My time at European Week

Hi, Alana here!

During February, I managed to go to a couple of the events organised by the KCL European Society for their annual European Week, and I thought I would write a little about them for you to give you a flavour of the kind of events you will be able to attend as a King’s student!

Every year the European Society organises European Week, which is a series of events with panels of prominent speakers on current issues and debates within European politics. This year’s theme was ‘Europe under pressure’, and the themes were EU-Russia and EU-Turkey relations, the migrant crisis, Brexit and terrorism.

The first event I attended was EU-Russian relations: Friend or Foe? The three panellists were Ian Bond, foreign policy director at the Centre for European Reform, Mathieu Boulègue, research fellow at Chatham House, and Daragh McDowell, Russian and CIS specialist at a leading risk consultancy. It’s great to be able to attend events with speakers from leading think tanks like the Centre for European Reform and Chatham House, as well as from the private sector – it gives a really good mix of perspectives on the issues!

Each speaker had the chance to give their perspective on some of the key issues in the EU-Russia relationship today. Some of the things I found really interesting were discussions on the tensions in the shared neighbourhood which has led to the paralysis of EU-Russia relations for several years, as well as discussions of Russian perceptions of Europe, in which it struggles to recognise the EU as an actor on the global stage. This event linked really well with a class I am taking this year – The EU in the International System – in which we have studied EU-Russia relations as well as the nature of the EU as a global actor. This is one of the things I really like about attending events such as these, as they always link to something you are currently studying and can encourage you to think further and go beyond simply what you have studied in class!

Next, I went to the Threat of Terrorism within Europe. The speakers were Sir Julian King, European Commissioner for the Security Union, Peter Round, Senior Fellow for European Defence at the International Institute for Security Studies, Shashank Joshi, Senior Research Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, and Dr Samir Puri, lecturer in the Department of War Studies specialising in terrorism and counter-terrorism. Again, this event had a really diverse mix of guests on the panel!

I have always been very interested in the area of counter-terrorism; I have researched it quite a bit during my degree at King’s and am considering pursing it at postgraduate level, so I found this event particularly insightful! The guest speakers discussed the changing nature of the terrorist threat today and especially how European states can respond to this effectively through measures such as targeting online propaganda and addressing individual vulnerabilities to radicalisation. They also discussed the need for the EU to be united in finding common solutions to this threat despite political issues or differences, as well as the inherent tensions between counter-terrorism measures and European liberal democratic values.

At both events the floor was then left open for questions from the audience. Lots of things were discussed, from EU sanctions towards Russia to the potential impact of Brexit and the Trump administration on counter-terrorism cooperation in Europe. This is really a chance to explore further and question any of the issues mentioned by the speakers and start a real debate. The events finished off with a drinks reception where we were able to talk further with each of the speakers, ask any more questions we have or follow up anything they discussed during the panel.

I would really encourage you to take advantage of events such as these as a King’s student, they let you explore topics further outside of regular classes, meet other students and staff, and listen to perspectives on issues beyond academia. They are also a really great opportunity for networking!

Best wishes,

Alana- BA European Studies (French Pathway)

 

5 minutes with Dr James Scott, Lecturer in International Politics

Hi everyone, Alice here!

I recently conducted a quick interview with Dr James Scott, who is not only a Lecturer with the Department of Political Economy, but also teaches my International Institutions and Global Governance module. As a Lecturer who gets involved in student representation and teaches popular international relations courses you’re sure to see him around the campus soon! Read about my interview with Dr Scott below.

What was your route to teaching at King’s?

I studied Physics and Philosophy as an undergraduate and halfway through I realised I had a greater interest in politics and development. I became a bit bored with Maths and decided to jump ship for my Masters, which I believe was linked to reading Germaine Greer’s ‘The Female Eunuch’ aged 19. It made me look at the world from a totally different angle and realise how to interpret what was going on around me. I then became more interested in social sciences, taking on a Masters in Development Studies and a PhD in International Political Economy. I ended up in academia as I really enjoyed being a ‘permanent student’ in a way.

What was your first impression when you came to King’s?

For me, the department was the most important part of coming to King’s, it is unique. Not just for the fact it is the only Political Economy department, but the way in which everyone is open-minded about different approaches. It is quite common in academia for departments to be divided across different theoretical approaches, and there aren’t a lot of places to work that are this fantastically friendly. Everyone is very committed, and this is definitely shown by the Student-Staff Liaison Committee, where student representatives feedback to us about the department. Right from the outset I’ve been to so many meetings which focus on students’ satisfaction and continual improvement to make the department the best it can be.

Any advice to new King’s students?

Academically, I would recommend reading. Socially, university is a wonderful time to broaden your horizons and social circles. Even if you’re commuting, or have friends in London already, make the most of it. This is possibly the first time where you’re thrown together with people from majorly diverse backgrounds and use it as an opportunity to see beyond the surroundings you’ve grown up in.

Quirky fact about yourself?

I was Macclesfield Astra Zeneca Bridge Champion 2009, I don’t think I need to say much more about that!

I hope you enjoyed my interview!

Best wishes,

Alice, BSc Political Economy

My Geography Trips Abroad- By Arkam

Hello offer holders!

I hope you are all well! If you are in the UK I hope you’ve been coping with the recent snow! For this month’s blog, I will tell you guys about my Geography field trips to Spain and San Francisco.

We went to Spain in our first year (All 150+ of us). It was one of the best weeks of my life! We had so much fun. We all had our little groups before going on the trip but on the trip, we all came together like a big family and got to know each other. As a result, our whole year is so close. The department covered everything for the trip for the year we went, so we didn’t have to pay for anything which was nice.

BSc Geographers group photo.

Here we are using some cup- anemometers to investigate soil erosion by wind. This was a really fun day!

Now some photos from the San Francisco field trip. In your second year, usually in February, all Geography students go on field trips. BSc students can go to places such as India or Morocco whereas BA students can go to places such as India, San Francisco or Hong Kong. It was once again an absolutely amazing experience, that I will remember forever. You get an option to stay for an extra week and I decided to go to LA with some friends. Below are some of the things that we did while in the US.

Our research project in the US looked at how the current political climate was affecting the Latino community in the Mission district. In the mission, every wall was covered with murals, each telling a different tale of the neighbourhood. This project made me fall in love with human geography field work.

We ate a lot of doughnuts of course.

Last day in San Francisco included going to Alcatraz Island which was once again amazing!!

In our second week in LA we did all the touristy things that you can do including going on a trip to Venice beach.

Finally, both of the field trips were absolutely amazing, by far the best experiences that I will remember forever. I hope that has given you an insight into the fieldtrips and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

Best of luck with everything and take care. : )

Arkam- BSc Geography

Study Tips- From Alice

Hi Everyone! Alice here!

This month I wanted to write about study tips. University involves a lot of independent study, so I wanted to share with you some study tips.

Firstly, during your first semester at King’s, I would recommend going through the readings list, attending the lectures and reading around the subject area. If you feel like you miss anything during lectures, feel free to ask your friends and email lecturers, this will make essay writing and exam revision much easier. For each seminar you will have several reading sets. Drawing together ideas from different authors and lectures is a key part of essay writing and will help you prepare for exam questions.

Secondly, i have some tips on exams. King’s main two exam periods are January and May. To help myself prepare for an exam, I ensure that I schedule my time properly. It’s never too early to start studying for an exam! Making myself a schedule helps me remove distractions so I can concentrate better, it also helps improve my productivity. I like to organise my day into timeslots,so I can set achievable goals. To help with my concentration, I also deactivate my social media accounts and plan work, seeing friends and relaxing ahead of time, so that I can’t use a last-minute invitation as an excuse.

Finally, over the summer, retain the knowledge from what you have studied in your exams. Try to read the classics (Smith, Marx, Hayek, Keynes, Piketty, and other related writers) and for those joining the Department of Political Economy, introductory Political Philosophy books such as Wolff’s can be a great help to delving into the political and economic world. Keep up-to-date with your own country’s politics, or read The Economist, or the Financial Times as they provide a real-life resource for understanding what you’re learning.

Best wishes,

Alice

BSc Political Economy

Alice Stretch

Why I Chose King’s- By Zsófia

Hello, Zsófia here!

Deciding on which university to attend is a big step in anyone’s life.  Here are my main reasons for choosing King’s – I hope you will find them useful in making your decision.

The course

The BSc Economics and Management programme may be a relatively new course; however, knowing about the standard of quality King’s represents, I had no doubts about attending a course within such a rapidly growing school. This course offered me something I did not find at other universities, which was a 50-50 blend of economics and management modules. I found the programme very attractive as you have a choice of many optional modules from your second year onwards.

Reputation and quality of education

King’s was founded in 1829 and is the fourth oldest university in England. King’s has a reputation of quality education not only in Great Britain, but all around the world. It was most recently ranking 11th  place in the Times Higher Education Most International Universities 2017. Attending a world-renowned university is quite a way to boost your CV, and once you’ve graduated from King’s it will open up a whole new world of opportunities. The academic’s research at King’s contributes greatly to the quality of the education; it is a truly amazing opportunity to learn from people who can pass on their current findings from their recent research.

Opportunities

Another main reason for choosing King’s was the help they provide through their student services. The careers & employability service offers guidance on how to write a CV, how to find internships find internships, and how to prepare for interviews. King’s also has a Global Internships Programme that provides students the opportunity to go on internships all around the globe.

Another factor in my decision was the study abroad scheme King’s offers. Although I was not sure if I would go abroad for a semester or a year, it was reassuring to know that if I wanted to go, there was the opportunity. Thanks to King’s having partnerships with high quality universities from all around the world, you can go to places you only ever dreamed of!

London

My final reason for choosing King’s was its location: London! I truly believe London to be the greatest city on Earth, I am madly in love with it.  Besides the many academic and career opportunities the city has to offer, there is a wide array of events, concerts, exhibitions, and so on where you can relax, have fun, meet new people and learn about other cultures. London is full of life and is a city where the old and the new go hand in hand. It is a great place to be young and a great place to start your own, adult life.

I hope after reading my own reasons for choosing King’s, that it will you with making your decision I couldn’t be happier to have chosen King’s, I enjoy every minute of my studies here.

Best wishes,

Zsófia – BSc Economics and Management

Kings Student Portraits Dec 2016 at the  on the 14/12/2016. Photo: David Tett

 

5 reasons why I chose King’s- by Alana

Hi everyone, Alana here! Choosing university can be a really difficult decision. There’s so much to consider. That’s why I’ve decided to highlight my five main reasons for choosing to study here at King’s!

1)The course

The main reason for me choosing to come to King’s was my course. European Studies seemed to be such a unique and versatile programme that would allow me to shape my degree to what most interested me. The European Studies department is very reputable and I knew that would mean a high quality and interesting degree course. Studying something you truly love is key, it gives you so much motivation to work hard and you get real satisfaction from attending classes every day! King’s offers so many highly reputable degree programmes taught by the very best academics in the field.

2) Quality of teaching

I knew when choosing King’s that not only would I be able to study a subject I loved, but that I would be taught by those who are experts in their fields of study. King’s has high quality research, and the European and International studies department is a Jean Monnet centre of excellence. Having a good teacher can really make a difference, and if you are engaged, I find you enjoy classes much more and have more drive to succeed at what you’re studying!

3) International Reputation

 Another reason I was attracted to King’s was because of its international reputation. It’s one of the very best universities in the world, and consistently does well on international league tables. I knew that this international reputation would ensure a high quality degree for me, but also would enable me to be successful in the future, as going to a world class university opens so many doors for you when trying to build a career! Also, with King’s having such an international focus, I knew I would be able to meet and make connections with people from all over the world

4) Opportunities

With King’s being a top university, I knew that this would give me lots of opportunities throughout my degree. For example, its partnerships with universities all over the world means such a wide array of study abroad opportunities. This was a big factor in my decision for choosing King’s, as choosing the European Studies course meant that I could study at not only one, but two internationally-recognised universities!  There are also different awards you can get involved with at King’s, for instance I completed the King’s Leadership and Professional Skills award in my second year. I knew that these opportunities would allow me to develop my skills and confidence, it will also look great on my CV when I graduate.

5) London!

The final factor, of course, was having the chance to study in London! Not only did I want to study in this incredible city for academic and career opportunities,  I wanted to attend events, network and undertake work experience opportunities. I also liked the idea of living in London for my social life too! I knew that having the chance to live in the city for a few years was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse, it would make me more independent. I also knew I would be able to meet so many people and experience so many things; whether that’s visiting a museum, going to a new restaurant or bar or revising in the sun in Hyde Park in the summer!

I hope telling you my main reasons for choosing King’s helps you make your decision. I’m so glad I chose to come here, it has been such a great experience for me so far!

Best wishes,

Alana- BA European Studies (French Pathway)

Alana Roberts v2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life at King’s, by Gloria

Hi, Gloria here!

This month’s theme is Life at King’s and as my first year in King’s is briskly coming
to an end I thought I’d share my experiences with you, as they might be helpful when you’re making your decision to study at this lovely university.

Before I arrived at King’s I was quite nervous as it was a new experience, but once I arrived the King’s community quickly made me feel at ease, as I found myself among some of the most hospitable people I have ever met! Everyone at King’s is friendly and it’s easy to start up a conversation! There are tons of extracurricular societies to choose from – from video games to fencing to even societies based on nationality if you are feeling homesick! King’s allows you to fully expand on your interests and hobbies.

On the more academic side, my lecturers are truly inspiring as they are really passionate about their subject and about teaching, which definitely makes a difference when you have a 9am lecture! In my course in particular, War Studies, we constantly have guest lecturers visit, so seeing each one of their teaching styles and expertise has definitely helped me think about what I want to pursue in the future.

King’s also is in the best location. The Strand campus, where
most of my lectures are, is in the heart of London! It is such a lively beautiful area,
where I never tire from shopping, having lunch and catching up with with friends as there is always something new to try. Most students, including myself, spend most of their time outside of the lecture theater either in the library or in the King’s bar. Both are great, but obviously for different reasons!

The Maughan Library is just a 10 minute walk from the Strand campus (5 minute
run if you are rushing to finish a paper) and provides a healthy studying
environment suited for everybody as it is separated in different zones – if you like to
study in a group and discuss with friends there is a zone for you and if you like to
study by yourself in a quiet environment there is a zone for you as well!
The King’s bar, the Waterfront, is a favorite spot for many students as well. It is in the
Stand campus so you can rush there after your last lecture of the day. It offers food
and drinks on the cheap and it is full of King’s students. I’ve met some of my closest
friends there and I highly recommended it for first year students.

Overall, life at King’s is great and the university provides you with all the tools you
need to make your experience unforgettable. I hope you found my experiences
helpful and you make the right choice for you!
Best Wishes,
Gloria, BA War Studies

Gloria Trifonova

Accommodation Tips from Zsofia

Hi everyone! Zsofia writing!

I wanted to shared with you some information about accommodation, which will hopefully help you decide where you would prefer to live!

When you come to London to study, one of the most intimidating matters to sort out is where to live. There are many choices available and it is a huge decision for prospective students and their parents. Looking for a place to stay might feel nerve-wracking at first, but actually it is not as difficult as it seems. Essentially, there are three main types of accommodation options: King’s Residences, intercollegiate halls and private accommodation.

Living in a King’s Residence is undoubtedly a great way to make new friends from all across the university, and because you are surrounded by fellow first year students, there is always someone to talk to. King’s residences are generally very welcoming and safe and usually within walking distance or a short bus/tube ride from campus.

Intercollegiate halls are provided by the University of London, allowing you the opportunity to make friends from other universities in London. These halls offer catering (breakfast and dinner) which might be worth considering if you are not a big fan of spending time in the kitchen! These halls were designed to be as close to as many University of London institutions as possible, so they may be a bit further away from King’s campuses, although some are within walking distance.

Private accommodation is probably the best option if you want to live with a group of friends or your partner. It may also be the cheapest option as you can find places outside of Zone 1, although it may take longer to travel into university. Typically with private accommodation, bills are not included in the monthly rent, like it is with university residences. Most King’s students tend to live in private accommodation with friends in their second year or third year of study.

Personally, I live at a King’s Residence at Guy’s Campus called Wolfson House. I really enjoy living here, I have great flatmates and have a 24hr reception which makes you feel safe as you can always report problems should they arise. My accommodation is in a lovely area in London Bridge, which offers a wide range of restaurants, bars and shops. The nearest tube station is a 5 minute walk away, the Waterloo campus is within 25 minutes walking distance and the Strand campus is within 35-40 minutes walking distance.

Time is very precious when you are a student, so time spent travelling to university is something you want to keep to a minimum. Living within walking distance of campus means accommodation prices are most likely higher, but if you choose to live further out, it’s important to remember that the price of public transport can be expensive.

I think living in halls, either in a King’s Residence or an intercollegiate hall, is an experience you should not miss out on, the friendships formed at these places will last long after you graduate!

Best Wishes,

Zsofia- Economics & Management

Kings Student Portraits Dec 2016 at the  on the 14/12/2016. Photo: David Tett

Accommodation Tips from Alice

Hello offer holders!

As this months theme is accommodation, and applications for King’s Residences will soon be opening, I wanted to share with you some of my accommodation experiences.

Starting university may be the first time you’re living away from home and the first time you’re having to share a fridge with non-family members (trust me, it’s a learning curve!). The first few weeks living in accommodation will be a lot of fun and probably a bit overwhelming. Around a month into living in student accommodation, you start to see some homesick students booking trains to visit home, loaded with massive bags full of washing, on the hope that their mum will to do their laundry! It’s a big step moving away, so I hope I can give you some tips about making the most out of your home-away-from-home, as well as tips on applying for accommodation. I’ll also be sharing with you my own experience of living as a student in London.

When applying for accommodation there are a dizzying amount of choices. Accommodation halls will have a mix of freshers, postgraduate students, UK students, overseas students, sporty people, party people, people you’ll get on with and people you won’t. When applying for King’s accommodation, you’ll be able to list five preferences. It’s best to work through what is most important to you, for instance is costs or proximity more important?

On the King’s Residences website you can find facts and figures about each residence, and photos of the rooms online. Seeing these rooms in person though can give you a real ‘feel’ for the place, so if you’re able attend an offer holder event to view the rooms, I would recommend doing so.  Some of the deciding factors that helped me choose my accommodation was wanting to walk to university, to have my own bathroom and the desire to meet a mixture of people. The most important thing for me though was cost. I put my preferred choices as Stamford Street, Wolfson House and then intercollegiate University of London halls.

In my first year, I lived in International Hall, which is one of the many University of London halls. It was a 20-minute walk from campus located by Russell Square, with catered meals, a common room and friendly staff. I got to meet students from all across London that I would never have met otherwise, and my main group of friends were Masters students from UCL/Kings/Birkbeck/Courtald/LSE. Coming down to a cooked breakfast each morning and talking about anything from current affairs to art history to robotics was such an eye-opening experience. There was a halls committee too, who organised open mic nights, excursions and looked after our welfare, which gave a real sense of community. Staying in the University of London housing meant I was close to Senate House (University of London library), the Maughan Library and other areas like Camden and Covent Garden. There are eight intercollegiate University of London halls, so do have a look if you are interested in a mixed-university environment.

When applying for King’s Residences, I looked at how long the walk was to Strand campus, as I love walking in London and I’m not a big fan of the tube. In terms of walkable distances, Stamford Street Apartments is around 10 mins walk to Strand Campus and Moonraker Apartments are around a 25-30min walk. The residences have some great initiatives, such as BeActive (free sports classes) and Freshers Events, you’ll receive further information about this on your arrival. If you would like to hear more about life in residences, there is a blog about King’s residences

If you are planning to stay at home, you may be worrying about missing out on the social aspects of being a fresher, but accommodation is not the only way to meet people and I’ve had plenty of commuter friends come to halls parties with their friends. In London, it is a little different to institutions in other locations as not everyone is living on the same campus, so people come and go to their friends’ and have dinner or drinks at whoever’s place is closest to the library, the club or party, so you won’t miss out!

Best Wishes,

Alice- Political Economy

Alice Stretch

Accommodation Tips from Alana

Hi, Alana here!

I wanted to give you a few tips on accommodation!

First things first, moving to London can seem very daunting, both in terms of finances and the fact that it is such a big place. People often hear about how expensive it is to live in the city, but you really don’t have to worry, there are plenty of different accommodation options available to you. Living in London is honestly such a fantastic experience, every day feels so exciting and you become independent very quickly.

Choosing your accommodation wisely is very important. Most first year students tend to live in either King’s or intercollegiate residences. Living in university residences is an amazing experience, as you get to meet so many new people from every corner of the world, studying such a wide variety of subjects! I found that there was a real community atmosphere, and you could always find someone to talk to or go out with. King’s residences also have Resident Assistants, who are normally second or third year students. Not only do they organise social events throughout the year, but they are also available as a friendly face to talk to if you have any problems and need some advice. Take a look at the list of accommodation available on the King’s Residences webpage. During my first year I lived in Moonraker Point, so if you have any questions about this particular residence please don’t hesitate to ask me.

As well as King’s Residences, another option for students is to live in private accommodation. This is normally the preferred option for students in their second year onwards, however I knew many people who lived in private accommodation during their first year too. For help with finding somewhere, there’s a Facebook flatmate finder group which is full of King’s students advertising their accommodation for rent. With groups like this it is much easier to find private accommodation as the places posted are being advertised by King’s students!

A key factor when deciding on your accommodation is the location. London is huge, so you have many areas to choose from! There are many factors to consider when looking into accommodation, for instance do you prefer the hustle and bustle of central London, or would you prefer to be in a quieter area a little further out? Do you want to live in an area with vibrant night life, like Camden or Shoreditch? What is your monthly budget? You tend to get more for your money the further out of central London you go, but it depends on whether you would prioritise price or location. I would recommend weighing up all of these factors to see which is most important to you. This will hopefully help make your decision a little easier!

Best Wishes,

Alana- European Studies (French Pathway)

Alana Roberts v2