When I was applying for undergraduate programmes, something that really attracted me to King’s was the emphasis it placed on the study abroad programme it offers. I know, I know – being from Singapore, wasn’t attending university overseas already studying abroad? Indeed it is, but who wouldn’t jump at the chance to experience living and studying in two vastly different cities? King’s, and especially the Liberal Arts department that I am a part of, highly values the benefits such a global experience can bring, for example, a more international world view and the chance to study at another leading university besides King’s. Its commitment to this belief is highlighted in its incentives to encourage students to go on Study Abroad: subsidized tuition fees for the entire academic year (even though I only studied abroad for one semester), only weighing academic grades whilst on Study Abroad on a pass-fail scale (yay to a stress-free semester!), and a very painless application process (all I had to do was complete an online application and make sure I had an average grade of at least 60%). And so when I applied to King’s, I wrote about wanting to study abroad in New York City in one of my personal statements.
In January 2016, I found myself flying to New York. Never mind that I had a Political Economy exam a few days before flying and so was only left with two days to pack my life in London up into one suitcase, or that I still had three essays to complete whilst in NYC. I was bubbling with excitement at the prospect of spending an entire semester in one of my favourite cities, attending an insanely cool college – The New School (home to Parsons School of Design, where Project Runway was originally filmed).
The New School, like King’s, is very much a city university, with NYC as its campus; however, its academic style is totally different. In my opinion, King’s is rooted in tradition – it’s an established institution in academia, surrounded by historic sites like the Royal Courts of Justice that are often utilised in classes. Whereas The New School prides itself on being unorthodox and progressive, and its location on Fifth Avenue certainly places you right in the middle of the fast-paced chaos that characterizes Manhattan. At King’s, I focused on international relations; at The New School, I supplemented my research area by taking up modules about the Arab Uprisings, Migrant Crisis and Chinese Politics – and decided to have fun by picking a journalism class and an DJ-ing module too (I learnt that I was not meant to be a DJ, and should just stick to politics)! Study Abroad is not only an opportunity for you to see more of the world, but also a chance to enhance your learning.
I wouldn’t hesitate recommending going on Study Abroad if you have the option to – my university experience wouldn’t be the same without it, and returning to King’s in my third year felt all the more like a sweet reunion and homecoming.