Posted 1 Mar 2013 by Chloe
I feel that my course as a whole promotes its students to really take their own initiative. The course tutors are all professionals, so they know what it is like to be out in the industry that we as students are heading towards. They encourage us to get our work out in a variety of ways. I feel that this encouragement is helpful as they give a lot of advice that I never would have thought about!
The module that we have recently started, called Professional Process, gives us the opportunity to learn about how best to get ourselves out into the industry. We learn from artists who are already in the industry, including graduates from Kingston University itself. We discuss different types of self-promotion, the best ways to contact people in the industry, and also the best way to get internships.
My animation teacher really encourages us to surround ourselves with animation, go to animation festivals, enter our work into them, create a website, contact people, make animations by ourselves as well as doing what we are set. The encouragement we get from our tutors really helps us to think about how we present ourselves as people, and how we really need to start thinking about the future and what work we can look for once we have graduated.
We don't have set times for internships, but we are given many opportunities to go to screenings and shows where it is possible to meet and connect with people. I think that internships are so helpful as an addition to the course. Being able to step into, and work in, an environment in your chosen industry is necessary before graduating. You can see exactly what it would be like in the industry, you can talk to people, and most of all, it is the perfect way to get your work and name known.
I am hoping to get an internship during the summer, where I can learn more about the animation industry and what sort of jobs are available to graduates. I think this is important as it will give me physical experience of the environment, I will be able to see work in action and learn how you come to be in those working positions i.e. what skillsets are needed for specific jobs.
Overall I think that the university and the course offers a lot to help a student make sure that they are able to get a job when they graduate, and I think that this will hopefully help me achieve and get a job myself!
Deciding where you want to study can be an easy step if you have one ideal university in mind, but what if you don't know exactly which university is right for you? Or maybe you're not sure about the exact course that you want to take? Looking at all the factors such as the location, accommodation, fees, course details, etc. is something you should factor into your search. I started off looking for universities solely on how high they were ranked and how prestigious they were. This is important (no doubt) but what matters even more is that you find a university that you really enjoy going to, where you feel welcome, safe and happy. This might sound cheesy, but for me Kingston is that place.
I picked the degree Business and Law because it combines two very interesting and demanding subjects, which will hopefully increase my employability. Kingston's Law and Business Schools have good reputations and the faculty has great resources. Also classes can be quite small so lecturers are able to focus on giving everyone the support that they require. I also love the campus on Kingston Hill, which has amazing new buildings and green spaces to relax.
Kingston University in general is a great place to study. When I ask people why they chose to go here, I often hear "because it is so diverse." I can't help but agree with this. In the time I have been studying here I have made so many friends from different countries and backgrounds, studying everything from mechanical engineering to music. I love the fact that you can learn things from other people here, which helps you grow as a person and allows for some inspiring conversations. Additionally I am always blown away by the support Kingston Uni gives its students, from careers and employability advice to counselling services and grants for mature students and care leavers; the university really tries to make the experience students take from here as valuable as possible. Many of my friends who go to other universities are surprised (and a bit jealous) when I tell them how approachable and helpful staff at Kingston are.
Kingston itself is also a great place to be. Although I personally prefer central London in terms of night life many students enjoy Kingston's night life which offers a range of bars, pubs and clubs catering to all music tastes. I love that Kingston is close to London but everything you need (be it shopping malls, fitness clubs or cinemas) is here. Also the town itself is very pretty and there are a lot of places near the river, or Richmond Park in the summer, where you can study or meet friends outside.
I hope that this helped you with deciding where you want to study. If you're still unsure, how about visiting one of our Open Days? If you have any questions about my course or the university in general, feel free to ask me or any of the other ambassadors. Take care and I hope to see you soon!
Posted 28 Feb 2013 by Kasia
So how is it studying in England? So many people ask me this question. They have so many assumptions based on the things that they have heard, or simply their imagination. Normally the first reaction when I say that I study at Kingston University in London is a kind of admiration, and I have to admit that I am proud to say that I'm a Kingston University student. It simply sounds so good, doesn't it? And remember that what sounds good looks even better on your CV. The fact is that if I were studying in my home town, whose location is unknown to 99% of people I meet, the reaction would be slightly different. But let me explain to you what makes studying abroad a different experience.
There are a few things that would make me recommend studying in England. The first thing is that they want you to think. They want you to be critical and you can argue or challenge your professor/lecturer. This is a different approach from the one I know from Poland. There, as well as in many other European countries (as it was explained to me by my friends), your lecturer is a god and if you don't agree you should stay quiet or you are in trouble. I have heard so many ridiculous stories about how students were late for their first class and the lecturer told them openly that they will fail. And they did. It doesn't happen in England. Here, the fact that you are questioning even the highest authority at the university means that you think and you are involved; which is what you are expected to do. Here, no one wants you to fail. If you are struggling with anything there are people who are genuinely interested in helping you. Here, it doesn't happen that they accept too many students for the first year and then they try to fail half of them. That's a one pretty good reason to consider studying in the UK, isn't it?
Those of you who are not familiar with the English culture will be surprised how informal university is. I have lived in the UK before but it still struck me how on the official welcome of international students we got it explained to us how the Brits order their pints in the pub! It was also surprising that all your lecturers expect you to call them with their first name. So it's just David, not Professor Smith. You don't have to use titles to show respect, you should show it with your attitude. It was shocking to me as I remember that in Poland some people who are supervisors in supermarkets feel so important that amusingly you have to call them using their full title.
I don't think I can say that studying in England is easier (especially that apart from my year in Australia, which has a very similar system by the way, I didn't study anywhere else), but I know that it is different. In England we have only 4 subjects per semester. If you are lucky you can have classes only 2 or 3 days a week (I am lucky :D), which gives you a lot of time to travel/work/rest/study in your free time (you are supposed to be busy with the latest work). The English system is based on independent studying. Everyone learns in a different way but I have to say that I didn't really do much independent studying in my first year and I had all Bs. I can't say that you will do the same and it can also depend on the subjects, but when I compare my timetable to timetables of students in other countries, it does look better and gives you more flexibility. If you are not getting any support and you have to support yourself, you may compromise your studies and work.
I know that £9,000 a year sounds really scary, but you don't really need this money just now. If you are EU citizen you should be eligible for a loan. I don't like spending money I don't have, I have no credit card, no debts but this is the best investment in your life. You invest in your education, your future. The good news is that you start paying your loan back only if you get a good job after you graduate. And it's fair enough because that's what we are expecting after finishing university, right? So this loan doesn't bind you in any way. When you graduate you are free to travel, move to another country, be a volunteer. You don't have to start paying it back until you can afford it.
Here comes another difference. Not all subjects finish with exams. Some are based only on various types of practical exercises (identifying soil types, creating crime maps, making posters, just to name a few from my first year), field work and mostly, essays and reports. Some are a mix of them all, but you will definitely have to write more reports, reviews and essays than write exams. This is another approach to learning. You are expected to do research and in my opinion it is a better way to learn. You also gain skills that you are likely to use when you graduate. This is another aspect of the British Universities; they are more practical. You don't have to wait until you graduate to apply your knowledge and skills.
There are so many other things that surprised me about studying in England. I was the only one not wearing causal clothes on the first exam. I was disappointed to see my first graded report, before I got it explained to me that the highest mark, A starts with 70%, which is very different to the system I was used to.
Studying in Kingston you will also live in an exciting metropolitan city with an amazing mix of cultures from all over the world, so you will never get bored in your free time.
If you want to know more about the British academic culture from my point of view, ask me.