Hannah Bond is Associate Director – Learning and Teaching for Summer Programmes at King’s College London. Michael Salmon is Associate Director – Curriculum Renewal.
The impact of a King’s Summer education can often stay with our students long after the season ends. King’s summer programmes are immersive educational experiences, a moment to connect with students from an enormously wide range of countries around the world, experience cultural exchanges, and learn new skills for life, work and study. It’s a chance to study a topic in greater depth or learn about a new subject for the first time, or take a step towards further studies at a more advanced level. In many cases, as with Aditi Sangal who joined us for a summer course more than half a decade ago, it can be the launching pad for a high-profile career.
Of her time studying International Relations with King’s in her home country of India as well as Journalism on a scholarship to London in 2014, Aditi recalls how the experience opened up the world for the first time:
“I learned what makes a good story, how to cover international stories and observed what I could learn from journalists like Christiane Amanpour. I acquainted myself with journalism vocabulary – lede, nut graph, angle, sourcing and such. But more importantly, the course introduced me to the essential rules of news-gathering and reporting for the first time, such as being off the record, reporting on death, and reliable versus unreliable sources.”
Fast forward seven years, and Aditi is now an Associate Producer for CNN, based in New York, where she has covered US news stories like presidential elections, President Trump’s impeachment, natural disasters and mass shootings, as well as global events including the coronavirus outbreak.
“It’s quite surprising to think back and realise the point at which I began my education in journalism, but it’s comforting to know that the King’s summer programme had me covered. It opened my eyes to what I needed to learn before I could consider myself a strong candidate for any journalism job. I went on to study at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where I further built on the basics I learned at King’s.”
More journeys like Aditi’s
In 2020, due to the global pandemic, our summer schools went online for the first time. The online summer school experience gave students a taste of a King’s education, with collaborative project work, guest speakers, expert King’s faculty and insights into King’s cutting–edge research.
We would expect there to be many more stories similar to Aditi’s among the hundreds of participants in 2020 summer courses. One student on our Pre-University programme spoke of how she felt sure that the course would help her become a knowledgeable and inquisitive scientist – we will have to check back in with Carlotta in a decade’s time and see how she has got on!
These moments of learning and discovery which shape us as people and guide our career paths will increasingly take place online. The process has been accelerated by the pandemic, but was firmly in motion long before. For university summer schools, we need to provide high-quality education and learning experiences available online for those who prefer to study in this mode. After all, it is coming together and connecting with experts and peers – whether in person or online – that creates a long-lasting impact.