After another wonderful summer, our students are back at their home institutions. Hafezah from Brunei, who was one of our my #kingssummer winners, shares her experiences with us:
“I’ve always wanted to go to King’s College London as the university is very well-known for its academic excellence and its perfectly convenient location – at the heart of London! I planned on continuing my post-graduate at KCL so last Autumn when I was browsing through KCL’s website looking at the available courses the university offered, I came across a section about the ‘Summer School’. I was intrigued but what really caught my attention was the fact that the summer school offered a short Shakespeare course, a course that I’ve always wanted to study again but couldn’t because of my current degree. I simply couldn’t pass on that opportunity so when the application to the Summer School opened, I applied right away without hesitation! I can now say that it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
When the 30th of June came, I arrived at the Stamford Apartment, one of the student accommodations for students attending the KCL Summer School, without any idea of what to expect. My doubts were cleared when I entered the Franklin-Wilkins building the following day, along with other students, for the registration and orientation. Shortly after the lunch break, the first class started and this was when I got to meet my classmates for the first time. My class consisted of 14 other girls so initially I thought the small size could be beneficial to my learning experience as class discussions could be made easier.
Walking to class was one of the highlights of my summer school! Let me explain – because I lived at the Stamford Apartment, every morning from Monday to Thursday I had to cross the Waterloo Bridge to get to class. From the bridge, if I were to look to my right I could see some of London’s landmarks like the London Eye as well as the House of Parliament, and to my left, I could see the National Theatre among other tall buildings along the South Bank. This isn’t something I could do everyday so that to me was phenomenal; the view was simply breathtaking and I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my day. Covent Garden, a popular shopping and tourist location, is only less than 10 minutes away from the Strand Campus too!
As a student of the Shakespeare in London course, aside from the walking tours around places near the Strand Campus and visiting near-by museums, I loved the fact that we got to watch Shakespeare’s plays being performed live on stage. Out of the three plays we’ve watched (Macbeth, the Taming of the Shrews, and Romeo and Juliet), my favorite would most definitely be watching Macbeth at the Shakespeare’s Globe.
What was unique and ‘special’ about this particular play was that we had to stand throughout the entire play. Although having to stand for over 2 hours out in the open may sound tiring, it was the fact that we got a sense and feeling of how the audiences back then might have felt when they watch plays being performed; it was interesting and exciting at the same time! In addition to that, the characters’ performances, the way they delivered their lines, the music and the way they attracted with the audience – it was all incredible.
Overall, attending the Summer School has exposed me more to different cultures and different landscapes while gaining new skills – such as knowledge and research skills. I also learned how to think critically and deeply through the course. I found the teaching to be of a very high standard – Sarah, my tutor, and the other guest lecturers she invited to class were always ready to lend a helping hand. I felt that spending a part of my summer break studying abroad has helped me grow as a person and broaden my horizons; I got to travel and had a more complete cultural immersion experience at the same time. What I loved about being a part of the summer school programme was that I felt like I got to experience the real ‘London’ in just a short amount of time; from crossing the Waterloo Bridge almost every morning to getting coffee at Cafe Nero or Starbucks before class started, as well as making our way through the crowd and busy London streets to get to the tube stations for our class trips.
Most importantly, any Bruneian student who is able to put on their CV that they have studied abroad in a prestigious university like KCL is at a great advantage in terms of impressing the people working with Brunei’s Ministry of Education as well as future employers. KCL’s Summer School has taught me to become more independent; living in London and being an alumni of KCL with the Summer School programme was no doubt an opportunity of a life time – it was incredible how much a place and the people can have an impact on me.”
Thank you so much for letting me write a little about my summer school experience!