Throwback Thursday: King’s College London Undergraduate Summer School

Untitled designMy name is Chih-I. When I was a King’s College London Summer School student in 2010, I was only 19 years old. I decided to spend the summer at King’s for several reasons.

First, I intended to improve my English by fully immersing myself in an English-speaking country. Second, King’s was reported in the year to be one of the top 25 universities in the world. For a student like me who cares so much about the teaching quality and the academic environment, King’s immediately attracted my attention.

Moreover, the campus as well as the accommodation provided were just perfectly located in the city centre: close to Covent Garden, the Strand Campus was also three-minute walk from Temple Station; the accommodation on Stamford Street was next to Waterloo Station, one of the London underground hubs, which enabled me to reach anywhere in the shortest time. Finally, considering the diverse backgrounds of the student group at King’s Summer School, I knew that I would be able to meet people from all over the world, each one with different culture and life experience. This has definitely constituted an ‘added value’ for my King’s Summer School experience.

Although I majored in Law in my home university, I decided to study musicology at King’s Summer School. Studying musicology does not mean to learn to play an instrument, as opposed to what one may think. Musicology is the scholarly research on music, a branch of humanities. In the three-week course, we addressed various issues regarding the interaction among music/art genre/style, political environment, and urban development in London. Outside the course, we went to up to 5 or 6 concerts/shows/musicals in the evening. We then discussed some of the artistic elements in these performances with reference to what we had talked about in the seminars. As for my final essay, I explored the self-identity of different personas in Pucini’s opera ‘La Bohème’ in relation to the socio-economic context in Italy in the 19th century.

The summer school has exerted positive influence on my later life in different aspects. First, it allowed me to know better the higher education system in the UK, particularly in terms of types of supervision and support one student can receive from the professor. It was from that moment that I came up with the idea to come to the UK for my master studies. The experience of living in one of the biggest cities in the world was marvellous, needless to say.

However, the best part of the summer school, in my opinion, was that I have made friends from all over the world: France, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Russia, Taiwan, and the US, to name only a few. I have been able to keep in touch with some of the friends since the end of the programme, and have managed to pay them a visit in their countries, despite the distance. Some of them even helped me enormously with my master thesis. The wonderful fruit of our friendship was something that I did not anticipate before starting the programme at King’s.

Six years later, when I recall the old college days, I cannot help but be amazed by how the Summer School has strung our life together. Thank you King’s for creating such a superb memory in my life!

By Chih-I CHANG
Current MPhil student in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics at the University of Cambridge

Pre-Arrival Information: Getting From The Airport

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With the first day of the summer school getting closer and closer, we wanted to provide you with a little bit of information on how to get from the airport to King’s College London, using various types of transportation. Don’t worry you can also find this information on our website too. There are a number of airports in London that you may arrive into so please see information on how to travel from each of these…

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London Stansted

London Stansted is a little bit out of London, so is a little trickier to get to and from. From here you can take the Stansted Express straight to Liverpool Street Station, which roughly takes about 45 minutes. You are also able to take coaches from this airport. There are a number of different coach companies that you can book a ticket with, but please be aware that travel times will be longer than a train.

London Gatwick

There are plenty of different options to choose from when arriving into London from Gatwick airport. If you want a train that takes you directly to Victoria Station then the Gatwick Express is the option for you. You are also able to take a normal train (Southern or First Capital Connect) to either Victoria, London Bridge or St Pancras. You can also take a coach from this airport and it is one of the cheapest options.

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London Heathrow

You can take the Piccadilly Line (Dark Blue) of the London Underground from Heathrow Airport all the way into central London. It takes around 45 minutes from and is the cheapest mode of transport from the airport. If you don’t fancy taking a tube you may also book a ticket for the Heathrow Express. It takes only 15 minutes and arrives into Paddington Station. Once here you can take public transport to your accommodation. Another cheap option would be to take a coach from the airport. National Express take you straight from Heathrow to Victoria Coach Station, which is in central London.

London City Airport

London City Airport is actually within London, which makes it very easy to get to King’s from here. You will need to take the DLR (Dockland Light Railway) from this airport into central London. To get to Waterloo from City Airport you will have to take the DLR to Canning Town. At this station swap to the Jubilee Line (Grey) and you will be able to take a tube straight to Waterloo station.

If you have any other questions about transportation from the airport please do contact us at summer@kcl.ac.uk. We look forward to seeing you soon.

The EU In/Out Referendum

This blog entry takes a critical look at the UK in/out referendum on the European Union, now a mere six weeks away, through the lens of Political Science. Questions about the meaning of security and sovereignty are raised, offering a measured review of expectations and outcomes. The blog shows the breadth of the referendum question and allows the curious mind to glimpse more behind the grinding rhetoric of the opposing campaign sides.

King’s College London Obstetrics and Gynaecology Summer School

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During the long summer holiday following second year, I had a lot of free time to work with and I wanted to make the most of it, so I applied to the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Summer School. Part of this decision was that I wanted to start exploring what specialties I might consider pursuing later in my career but also because I was anxious about starting clinical medicine and wanted to face my fears head on. I’m glad I did because the programme was a gentle introduction to clinics. I really appreciated the chance to figure out how learn in the clinical environment without the pressure of assessment, sign offs and firm heads to answer to.

The best part of the programme by far was the student mentor I was assigned. Our student mentor was immensely helpful and went above and beyond to make sure we had a productive week. He was with us in clinics and surgeries, offered impromptu teaching sessions and when all these were saturated he even offered himself as a dummy to let us practise venepuncture. The words “role model” sound cliché but watching him confidently manoeuvre his way through the wards gave me the confidence to do the same and assert myself in the clinical environment. I think it’s really important to have role models in clinics and we often think of them as our consultants but the Summer School showed me I have just as much to learn from my near peers.

The course itself was intensive as it was just a week but pitched at just the right level for pre-clinical students. It covered a wide range of clinics; both nurse and consultant-led so we observed the roles played by every member of the team. It was also the first time I ever got to see surgery, which was really exciting. Most importantly, despite St Thomas being a big hospital, all the staff we met were friendly, approachable and eager to involve you wherever you went.

If I had to name just one thing I took away from this experience it is the gratitude I have to be a part of the medical profession. The summer school showed me that the trust patients place in their doctors and midwives is immense and I felt privileged to be present at moments as life changing as childbirth. The team at St Thomas’ were passionate and committed to every one of their patients, no matter how big or small the case. To that end, the Summer School has left me with lessons I will carry with me forever in both my professional and personal life.

 

Undergraduate Summer School Social Programme

As summer is edging ever nearer we wanted to let you know all about our exciting social programme for students at the Undergraduate Summer School. The Summer Programmes team works with King’s College London Student Union to create a social programme that compliments the academic programme and gives you the chance to explore London and make new friends. Activities will take place on evenings and weekends, meaning once class is finished for the day, you are able to take part in some (or all) of these excellent events.

For each session there will be an ‘Official’ Opening Party and also a Thames Boat Party. Both are great opportunities to make new friends, spend time with your classmates and to chat to staff at KCLSU and the Summer Programmes team.

theatreshowsLondon is home to the West End and is a hub for musical and other theatrical performances. And for this years summer school, students will get the opportunity to see some of the best shows around. For both sessions there are tickets available to see The Lion King. In Session One you will also be able to see Wicked and in Session Two you will have the opportunity to purchase tickers to Aladdin. Tickets are limited so do book early to avoid disappointment!

We also have some brilliant day time activities. In both sessions students are able to spend the day exploring the historical towns of Oxford and Windsor– the Queen’s favourite holiday home. And for Session One only there will be a number of tickets available for the Harry Potter Studio Tour. Here you will spend time admiring the sets featured in the movies, as well as sampling butter beer and riding a broomstick.

wtourWalking around London is by far the best way to see it. And this summer you’ll also be able to take part in a number of walking tours. In the first session students are able to explore the quirky Camden Market and the quaint Notting Hill and Portobello Market. And in the second session you’ll be able to visit the locations used in the Harry Potter movies, as well as a Theatre Land Tour of London.

If you are interested in any of the trips mentioned above and listed on the website please do book your tickets early. There are a limited amount of tickets for some events, so if you really do want to go book as soon as you can. Throughout these events we want to see how much of a great time you’re having, so please do like/follow us and share your pictures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

We look forward to seeing you this summer!