Global Mobility Experience Bursary: Student Success Stories

In our first blog post for our GMEB Student Success Stories, we hear from Barnett Yang who studied at King’s in January 2023.

Hello! My name is Barnett Yang, an exchange student from UC Berkeley in the sunny Bay Area of California. At my home university, I study honors computer science and mathematics, and I was an exchange student at King’s College London for the Spring 2023 semester. 

As a second generation Chinese-American immigrant, I have scarcely traveled out of America and China, and have consequently developed a curiosity for European history and culture. Since attending college, I have come to realize that the history of both mathematics and computer science are inexorably linked to the history of the United Kingdom—the former being steered by the likes of Isaac Newton and Andrew Wiles, and the latter by the likes of Alan Turing and Tony Hoare. In many ways, the United Kingdom was the genesis of the industrial, technological, and information revolutions that define our world today. The net consequence was the realization that, if I did want to study abroad, I most definitely would like to do so in London. 

Atop St Paul’s Cathedral

The Global Mobility Experience Bursary was a welcomed windfall, and the promise of the bursary is evident in its name: it gave me the mobility to explore my interests in London and Europe. With the bursary, I had the funds to travel up and down the island of Britain, from Edinburgh and Manchester, to Bath and Canterbury. I could satisfy my niche interests in Bletchley Park and the Bank of England Museum, while also being able to take trips to Paris, Rome, Stockholm, and Berlin. 

Exploring the Scottish highlands

Britain is an absolute treasure trove for any student of computer science. In the environs of London is the famous Bletchley Park, known as the home of the Enigma codebreakers during the Second World War. I had an absolute blast exploring Bletchley Park and its multitude of exhibits (reassured, of course, with the knowledge that the GMEB would assuage its relatively pricey entrance fee). For instance, while the most famous machine developed at Bletchley Park is the “Bombe”, it is not, in fact, a computer, but rather a machine designed to cycle through various settings of the Enigma machine. Perhaps more relevant to the development of computing, and yet less well known, is the “Colossus”, a machine built to decrypt the Lorenz cypher in the waning years of the war. Bletchley Park is also a place of pilgrimage for fans of Alan Turing. There is a plethora of exhibits detailing his contributions to computer science, such as the Bombe, his own codebreaking work, and the inception of the Turing Machine. 

And of course, I had to visit Manchester (via funds graciously supplied by the GMEB) and discover the city’s own contributions to computer science. It is well known that Alan Turing was based at the University of Manchester after the Second World War, yet I had little idea of the specific experiments and research conducted at the university. One example that I found particularly interesting was a machine known as the “Baby”. While the original machine no longer exists, a replica can be seen at the Manchester Science Museum.  

Visiting Bletchley Park

Ultimately, my time abroad was substantially enhanced both by studying at KCL and through the GMEB. London is a great launchpad from which to explore the rest of Britain and Europe, but it is a destination in itself and, I think, the most culturally and historically rich city in Europe while still remaining highly relevant in the 21st century. 

Global Mobility Experience Bursary: An introduction

The Global Mobility Experience Bursary (GMEB) was funded by the King’s Race Equity and Inclusive Education Fund with the aim of the Bursary to address the participation gap between students of minority ethnicities in Study Abroad activities – both in outgoing King’s degree students studying abroad as part of their degree, and in incoming students coming to King’s for a semester or year.

The Global Mobility Office awarded 20x £500 student bursaries to enhance student experience during Study Abroad activities in the 2022/23 academic year.  Students were required to submit an application and answer questions on their personal, academic and professional motivations to study abroad, their plans for how they would spend the money and how that would impact and enhance their study abroad experience.

By sharing student experiences on our social media and blogs, we hope to inspire those who are unsure whether studying abroad is an option for them.  We also want to show some of interesting, unusual and transformative experiences that were made possible by the Bursary.

So without further ado, we hope you enjoy reading our Student Success Stories that you will see featured in this blog!

Meet your Peer Advisor: Viola!

We have four brand spanking new Peer Advisors to help both incoming and outgoing Study Abroad students this academic year! If you’ve got a question for them, pop along to their office hours.

Viola will be in K0.57 on Wednesday mornings from 10:30 – 12:30.

Hello! My name is Viola, I’m one of the new Global Mobility Peer Advisors for this academic year. I’m a fourth-year student studying Management and Spanish at King’s College.

During my studies, I had the incredible opportunity to spend the third year in Madrid. I completed the first semester at Universidad Carlos III and the second semester interning at Bloom Consulting. My time in Madrid was absolutely amazing, and I would absolutely recommend studying abroad during your university years.

Paella – a must eat!

Studying abroad is a fantastic opportunity to broaden your horizons, experience new cultures, and gain a global perspective. It not only enhances your academic and language skills but also fosters personal growth and independence. Plus, you’ll have the chance to meet incredible people from all around the world, forging international friendships that last a lifetime

From my personal experience, I understand that studying abroad can come with some challenges. Adapting to a new culture, being far from home, and facing language barriers can be tough. However, the key is to stay open-minded, embrace these challenges as opportunities to grow, and connect with fellow students and locals. You are not alone in this incredible journey, as many students are going through the exact same experiences. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you ever need a chat or advice.
If you’re an incoming student at King’s College, here’s some advice to kickstart your university journey. Firstly, don’t miss out on the opportunity to join our numerous societies; it’s a fantastic way to meet people who share your interests, broaden your horizons, and even enhance your CV. Beyond that, don’t forget to explore the vibrant city of London and make the most of the incredible cultural experiences it offers.

Some of my favourite places to explore in London

Speaking of London, when it’s sunny one of my favorite activities is picnicking in Hyde Park or St. James’s Park, where you can enjoy nature in the heart of the city and spend quality time with friends

Additionally, I highly recommend wandering through Notting Hill, especially exploring the vibrant Portobello Road Market. It’s a treasure trove of unique antiques and vintage finds. Lastly, remember to strike a balance between your coursework and self-care – this is key to a successful university life. Enjoy your time at King’s and make the most of every moment in this incredible city!

Meet your Peer Advisor: Andrew!

We have four brand spanking new Peer Advisors to help both incoming and outgoing Study Abroad students this academic year! If you’ve got a question for them, pop along to their office hours.

Andrew will be in K0.57 on Monday afternoons from 2-4

Hello everyone! My name is Andrew – I’m one of four global mobility peer advisors this year.  

I’m in my final year of my BA International Relations degree, and studied abroad at the University of Hong Kong from 2022-3. 

In return for taking on some small challenges, studying abroad afforded me some incredible, unique, and rewarding experiences that I recommend everyone to have during their university. I was able to join countless societies at HKU, experience local dormitory/hall life, study politics from a different country’s perspective, choose multiple fascinating modules both related to, and separate from, my degree, and make friends –local and international – who I’m still in touch with now. Studying abroad, especially in Hong Kong, also gave me amazing opportunities to travel – I was able to easily visit Mainland China, Macau, Japan, and Vietnam. I’m sure that with Covid restrictions completely lifted, if you study abroad, your travel options will be even more diverse. 

Mask wearing was very strict in HK
Views from up high
City lights

London is a fantastic city to study abroad in. I’m sure you will visit all the normal sites like Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly, Oxford Circus, and so on, but I’d recommend to you 3 less-trafficked places of in London that I think are well worth a visit. The London Mithraeum is an Roman-era temple in London dedicated to Mithras, an Iranian, and later Roman, God. It’s free to visit, immerses you in the Roman experience, and displays religious artifacts from that time. It’s only a 10-minute tube ride from King’s! The Golden Hinde is a reconstruction of a British ship from the 1500s which circumnavigated the world. Just a stone’s throw away from there is Borough Market – in my opinion, one of the best places to get food in all of London, alongside the South Bank.  

London is well-known for its role as a global financial and legal hub. If you’re interested in law, business, and so on, I highly recommend a visit to the City of London and Canary Wharf to see the headquarters of some of the world’s largest companies and some incredible architecture. 

I’m sure questions will emerge as you get started on your academics at King’s. If you need help, feel free to speak to me in my office hours or contact the Global Mobility Office, and we will advise you and point you in the right direction.  

I wish you all the best in exploring the varied and exciting courses on offer at King’s. Have a great semester! 

Meet your Peer Advisor: Anan!

We have four brand spanking new Peer Advisors to help both incoming and outgoing Study Abroad students this academic year! If you’ve got a question for them, pop along to their office hours.

Anan will be in K0.57 on Tuesday afternoons from 2-4.

Greetings, fellow scholars! I’m Anan, your trusty Global Mobility Peer Advisor, and I’m thrilled to be your guide on this exciting academic journey. Currently, I’m immersed in my third year of studies, pursuing a degree in Geography with a focus on Environmental Science. While I may call the UK my current home, my family’s origins trace back to the vibrant cultures of India and Bangladesh. 

Now, let me pull back the curtain a bit and introduce myself more intimately. I have a deep-rooted love for travel that ignites my spirit, and I’m an unabashed foodie, always eager to embark on culinary adventures. My curiosity leads me to new horizons and experiences, and I relish every opportunity to embrace the unknown.

This past summer, I embarked on a transformative journey to ESSEC BUSINESS SCHOOL in Rabat, Morocco. To put it simply, it was a life-changing experience! Not only did I have the privilege of making enduring friendships, but I also dove headfirst into the captivating worlds of innovation and entrepreneurship. Morocco’s diverse landscape allowed me to explore a range of sports, from the exhilarating waves of surfing to the precision of tennis, the tranquility of golf, the focus of archery, and the camaraderie of football, pool, and table tennis. 

Some of the things I experienced on my Summer exchange!

Now, as you prepare to step into the exciting realm of academia at Kings College London, here’s a piece of sage advice from someone who’s been there: embrace every opportunity this esteemed institution has to offer. Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of extracurricular activities. Engage in the vibrant society events that will bring you closer to like-minded peers. And remember, London is a treasure trove of knowledge and culture, with an array of free museums and exhibitions waiting to be explored. Don’t hesitate to grab your friends and embark on these enriching adventures.  Let’s make your academic experience at Kings College an unforgettable chapter in your life’s story. Welcome aboard, and let’s soar to new heights together!