Choosing the Right University

For many students, selecting the right university can be an extremely daunting process. With new institutions popping up around the globe, where does one even begin to narrow down their options? Personally, I too was overwhelmed by this task, but it was eventually a mix of factors that reaffirmed my choice to study Pharmacy at King’s:

1. Laboratory facilities
It was imperative for my future institution to have state-of-the-art laboratory equipment, seeing as most of my programme revolves around lab work. I was drawn to the modern spectrometry devices available at King’s which mirror the industry standards used in the identification of complex molecules. It also greatly fascinated me that the anti-doping analyses for the 2012 London Olympics were carried out one floor below my chemistry labs!

One of the chemistry laboratories at King’s College.

2. Credentials of teaching staff
One thing that stood out to me when deciding between universities was the relevance of my lecturers’ research projects and clinical experience with the content of my modules. The prospect of being lectured by the same person who co-wrote a textbook in my reading list was mind-boggling to say the least! As I began to delve more into scientific studies in my final years, having pioneers of drug development guiding me at every step was more crucial than ever.

3. Services & support
Not having English as my native language coupled with me being an introvert led me to become rather apprehensive about fitting in at university. However, King’s made me feel entirely at ease with its numerous initiatives to reach out to international students, such as free weekly lunches at the Chaplaincy and Christmas social spaces for students not returning home for the holidays. My confidence in academic writing was also boosted by the services offered by the library and the English Language Centre.

Students connecting and enjoying the free lunch at the chaplaincy.

4. History of the institution
It still astounds me to this day that Photograph 51, the crucial X-ray diffraction image that led to the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA, was originally obtained at King’s. Knowing that my university contributed to one of the most fundamental breakthroughs in the scientific world continuously inspires me to delve deeper into this realm, and it makes me incredibly proud to even walk the same grounds that revolutionary scientists such as Rosalind Franklin and Peter Higgs had once traversed.

Rosalind Franklin, a biophysicist who was most famous for her work in X-ray spectroscopy.

5. Inter-professional learning
A perk of studying in an established university is the interconnectivity of the range of courses being taught there. This is especially relevant for healthcare courses, as students from different facets of the medical field are encouraged to share their specialist knowledge with their colleagues. Besides joint presentations, there are also hospital simulation sessions mimicking the multidisciplinary healthcare team in a ward. This is made possible not only by the wide coverage of healthcare courses offered at King’s, but also the many partnerships that the university has with London hospitals.

6. Societies
While your studies should be your top priority in university, it can be refreshing to veer away from that occasionally and partake in the many activities around campus. Being an avid music lover, the sheer number of music-related societies at King’s really sealed the deal for me. Since my first year, I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in several musicals both on stage as well as behind the curtains in the composition department. I’ve also enjoyed volunteering in under-privileged schools across London, where I engage in one-to-one mentoring sessions with students.

Me with some of the cast members of the musical “Fame” held at King’s.

7. Location
Coming from a small town on the other end of the globe, it was a dream come true when I received an offer to study in London. I love the constant buzz of activity that pervades the city streets, as well as the fact that I’m right in the heart of it all! King’s is a stone’s throw away from the West End, and from my point above, you can imagine why this would appeal to me! The lush greenery in London parks provides a stark contrast to the towering skyscrapers in the city centre, and the River Thames which flows alongside two main King’s campuses is a sight to behold, particularly from the Waterfront Bar at the Strand campus.

8. Work opportunities
Although admission to most London attractions such as the British Museum and National Gallery are free, your living expenses certainly aren’t! However, King’s offers many opportunities for students to work on campus, be it serving coffee at the student-run café or representing the Students’ Union as a committee member. Of course, the student ambassador scheme, of which I have written at length in my previous blog entries, is also a flexible option for earning some extra cash on the side.

And that’s it! I hope that this has started to get you thinking about what you should look out for in a university, and I’ll be ecstatic if this has swayed you to come and join me at King’s! But whichever institution you choose, bear in mind that it’s not where you end up that defines your experience, but rather, how you make the best of what you have.

Boey Yik

I’m a third-year King’s pharmacy student who hails from a small town in Malaysia called Ipoh. I’ve been an international student ambassador for almost 3 years now and the best part of my role is being able to meet new students and counsellors from all corners of the world. A fun fact about me is that I’m a massive Mariah Carey fan, and I could probably sing on cue any of her songs in her repertoire!

Student Life & Why You should Participate


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

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

Author: International Team at King’s

kingslive futurekings

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:

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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

Quick Q&A with a recent graduate – part 1

Author: Julie

Hi there. Considering that you are reading this blog, I am going to go out on a limb and assume that you are considering applying to or joining King’s College London – good choice. As such, in this first blog post, I will attempt to answer some very popular questions that I have been asked as a King’s student. Happy reading!

About me

Who are you? My name is Thuy Duong Chu, but my friends all know me as Julie. I grew up in Hanoi, Vietnam; did my high school education in Berlin, Germany; and just graduated from King’s. I studied BSc (Hons) Business Management which is in the same department as BSc (Hons) Economics and Management, BSc (Hons) Economics, and BSc (Hons) International Management.

Why did you choose King’s?  The biggest reason is that I wanted as much flexibility in my career choice as possible. At 18 I knew I wanted to study a business-related subject – I just didn’t know which area of business I would fancy the most. In BSc (Hons) Business Management, I studied the basics of economics, marketing, HR, and finance and accounting in my first year and the first half of my second year. From the second year onwards, after having had more knowledge about different fields in business, I felt more comfortable picking my area of focus. Essentially, I wanted to make a more informed decision about my specialisation while keeping my options open.

As a business student, being in London is very important for me. A home of many international corporations, London offers many opportunities for career building and networking.

waterloo aerial - celum

  • What do you do outside of university?  

I was a member of the Vietnamese Society and KCLBC which was King’s Business Club. I founded a volunteering society that worked with local year 6 students to raise their awareness of local issues and improve their literary skills.

As a King’s student ambassador, I led Strand campus tours on a regular basis; attended higher education fair in London and the surrounding areas; and delivered talks about King’s and studying in London.

In my free time, I like to go to stationery shops because I love stationery! As you obviously could see, I like to write as well.

Bonus questions

Where is your favourite spot in London? I like to sit on the stairs in front of National Gallery on Trafalgar Square, although I don’t do it often enough because the area is always extremely busy.

Trafalgar Square - celum

Is London expensive like people say? Yes and no. Rent is more expensive, living cost is similar to other cities in the UK. If you are aware of your expenses and do not eat at a fancy restaurant every week, you are in good shape.


KCL Societies

Author: Azura (Liberal Arts, Singapore)

As I write this, I’ve just left a handover meeting from my outgoing King’s Opera committee to next year’s incoming committee, and it’s a bittersweet feeling to be leaving – I’ve been involved with King’s Opera for all three years of university and have held a committee position for the last two years, so it’s been a huge part of my King’s experience. No matter what society you choose to get involved with in your time at King’s, it can make a huge difference in your university life if you want it to!

I’ve been involved with a variety of student societies at King’s, from performing arts to sports and others, and there’s a huge variety of groups to take part in! To help you find out which groups you might be interested in, all the student societies set up stalls at Fresher’s Fair at the start of each year for you to find out more about them. To get an idea of just how many student societies King’s has, you can check out this and this.

King’s Opera has been the society I’ve been most involved in throughout my time at King’s – but I almost didn’t find out that it first productionexisted! I happened to come across their stall at Fresher’s Fair and found out they were holding auditions for their upcoming production. I got a part in the chorus, and enjoyed it so much that I ran for the role of vice-president at the end of my first year, and the rest is history. I’ve also had the chance to perform solo roles and participate in masterclasses. While rehearsal schedules have kept me busy for many evenings and weekends over the last three years, it’s been absolutely worth it.

The great thing about most peClassis dept playrformance societies is you can choose to get involved in different ways, whether it’s performance, production (e.g. being a producer, costume designer or lighting operator for a specific production) or being on the committee – and of course, you can often do all three at some point!


In my second year, I decided to join the Karate club – I’d done karate as a child but hadn’t done any sports in years, so I was essentially starting again as a beginner. It was a great decision: I made a whole new group of friends, rebuilt my martial arts skills, and got stronger and fitter. I even represented our club at an international competition (I didn’t win anything, but it was exciting)!

karate grading

I’ve also been a more casual member of other societies, such as the Liberal Arts cast and crewSociety. Most academic departments also have a society which organises talks and social events, and attending film screenings and open mic nights by the Liberal Arts Society has really helped me to get to know my course mates better. I’ve also attended events by the Intersectional Feminist Society and the LGBT+ Society, which have brought me in touch with a great community of fellow students and taught me a lot about liberation issues and current affairs.

Finally, there are cultural societies which are of interest to many international students: I’ve been a member of the Singapore Society, and King’s might just have a society for your home country too. It’s a great way to be in contact with other students from your home country, especially at the start of your course when you’re settling into life in London.

Of course, this just scratches the surface of the kind of student societies you can join at King’s – and if there’s a society you’d like to join that doesn’t exist at King’s yet, you can always start one!