Hi everyone! I’m Yiru, an international student from China currently studying for a Philosophy BA at King’s. As an international student, I’d like to share my experiences with you.
The first thing students may be worried when moving from another country to attend university are the cultural barriers – unless you have experience living in a multicultural environment, you might be worried about how to make friends in a new country, communicate with the locals, and make it feel like home!
Living in halls
Luckily, as a first-year student, I was guaranteed student accommodation where you can live with both UK and international students – this is a great opportunity to make new friends.
University life in the UK is quite different from university life in China. For example, when studying in China you will often live with people who are studying the same degree as you, sharing accommodation based on the campus, so everyone is living and studying together.
However, studying at a London uni and living in halls in first year offers you a great chance to meet new people who are studying different degrees and may be international, like you. The prospect of not knowing anyone can be scary! But take it as an opportunity to broaden your horizons, take yourself out of your comfort zone and talk to someone who you would have never got the chance to interact with before
Something else you might worry about is academic study. As international students, we may find the language, exam style and teaching style quite different from what we are used to.
Sometimes you may find it difficult to follow the lecturer, but don’t worry, you can always review by watching the lecture recording. You’ll have the chance to not only discuss ideas during classes and seminars but during office hours, I have found these really helpful for one-on-one discussion with academics.
I really enjoy sharing and exchanging thoughts from the lectures and reading topics in seminars with other students – since I’m studying philosophy, I can often find inspiration from other students’ perspectives and ideas, and it helps me understand them better.
Getting around in London
You will also get used to public transport in London – it has a network of buses and tubes, many of which will take you straight to campus, you will get used to them as you use them more often! The Transport for London website also has lots of tips.
Some of my top tips – when taking the bus you need to press the red button to stop it, otherwise, you may miss the stop. And in central London, the underground does not have internet, so remember to download the map in advance.
Experience new things
London is a great city, and it will give you the chance to experience new activities and hobbies. When I was in halls I did a lot of cooking – now I could say I’m a master! London has a great range of restaurants, which has inspired me to learn to cook more than 50 cuisines. Cooking is also a great way to relax and make friends.
I enjoy shopping in supermarkets, especially M&S, Waitrose and Sainsburys – hanging around in the supermarket makes me feel chilled and relaxed when I want some time to myself!
All in all, I am grateful for being able to study abroad and study what I’m passionate about – going to King’s is probably one of the best decisions I made! I still have the support of my family and friends back home, but so far I have really enjoyed my time living in London and studying at King’s.
By Yiru Nie, Philosophy BA.
For more information about being an international student at Kings, click here.
For more information on the range of courses we offer at undergraduate level, click here.