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

 

Interview with Dr Ye Liu, Department of International Development

Hi Everyone!

Louise here, student in the Department of International Development.This week I interviewed Dr Ye Liu, a lecturer in Sociology of Development, in the Department of International Development here at King’s. I found out about Ye’s profession and research, and more about what prospective undergraduate students can expect when they come to King’s!

Read my full interview below:

  1. What inspired you to go into academia?

It’s to do with intellectual curiosity. There are a lot of things I’ve tried to understand for instance I’m still very interested in social inequality in China and I don’t understand why people don’t care about it. For example, people feel inequality is a part of modernisation particularly among groups of rural students and citizens. I found their opinions more conservative than people in urban areas. But ultimately, it’s more about my curiosity for the world.

  1. What are you currently researching/ have you recently published anything?

Last year I published my first monograph and it’s called Higher Education, Meritocracy and Inequality in China and I published it with Springer. My current research is about the One Child generation and I look at women’s transition from education to work and to family. I will conduct 45 in-depth individual interviews this April with women from one child families. I will try to find out this cohort’s aspirations and challenges in this still highly patriarchal society.

  1. What IDI events can prospective students look forward to?

We organise regular student events. For example, we invited activists from a refugee network to talk about how we can support refugees and their education. We also organise social events that would provide students with the opportunities for internships. Last year I organised an event for Muktangan charity which provided educational opportunities for women and girls from deprived areas in Mumbai. We recruited students from the UK and Muktangan Trust in Mumbai. They used their own knowledge and skills to train their local girls there and they also helped to develop a curriculum so the whole community, particularly girls, can benefit from the support.

  1. International Development is a very multi-disciplinary course. What is your favourite aspect of a course and why?

It has to be sociology. Sociology still fascinates me. It’s also highly inter-disciplinary for example you can be an economist and a sociologist or you can be a sociologist with a strong political approach.

  1. Do you have any advice to give prospective students?

To try and enjoy King’s and to try to be connected in the King’s community. We have so many resources here through friendship and through student association which will enrich your student life as well as your later professional life. We also want students to enjoy the King’s Alumni network so that they realise they are a part of the King’s community now and in the future and they can continue to benefit from our rich network.

Read Ye Liu’s King’s biography page here: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/idi/People/Academic-staff/Ye-Liu/Biography.aspx

Best Wishes,

Louise- International Development

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

Scholarships & Bursaries

Congratulations on your offer from King’s College London – I hope you are excited about starting in September!

It’s Alice here, I’m a second year Political Economy BSc student and Digital Ambassador for Political Economy Department, within the School of Social Science and Public Policy. I am currently on a semester studying abroad in Asia, but bringing you all the tips about King’s and London.

Although you have a final term of school, looming exams and then a long summer, September will come around all too quickly – believe me. So while those of you in your final year at college may have a lot of pressure at the moment (although I imagine there’s some of you taking a gap year in exotic countries too), if you have fifteen minutes, do look into what I’m writing about today: Scholarships and Bursaries.

The best way to prepare for university is to prioritise what you have control over; the financial, course-based and practical aspects. Once you are more confident in those areas, it will ease ‘the big step up to university’ which includes finding friends, adapting to a new environment and any other issues you may be contemplating (hopefully these will be covered on this blog over the next few months and if not, do get in touch)!

Firstly, finances. Everybody knows that London is not cheap and being a student here is no exception. However, London is an extraordinary place to study where the opportunities far outweigh a potentially diminishing bank balance. King’s recognises that talented students come to London to access everything the university and the city has to offer, which is why it has such a comprehensive range of Scholarships and Bursaries.

Scholarships and Bursaries are not something to leave until September – please do investigate your options now.

I applied for the Desmond Tutu Scholarship in March before I began at King’s and I received the £1,000 scholarship in my first year as well as having a black-tie dinner each Christmas. This dinner is attended by the other Desmond Tutu Scholars from each year group, the senior staff of King’s faculties and also an inspirational public figure who represents the scholarship’s values in their keynote address. The values of the scholarship are ‘academic excellence’ and ‘service to society’ and I had to demonstrate these through the 1,000 word essay application, as well as my Curriculum Vitae. To find out details about how to apply, see  here. The renowned leader Desmond Tutu is an alum of King’s, so it’s certainly not a bad name for the CV either.

The second bursary I have received is the King’s Living Bursary, which is available to “every full-time home first degree student who has been means-tested with a financial income assessment of £42,875 or less”, with a maximum amount of £1,600 (split between payments in November and February) to be spent on costs whilst studying.

Not all Scholarships and Bursaries are for your London living costs, you can also be given money towards studying abroad! King’s has some of the best study abroad opportunities, and has a particularly extensive range of summer programmes.

Last summer I studied in Geneva and had the full two-week course costs paid by King’s, this semester I am studying at Yonsei University in Seoul (South Korea) and I achieved the Broadening Horizons Award, which is one of the two overarching study abroad awards at King’s, the other being the Santander Award.

Study Abroad Awards are a great help and cover any related costs; flights, language lessons or even novelty souvenirs (if you want). The application included three 150-word answers of how the award would benefit your international exchange, but this will all be explained in study abroad briefings once you start at King’s.

By sharing my experiences, I hope I have highlighted that King’s is here to help, that these Scholarships and Bursaries are within your reach and they can cover a whole range of activities. I have been writing from a UK-Home student perspective, but please go through and browse the Fees & Funding webpage to check your eligibility for what’s available.

If you have any questions about this post or King’s in general contact me by email on sspp-student@kcl.ac.uk  and join the Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy UG Offer Holders Group on Facebook for more updates.

Best Wishes,

Alice – Political Economy

Alice Stretch

Why I Chose King’s- Paridhi

Hi everyone! Paridhi here, current BA English Language and Communication student here at King’s. I wanted to share with you why I chose to study at King’s!

For me, choosing which university to attend was just a little stressful, primarily because of the fact that I was an international student and nowhere even close to London, let alone Europe.

In fact, I was a few (five) geographical time-zones away, and making a decision about where I was going spent the next three years of my life without ever having stepped foot in any of the places I was considering. The future was a foreign country – literally!

In the end, I decided to choose King’s because of the following reasons:

  • The course. I wanted a course that would cover the basics of how language worked and still let me focus on the aspects of language that I truly loved. I also wanted some flexibility in case I felt like changing my mind, later. King’s programme on linguistics had practically everything I was looking for in a course, from specific topics (such as modules on social media, like Twitter and Facebook) to the sort of study required (primarily independent study) – it was, and is, perfect!
  • The location. I wanted to live in London and get to know London properly, and the best way to do that seemed to be by studying in the heart of the city, which is where my campus, the Waterloo campus, at King’s happened to be.
  • The opportunities. Numerous factors about the university, including the location and the alumni network, for instance, led me to (rightly) conclude that King’s would, time after time, introduce me to new opportunities.
  • The support. King’s has numerous scholarships that you can apply for, and I was fortunate enough to be granted the Desmond Tutu Scholarship, which was not only a monetary relief but also resulted in a really worthwhile experience that let me meet other students and individuals interested in the service of society.I don’t only mean monetary support, though – at the time of my application, I was struggling with my long-standing disability, epilepsy, and was worried that it would get in the way of my academic achievements. King’s, however, seemed like it would be accommodating, thanks to services such as their Disability Advisory Service.
  • The reputation. King’s is an internationally renowned university, and that does help when it comes to the practical matters of future employment. Who wouldn’t want a university like that on a résumé?

I was proven right about my choice on pretty much my first day at university. I found the places I’d be frequently visiting over the coming years, and met the people who would go on to become my closest friends and even future flatmates!

Paridhi, BA English Language and Communication

at the  on the 14/12/2016. Photo: David Tett

Welcome Social Science & Public Policy Undergraduate Offer Holders 2017

A warm welcome to all Social Science & Public Policy undergraduate offer holders, to our Faculty Student Blog page.

Over the coming months, we’ll be updating this page with blogs from our Subject Ambassadors, who are current undergraduate students here at King’s. Our Subject Ambassadors are here to share their student experiences with you,  let you know more about life as a King’s student, and to answer any questions you may have about studying at King’s.

If you have a question you would like to ask, please email our Subject Ambassadors on sspp-student@kcl.ac.uk, and they’ll be happy to answer your query.

In the meantime, feel free to browse through our past posts, and keep an eye out on this page for new blog posts!

Getting ready to come to uni – what I wish I’d known before I started

Here is a little list of things I wish somebody told me, or at least repeated to me 10 times.

Accommodation:

  • Pack up some pictures to remind yourself of your friends during hard moments (because you will be homesick)
  • Some decoration to make your student room feel like is home? But it’s OK if you don’t because your flatmates will probably add some stuff too decorating with them can actually be a great way to bond!

Friends:

  • It’s alright not to stick with your flatmates
  • It’s alright to change group of friends if you realise they don’t correspond to you, even after 2 months! Don’t be scared!
  • People will be scary and try to impress during seminars, but they’re as frightened as you don’t worry. Everyone is playing the same game of act-the-least-lost-and-frightened at the beginning of the year.
  • Your friends will be your family, they will bring you meds when you’ll get freshers’ flu

StrandCampus4413x276

Money:

  • King’s as a major international university in the centre of London tends to have people who can definitely afford more than instant noodles every day, so don’t trust the Tab or 9gag too much
  • A lot of people have part-time jobs and it’s cool to take one to have something outside of uni, especially if it pays for all your fun
  • Opening a bank account is not hard at all, don’t stress, just go to a bank and tell them you want to open one. Easy.

Hobbies:

  • You will probably enrol in loads of clubs/societies and drop many during the year: that’s fine
  • You can even create your own club if it doesn’t exist yet
  • You’ll make amazing friends in it because you’ll share a passion

London:

  • Great multicultural place that will make you think again your: “I’m a third culture kid” self
  • Your English flatmate will love cooking chicken tikka and chilli con carne while your French flatmate will be all about that wine and cheese
  • Deals are everywhere, look out for them!
  • Slow walking is forbidden as well as standing on the left in the escalators (trust me you’ll totally agree once you’re a Londoner haha)
  • Wearing a cool-artsy jacket is a great conversation starter.

King’s

  • Go and see your personal tutor for advice about assignments even if you don’t have any questions or are pretty sure you’re doing well, because he can only make it better
  • Apply for study abroad if you can
  • You will never see all the rooms in the Maughan Library because it’s so big

Voilà, that was a little bit of before uni basics, and I know this won’t make a difference straight away, but as a final year student I assure you, they’re true, so please read them to yourself A LOT and don’t forget to relax and have fun, because the uni years are the years where you’re old enough to be independent and young enough to not care about important adult stuff (like tax).

Anysia, BA Politics

Preparations for my Final Year

An often repeated phrase at university is that ‘your final year is the decisive one’. As I begin my preparations for undertaking it in September, I am able to understand the undoubted truth of this – that this final year will be the toughest yet and hopefully the most fulfilling.

Looking ahead, the project which looms largest is my dissertation which should be the showpiece of a BA; an assignment requiring deep focus upon an area of profound personal interest. Working out precisely what this area will be has been an intense preoccupation of mine over the summer so far –  for the simple reason that my choice of topic now will very likely tip the balance of marks overall. The answer of course is to figure out precisely what you have been passionate about over the course of your studies and chase it; something which is easier said than done. For me personally, this has been the military culture of the Ottoman Empire – a subject which has caused many raised eyebrows among my friends. ‘It sounds interesting,’ said one, ‘but how are the Ottomans really relevant, today?’ I would be lying if I was not also worried that I was looking too far back into an area obscure even by the standards of War Studies.

StudentsMaughanStudying-Cropped-425x280

Yet the consoling factor for me is that whenever I cast my mind over something to read or look back over my notes, it is always the Ottomans which I find myself returning to. Indeed, there is another factor to consider when choosing your topic – it isn’t so much whether the topic itself is linked directly to current events or career prospects but the skills you have demonstrated in completing it. To take an example, my elder sister recently graduated from the University of Edinburgh with an MA in Social History, having completed a dissertation on early modern witchcraft. In her subsequent job interviews, however, the topic of witchcraft itself was not under discussion; rather her potential employers were concerned with the details of her project planning and research methodology. The message, then, is that there really isn’t much point in worrying about how obscure and narrow your topic is – completing a 10,000-word project on that subject is the challenge and your capacity to fulfil it will be respected.

This brings me on to another, and in some ways more worrying, aspect of my final year – what will I be doing afterwards? When asked about my career plans, my usual refrain had been that I was looking to enter journalism. Now, of course, it is the time for me to ensure these plans have more substance to them. With some volunteering experience with Amnesty International and the Remain Great, Remain In campaign behind me, I am aware of the possibilities of gaining work experience in London – as well as the limitations. The competition for internships and placements is naturally fierce but the only response is to simply keep applying with an optimistic stubbornness. The experience of my fellow KCL students demonstrates that it is not impossible, by any means, to gain exciting work experience at my level.

As September draws closer, however, I am acutely conscious that what awaits me is probably the largest workload I have yet experienced. Thankfully, I know that the advantage of doing a subject that you are genuinely passionate about is that you are able to wake up every day with a desire to learn more, cheesy as that sounds.

Henry, War Studies

What am I doing this summer?

After the summer festivals and the end of the year trips to some sunny places like Portugal with your friends, it is time to start your internship or work. A key step for students during the summer is to get work experience. Not only will it embellish your CV but it will help you realise whether or not you really want to work in that field later. For my part I am an undergraduate research fellow at King’s with one of my lecturers, a research assistant.

I must say it is really different from any other internship you would get in private firms or charities. It is a one-on-one internship where you will mostly only interact with your lecturer. You can imagine how awful it is for me not being able to socialise and talk to new people in my working place. Very different from big summer internship schemes where they organise all sorts of events like nights out. Nevertheless King’s is very lively during the summer thanks to the summer school and I have 3 friends who do the same thing as me with other lecturers so we still manage to grab lunch and coffee together! Plus just think how cool it is to take part in a research paper that during the year you might read but instead of just reading it you helped write it!?

emea-cs-kings-college-london-gallery05

I suggest, if you have the opportunity, to do the same thing as me in your first or second year! Third year is alright but not as useful because the one and main perk you will get out of this internship is the bond you will create with your teacher. Mine took me out for lunch so we could share our passions in life and our plans! And trust me our lecturers are actually humans too and have other interests than what they work on… We tend to forget that don’t we?

For a French student who’s always known a rigid French school system where you never interact with teachers outside of class it is a big thing for me. My lecturer offered his help in choosing my Masters as it is the next big step in my education.  He also gave me advice for my future dissertation although he is not my supervisor. Getting to know someone who will be able to write you a superb letter of recommendation and guide you through the educational jungle is a plus you should not overlook.  As I said you should take this internship as an opportunity to obviously learn more about research and the field you will tackle but also you should make the most out of it to build a meaningful friendship with your teacher because having real academic support is very important.

That’s what I’ve taken from this internship, each person will probably have a different view, but all I can give as a general piece of advice is do look for work experience or internships during summer because as a King’s student you are not an ordinary person who might sit watching Netflix through the summer, you are a curious person who is capable of getting out of your comfort zone, and put yourself out there to be a better person on your CV and in real life.

Anysia, BA Politics

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting University

To start studying at university can feel like entering a completely new world, and suddenly there are a billion different things that you are supposed to deal with. But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be as hard as it might sound!

  1. Starting university usually means moving to a new city where you don’t know anyone and most people are very eager to meet as many new friends as possible straight away. This can be quite nerve-wracking, even if it is also fun and enjoyable to get to know new people. However, there is no need to panic if you don’t meet your best friend the first day. There are so many ways to meet people at university: at lectures, halls, sport clubs, societies, and other events. Just try to be open and say yes to anything that sounds exciting. And remember, it’s okay to spend a night in bed with Netflix too!
  2. London is a massive city, which can be quite daunting and stressful. When I first arrived I tried to avoid the metro as much as I could, as everyone was moving so fast in such a compact space. However, I made sure to have extra time whenever I needed to use the metro, so that I could take it easy and didn’t need to run for a train. Soon enough I got used to it, and now I take the metro all the time.blog 2
  3. When it comes to your actual studies, one very useful thing to find out when you start are the rules regarding participation at lectures and seminars. Some lecturers take attendance whereas the majority don’t, and at some seminars you cannot miss more than one or two before it will start really affecting your grade. Several students from my year failed their modules because they had missed too many seminars, despite getting good grades on their coursework. Also, you wouldn’t want to miss seminars anyway as this is the place where everyone gets the chance to ask questions and share their views – really useful!
  4. I was absolutely lost among all the reading we had to do during my first few months at university. I felt like I didn’t follow what was going on, and that I couldn’t use what I just read. Eventually I learnt that with most readings, all the key ideas will be shared in the introduction and then repeated in the conclusion. So, if you have 10 books to get through in a week, my advice now is to read those bits first, and take your time to understand it, and then look through the rest of the text for more extended explanations. In addition, write down the name of the author when you take notes – this will come very handy when you write essays or prepare for your exams!
  5. As mentioned, I felt that London was way too big when I first moved here, and everything seemed to be extremely far away. I spent almost all my time either at university or at home, and couldn’t really absorb the rest of the city. First of all, that’s OK. When arriving in a new city, it is important to get to know the areas where you will live, work or study, as that’s a way to make yourself feel at home. Now, after almost a year of living here, I still think London is huge, but have learnt my way around a bit more through exploring new parts of the city, and that makes the city feel “smaller” and more homely.

Good luck with starting uni! It might be scary at first, but you will grow so much and won’t regret it!

Emelie, International Relations

5 Budget Tips for new Londoners

Anyone considering moving to London would have heard that “London is SO expensive”. Still, it is one of the most popular cities to study at university in. For students on a tight budget, there are still plenty of ways to get around and make the most of London. Here are some tips!

  1. You are likely to spend whole days in the library, at least during the exam period, and one of the best ways of saving money in this case is to bring packed lunches. Constantly buying lunch and others snacks can end up costing more money than expected, and therefore any homemade pasta salads, sandwiches and other treats will definitely save you valuable pounds. It might sound tricky, but all you need is a few extra minutes in the morning to prepare it, or make a big batch of your favourite dish and have one box already done for each day of the week!
  2. Despite London being expensive, there is actually a vast amount of free stuff going on around the city all the time. Time Out (http://www.timeout.com/london) is a great page to use in order to get to know all the latest events. In addition, King’s have guest lectures and other events several times a week, and many societies can get free or discounted access to try out different things. As soon as you start looking, you’ll notice that there are free activities everywhere!

blog pic 1To the left: Last year I went to a lecture with UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon, and only had to pay half price on the ticket as I am a King’s student.

To the right: a light show called Lumiere took place in London in January, and was free for everyone to enjoy.

  1. Your student card is your best friend when it comes to saving money. Just by showing it, you can get 10% off in most stores, entrance fees and even at restaurants. Remember to always ask, as some shops might not have any signs regarding the student discount. If you want to get even more discounts, you can get the NUS card (http://www.nus.org.uk/en/nus-extra/) which can make your Spotify subscription and Amazon purchases cheaper!
  2. Transport is one of the most expensive things in London, and it’s hard to avoid the costs. As a student, you will get a discount on any tickets, but it’s still not cheap. I usually try to take the bus in rush hour, as the Underground price increases at this time (if you use pay-as-you-go) whereas the bus costs the same any time of the day. Also, the bus is generally much more comfortable than the sweaty metro. However, I would also recommend to actually walk as much as you can. You might live too far away to walk to university every day, but walking is a great way to explore London, as well as get some exercise and save money!
  3. Last but not least, go to the Fresher’s Fair in the beginning of the year! Not only will you get information about all the societies at King’s, but the amount of free things you get will last a long time. I didn’t buy a single pen throughout my entire first year, as I managed to pick up so many during the fair. Besides that, I also got notebooks, coasters, lots of snacks and other various items that might come in useful when you’re living on a budget.

Emelie, International Relations