Student Life & Why You should Participate

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I believe I am paraphrasing Woody Allen when I am saying that 80 percent of life is just showing up.

Although I just had a discussion way too early in the morning in my kitchen regarding the exact extent to which this statement rings true, I am sure there is a lot of truth in it when you apply the sentiment to university life – especially the first few weeks!

The thought of studying in a big city can be daunting at times and I get that, possibly feeling lost in the anonymity of the crowds flooding the metropolis, and as strange as it might sound, the trick is to immerse yourself in it… the craze, the buzz, the pulse – hey, just dive right in. When you start your course you’re not all by yourself anyway! King’s in one way or another is an anchor, a community for you to make friends and even explore things outside of your field of study.

Find yourself in the heart of the city – make the most of your time at King’s!

King’s will throw a lot of event opportunities at you: department mixers, subject discussions, career workshops, sector insights talks, society events, you name it. Your social calendar (and I mean social in a very loose sense, after all social and academic / professional greatly overlap here) can be as full as you like and I really do encourage you to keep yourself busy! This is where Woody comes back in again: show up, that’s all I’m saying. Things will also calm down as term goes by, so it won’t always be as hectic as the first handful of weeks, but it’s a wonderful time window for you to meet lots and lots of new people and discover what uni life has to offer.

Even if socialising with people you have never met before isn’t your favourite thing to do, I still encourage you to give it a chance! Let’s say you attend a welcome drinks event hosted by your new department, these two scenarios are very likely to happen:

Option A: You are quite the extrovert and you spend the evening happily engaging with new peers, perfect!

Option B: You feel a bit alone in this unfamiliar situation, but guess what, you are definitely not the only person who feels this way, so spot your allies at the event. You can bond over mutual perceived awkwardness. Oh, and it’s always a smart move to congregate around the snacks table I’d say!

Keep an open mind and be curious!

Student societies in particular can be such a vital part of your time at King’s. I remember even going to a KCL Folk Society meet-up in my first year, which didn’t go that well, since I’m neither very familiar with lots of folk tunes, nor particularly good at side reading music. But hey, I found out that wasn’t the right fit for me. However, I had a fantastic time going to events organised by the Film Society, or the King’s Players Improv group. I even got to participate in open mic nights and other musical events organised by the King’s Record and those are genuinely some of my favourite memories! A lot of my friends also got to travel with the societies they’re in as well and not just sports based societies, as the Ukulele Society also went abroad too.

Bottom line line is, as time goes by you’ll find your people, you’ll figure out how you want to spend your time. But the best way to find out is to give it an honest shot. Like Woody said, 80 percent is just showing up, and that is really something very, very doable!

Food Glorious Food (Part 2)

Welcome back to the second part of this miniseries, where I once again attempt to unleash my inner food blogger by giving you some suggestions for eating in London. I’ve learnt from experience not to keep a flock of hungry readers waiting, so I’ll skip the chit chat and cut to the chase!

Anyone who has spent any amount of time with me knows better than to let me choose restaurants during group outings, as I’ve got an obsession with burgers that’s bordering on being mildly unhealthy. It also probably doesn’t help that many burger joints here are incredibly student friendly, such as Byron and GBK which are both close to the Waterloo Campus. The latter even has a dedicated app which rewards you with free milkshakes, burgers and sides if you complete their challenges like visiting different branches or trying out several milkshake flavours.

If you’re feeling a tad bit more adventurous, you could head over to Lord Nelson in Southwark to try out their award-winning burgers, complete with a generous helping of potato wedges and salads all at a student price. Speaking of your privileges as a student, don’t forget to flash your student ID/ UNiDAYS account at the till in McDonalds – you’ll get a complimentary cheeseburger or McFlurry with any purchase of a set meal. In fact, just flash your card anywhere you go as you’ll soon realise that the most unexpected places have special deals for students!

NUS & UNiDAYS

Moving on, I’ll shift the limelight to several Malaysian restaurants that do a great job at quenching my sporadic cravings for home food. Roti King near Euston dishes up the best Roti Canai that I have tasted in London, and their Teh Tarik is top notch as well. The former is a type of flatbread that’s typically dipped in curry, whereas the latter is our national tea with a characteristic frothy top. In my opinion, C&R in Chinatown serves the best Nasi Lemak here – this is fragrant rice, steamed with coconut milk and served with chili paste, anchovies, cucumbers and other ingredients.

Nasi lemak & Teh tarik

Malaysia’s national dish & beverage                    Nasi lemak & Teh tarik

Staying on the topic of Asian cuisine, EatTokyo near the Strand Campus is currently my go-to restaurant for great Japanese food. Their quick service and reasonable pricing make it a viable option for lunch if you’re based at Strand for the day. If your break duration permits, you could make your way to Dozo in Soho which offers a heavily discounted lunch menu on weekdays. Ramen lovers should definitely try out Shoryu and Kanada Ya – their broths are rather different so it’ll be up to you to determine which one appeals to you more!

Other notable student discounts include the ones offered by Leon throughout the day, and Itsu after 3pm. Some Itsu and Wasabi branches even feature a half-price offer near their closing times, so be sure to watch out for those! Furthermore, your NUS card will help you get more bang for your buck at Pizza Express and Pizza Hut, the former of which has whopping discounts of up to 40%. If you need a pick-me-up at the start of the week, head over to My Old Dutch for their aptly named “Monday Madness” offer. Their pancakes are positively delectable!

And that’s it! This is literally all I can write before my entire keyboard gets inundated by saliva, so you’ll have to do a bit of exploring on your own to scout for other great eateries. A helpful tip would be to use Yelp, TripAdvisor and other apps to narrow down places that have garnered good reviews by other patrons. Now go forth and fill your tummy, but just remember to use your good ol’ frying pan once in a while!

Living in London: Accommodation

Anuthida - Accommodation blog post - June 2017.pic1

Where you live when you’re at university has a great impact on your experience – all the more if you’re an international student. Before I matriculated at King’s, I was particularly eager to find out more about the types of accommodation offered because halls were to be my first ever home away from home. Hopefully reading about my time in King’s residences and my experiences in different private accommodations help you gain a better understanding of where you might want to spend your three years in London. Continue reading

Chinese New Year Away from Home

long distance reunion dinnerAuthor: Jaycie

My name is Jaycie Chan and I’m from Malaysia. I am currently a second year LLB Law student at King’s College London. Chinese New Year is always the most important festival of the year for the Chinese. In Malaysia, we usually have the school holidays for a week and this is the opportunity for everyone to go back to their hometown to visit their friends and family. Continue reading

My Study Abroad experience

NYC snow 1

Author: Anuthida

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? Continue reading

Winter Wonderland in the capital

Oxford street 2Author: Edith

About a week ago, I was still in my ripped jeans and t-shirts and could pass without a warm coat but now, as it’s the 8th of December, it seems London has put a spin on things. If you, like me, can’t wait a full 24 days to finish your advent calendar, will eat all of the chocolate provided in an advent calendar with your friend late at night as soon as it hits the first of December. Apart from the endless chocolate, whether it be in a mug warmed up in the microwave or just an entire block to yourself, you’ll give yourself the excuse that “Well, it’s basically Christmas”.  Continue reading

Sky Garden-ing

Author: Maria

You must be wondering, why is she dedicating a whole post to one place only? Well, if you have not been to that place then you will understand why I am writing this blog post (by the end of this post you will be definitely tempted to go to there), and if you have been there then you will definitely understand why I had to dedicate a whole post to it.

Sky Garden is the place I literally tell all students to go to. Well, actually I don’t really tell Photo 4 them, it is more like me commanding them to go there ASAP (I am joking, I wouldn’t be that rude…). But it is true, I always tell people they should go to sky garden because it is one of my favorite spots in London, where you can enjoy an amazing view for free… (Not like the Shard…Although I still believe if you have the opportunity to go, GO (as you can see I am quite Photo 3 obsessed with views). But you can also stay warm, enjoy a cup of coffee/tea or even mimosa, and just relax. Who would have thought that an urban jungle has it all?

For the three years I have been in London, I must say I go every year more than twice. I think it is definitely a perfect get away from the crowded London streets without having to go too far away (only 35 floors up). And yes, even if you are scared of heights, I think you wouldn’t be that scared because it is safe. I have taken all of my friends there, my cousin and my mother, and they all have enjoyed it so much. So, if you have a friend coming over, or you want to impress your parents of how well you know London, or even if you want to take someone on a date but you don’t have the money, Sky Garden is the perfect spot.

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Only some things you do need to be aware of: 1) you have to book 3 weeks in advance…some might say it is a shame, but you will get in for free so I think it is alright. 2) There are, I think, 2 restaurants and a coffee/bar upstairs, (Restaurants need to be booked, coffee/bar no). 3)Take your jacket, because although its warm, you still have the ‘terrace area’ where you definitely can feel the wind freezing your bones. 4) DO NOT FORGET TO TAKE A CAMERA, I-phones are acceptable, but if you really want that perfect Profile Picture, I think you would need a high-quality camera to help you out ;) 5) Please take your ID, you will need to show your tickets at the door. Although the ticket says: ‘bring your IDs’, my friends have forgotten about it… and I had to wait upstairs all alone for them…thank god for the view or else I’d be bored out of my mind.

Photo 2 skygarden view

So, Yes, I literally wrote a whole post on why you should visit Sky Garden and I do not regret it. Have I made you tempted to go there?

My Summer Bucket List

Author: Maria

So my previous post was about my internship in London during the summer. Yes, obviously I have to work during day time, but that doesn’t mean I cannot enjoy London’s beauty during the summer.

I am going to make this post quick because during my internship in London I told myself that I would do 10 things (although I did more of them) in London during the summer, and I thought it would be amazing to share these spots/ideas with you so you can actually think about doing it as well. Some of these are no brainers, but trust me, sometimes living in the city and studying makes you forget about certain fun things that you can do at any time!

So here is my list:

1. Bike around Hyde Park and end up in the Serpentine Galleries – check the pavilion every year there’s a new sculpture or ‘huge architecture thing there’. This year this man actually asked me what I thought of it, the question caught me so off-guard that I said: ‘if we lived in an imaginary world this would probably be my home’… I literally have no idea why I said that.

Maria - Serpentine - My Summer Bucket list

2.  ROOFTOPS!! There are so many (From the famous Sky-Garden, to Queen of Hoxton and to the new place I went with my friends the other day: Pergola On the Roof (Quick its open from May to August 29th! So if you have time GO THERE) and you can drink, eat, drink, and see the beautiful sight! And art on the walls. – Also, time out offers a few ‘cheaper tickets’ for people to go watch movies on rooftops – it is QUITE AWESOME, and actually a really cool thing to do!)

3. This one is not in London, but still, it was on my list: Travel to Cambridge or Oxford. It’s cheap nearby and you can always spend the day in a smaller town and enjoy the perks of less expensive food, beautiful sight-seeing and just a day out of the city.

maria & friend Cambridge - My Summer Bucket list

4. Want to go Clubbing? CARGO is pretty cool – from its terrace to the two dancefloor spaces inside. I think the terrace is worth everything, you get to hear the music but still be able to talk to your friends if you are not that into clubbing. Two spots in one place.

5. Summer Exhibitions in London – yes, some are expensive, but have you seen the one in the Royal Academy? If you are a student you get a discount, and it is definitely worth it! You get to see some modern contemporary art that you have not seen before.

6. The typical Brick Lane Sunday market, Camden Lock Market, Broadway Market, Borough Market, – Spitafields. I think I covered almost all of them – oh yes, Portobello Market and if you haven’t watched the movie Notting Hill watch it, aside from Hugh Grant being a total bae, the movie definitely shows the blue door of his book store which YOU can totally see when you go to Notting Hill.

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7. Theatre: I am a fan of theatre so I went to watch my old time fav – Les Miserables – indeed I was miserable afterwards of how good it was, and how I wish I could sing/act like that. WORTH IT. Of course you don’t have to go see this one, but there are plenty of shows worth seeing, and London is the place for theatre, music, art.

8. Breakfast Club. Woke up twice at 6:00 am, to make sure I could be first and have my beautiful breakfast as soon as the restaurant opened at 8:00 am in Soho. Call me crazy, but that avocado on toast is delicious, and those blueberry pancakes were definitely worth my beauty sleep.

9. Almost done with the list. Do you like Jazz? Comedy? I live literally next to Camden, so when me and my flat-mates are bored and have nothing to do, we just go to Camden and either go watch the comedy club there, or go to the Jazz Café. Plus, sometimes we get lost in between those restaurants and the market…

10. Here is my last thing and definitely worth it – Aside from my internship I also work as waitress and sometimes my shift ends up really late. However, there are some perks to it, walking and riding the bus in the Center of London at night is the best. You see the city lights, without the people and the stress of the day. It is only you and your music, the breeze and those city lights that make London such a beautiful city to live in.

So here are my tips for you and I hope you enjoy them! Do you have any for me?