between the UK and the European Union. This programme also included lively discussions on a large variety of topics ranging from the specific EU Directives to the more abstract issues such as the position of human rights within the Community Law. Generally the both sessions were more than useful experience for my future studies in Law.

The knowledge I have acquired in Summer School gave me a sufficient head start in the Southampton Law School, where I proved myself as a strong LLB student. However I was so fascinated by the manner of teaching in King’s that I have decided to reapply for the first year again. I cannot possibly describe my feelings when I have received a UCAS update stating that King’s College of London had given me an Unconditional Offer. So in 2013 I entered the main hall of Strand Building as a proud King’s student.

My journey continues, and this summer I am planning to once again join the ranks of the Summer School Students, undertaking the session in Secrets and Spies: Modern Espionage and Intelligence, hoping that it will provide the necessary introduction to the subject to study as a MA student (Intelligence & International Security).