Why You Should be An Ambassador! (Part. 1)

When I first heard about the Student Ambassador Scheme at King’s, it was just my second week in London and I was still very much a stranger struggling to get my bearings in the city. I had quickly brushed away the seemingly incredulous idea of me applying for the scheme until one of my friends urged me to push past my insecurities and give the application a shot.

Looking back now from my vantage point in 2018, I can’t even begin to imagine what my university life would have been like if I hadn’t signed up to be an ambassador in my first year. Through the numerous tasks that I had been appointed to over the years, I’ve grown so much as an individual and forged friendships that I know I’ll cherish beyond my graduation day.

Meet new friends through the ambassador scheme!

Meet new friends through the ambassador scheme!

In this blog post, I’ll attempt to do what my friend did for me all those years ago — to hopefully nudge you towards filling in that application form and starting your university journey in the best way possible. To kick things off, I’ll briefly explain what the ambassador scheme is. There are five branches of the programme, each specialising in a different area such as the university’s outreach efforts, guided tours of the campuses and subject/course-specific work.

These branches basically dictate what jobs you’re eligible for, so for instance, a campus tour guide will predominantly deliver tours as opposed to engaging in widening participation efforts. There are a myriad of opportunities to work throughout the year, so it’s a fantastic way to earn some pocket money in between lectures or even during the summer break! With all that cleared up, let’s jump right into why you should be a King’s ambassador:

1. A world of opportunities await you!

From the jobs listed on the portal, you’re free to choose whichever ones you’re available for, so that means every ambassador’s experience is unique. Here are just a few examples of what I’ve been involved in so far:

  • Events at King’s

Times Higher Education organised the 2017 World Academic Summit at King’s, and it was an incredible honour being in the same venue as many distinguished leaders in the education sector. Adding to the thrill of it all was finding out the new university rankings as they were announced in real time! Equally humbling was my involvement in the launch of the King’s Business School last year in Bush House, which you might know as the former BBC World headquarters.

Furthermore, I’ve been invited to play the violin at the Desmond Tutu Scholarship Dinner for the last two years! Phyllida Lloyd, the director of the film adaptation of Mamma Mia! and The Iron Lady was the keynote speaker at the event last year, but I was glad to have not been informed of her attendance until after my performance!

Me playing the violin at the Desmond Tutu Scholarship event.

Me playing the violin at the Desmond Tutu Scholarship event.

  • Open Day tasks

King’s takes its open days very seriously, as the university is committed to providing the most intuitive and informative experience for its future students. Dozens of ambassadors will be on campus to perform a multitude of tasks, such as representing their faculties to answer course-specific questions, delivering campus and residential tours, and giving general directions.

One of my most memorable roles during an open day was leading a live streaming session on Facebook. As an international student, this was especially satisfying for me as I understood the frustration of not being able to attend an open day due to the sheer cost of travelling abroad. Besides delivering a tour of Guy’s Campus, I also interviewed members of staff from various departments on topics such as admission guidelines, study abroad opportunities and accommodation details.

Immerse yourself in the rich history of King’s through delivering campus tours!

Immerse yourself in the rich history of King’s through delivering campus tours!

  •  Assist various teams at King’s

The marketing team is mainly who you’ll be working with as an ambassador, but other departments will seek out your help for their events as well. The International Advice team organises dedicated welcome sessions for new international students, as well as social spaces during Christmas to provide that extra sense of belonging for students who might be unable to return home during the holiday.

Students having some craftwork fun at the Global Lounge during Christmas.

Students having some craftwork fun at the Global Lounge during Christmas.

Other teams that I’ve worked with include the English Language Centre (ELC), where I took on a job as their receptionist during the summer among other tasks. I also assisted with the setting up of the medical students’ practical examination last year. Being a healthcare student myself, the experience was invaluable as it gave me a glimpse of how my own exam will be run.

I’ve only just begun with this list (yes, I’m quite long-winded if you can’t tell already), so stay tuned for the next half of my blog post where I divulge 3 more reasons for why you should don that striking red ambassador t-shirt.

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!

Written by King’s student, Bea Redweik

A Guide to Packing

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Shopping for practically anything is a breeze in London – if you know where to look, that is. Finding out which establishments have the best deals will take some trial and error, and you’ll be a seasoned consumer in no time. However, in your first week of arriving here, the last thing you should do is wander blindly in the streets of London searching for a shop that sells shampoo because it had completely slipped your mind to pack it! To avoid such a hairy catastrophe (and other similar disasters) from occurring, take a look at the following check-list:

1. Things you can’t live without
I know this sounds fairly obvious, but some items have fused so seamlessly into our lives that it doesn’t even cross our minds to pack them. Try going through your daily routine at home, whilst compiling a list of things that you used along the way – your medicines, toiletries, phone charger etc. It’s amazing how many things we take for granted!

2. Documents
Nobody likes going through the identification check at the customs, but it’s not exactly legal to bolt past the security gates either. To speed things up, have your passport, visa and confirmation of studies letter ready in your hand luggage. If you’re a pursuing a healthcare-related course, you would be required to take your immunity records as well to facilitate your immunisation process later in the year.

3. Clothing
If you’re from a tropical country like me, chances are you’ve only been accustomed to the sweltering heat and torrential downpours. However, don’t fret if you’re completely lacking any winter attire. September is usually not the chilliest time of the year, so there’s still plenty of time to purchase some after you’ve settled down. Besides, your local retail outlets might not have the most appropriate winter attire for the chilly and damp London atmosphere. As a side note, pack a set of formal-wear for official ceremonies and a pair of gloves for protection against the harsh winds.

4. Books & stationery
We all know that one guy who has perused the entire semester’s textbooks before classes have even commenced, but is it really advisable to purchase them in advance? The answer to that would be a resounding “no”. During your induction, your lecturers will outline the few mandatory core books, and the libraries at King’s should provide you with sufficient further reading material. Also, there are numerous second-hand book sales in September that you should absolutely watch out for. Stationery doesn’t weigh much anyway so go ahead and buy all the pens you’ll never need.

5. Cooking
Nothing conjures stronger feelings of nostalgia like eating your favourite food from home. However, if you’re currently stuffing your luggage with bottles of soy sauce and curry paste, you might want to think twice about that. London is a multicultural city and as such, is populated by international merchants who stock up on many imported food items. The best example to illustrate this would be Chinatown, where you’ll be able to find a slew of exotic condiments and ingredients. Kitchen appliances are fairly affordable as well, so there’s absolutely no need to pack your heavy frying pan. That being said, I wouldn’t imagine that many Asian mothers (mine included) would permit their children to leave home without a rice cooker, so just be an obedient child and do so. Soon enough, you’ll realise how versatile it actually is!

chinatown london

6. Bedding
Most student accommodation will not come with blankets or duvets, so I would recommend compacting these in a vacuum bag and cramming them into your luggage. Pillows take way too much space, so don’t even attempt to squeeze one in.

7. Miscellaneous
Do check if your devices are compatible with UK’s plugs; if they’re not, it would be wise to purchase a few adapters. While it is extremely useful to own a personal printer, it would be unfeasible to fit one into your luggage considering its sheer bulk. Hence, I would suggest just purchasing one here.

8. Personal items
Being in a foreign land with hardly any familiar faces around you, there will inevitably be times when you’ll feel rather miserable. Nevertheless, you’ll be surprised by how much a few tokens from home can cheer you up and provide the motivation you need to keep going. Be it a birthday card or simply your stinky stuffed animal, take whatever it is that will evoke some poignant memories of home. Just remember – whatever it is you are going through will come to pass eventually, and things will get better if you persevere and march on.

With all that said, I hope you don’t get overwhelmed by the whole packing process and I bid you a safe journey to London! You don’t know it yet, but your best life chapter is just about to begin.

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Making the city your own

hoxton hotel coffee pic

Author: Bea

There is this tote bag that took up residence in one of my old drawers – I think it was handed to me forever ago, throughout Freshers Week in my first year and the print on it says: LONDON IS MY CAMPUS. As cheesy as that may sound, it is also true! Sure, King’s is not a campus uni – it is located right in the heart centre of this buzzing and vibrant city, and honestly, I think that makes everything just so much more exciting! Let’s say you are on the look out for some good study spots, and of course the university offers you spaces like libraries and common rooms, but why not mix it up and really go out and explore London, find your new favourite café, for instance, that in one way or another you can call your own!

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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

Facebook / Weibo Live Streaming of the Strand Campus Open Day on Saturday 24th June

Author: International Team at King’s

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Unable to make it to our upcoming open days? Not to worry! Our #Kingslive livestreams will transport you there!

Starting Saturday 24th June at the Strand Campus, subjects taught by the faculties of Arts & Humanities, Law, Natural & Mathematical Sciences, Social Science & Public Policy and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience will be covered in talks, as well as the opportunity to talk with our academics, admissions, careers, residences & student life teams and have a tour of the campus.

Follow us from 9.30 am via:

Facebook Live https://www.facebook.com/kingscollegelondon/

 Weibo King's College London Weibo QR Code

 

 

Tips from a final year student: what I wish I’d known earlier

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Author: Anuthida

Two years ago I boarded my 13-hour flight from Singapore to London, pretty much clueless about what was in store for me at the other end of the world. The heady mix of moving to a different continent and making the leap to higher education was certainly daunting, but I eventually settled in well enough. As a seasoned pro (okay, that might be a gross exaggeration), here are some tips on navigating Uni life.

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Adapting to my new life

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Author: Diana

Recuerdo lo emocionada que estaba al saber que iba a estudiar en King’s College London y que iba a vivir en Londres. Wao! Simplemente estaba sin palabras, y es que pensar en lo maravilloso que es esta ciudad, me llena de muchísima alegría. El proceso de adaptación a una nueva vida es como una aventura. Te tienes que adaptar a todo, y todo es nuevo, desde el lugar en donde vives y con quien vives, a tu escuela, incluyendo clases y compañeros, a tu nuevo lugar de trabajo, al medio de transporte y hasta a la diferente zona horaria. Parece mucho, y la realidad es que es mucho, pero el proceso no tiene que ser todo al mismo tiempo.

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Making your dreams come true in 2017!

notebook-1194456_960_720Author: Andreea

As the year has come to an end, everyone gets overexcited to dash all that happened in 2016, forget about it, bury it and pretend it never happened. Now people start talking about their new year resolutions, that normally sound something like, “I’ll start that diet, go to the gym every day and really focus on my studies.” 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