So, I’m from India. On my very first visit to the West, I arrived in London, with my grandfather’s suitcase and my mother’s chapatis. Oh, and of course, my sister’s envy in tow, as I began my MSc at King’s.
This move to study in London for a year has been pretty big for me. The first thing I noticed is the amount of empty, available space. Where I hail from, you can’t spread your hands out wide because you’ll hit somebody. And now, everywhere I look, I’m like, why has this area been vacated, is this a crime scene? Did a building fall?
Here’s some of the stuff that has really made me go like WTF.
1. Honestly, what is everyone on? I’d like to have some of it, too.
My first week at uni and I can’t help but notice that EVERYONE is smiling. Now, for someone who has all of two expressions, it’s a bit startling to see every other student with eyes lit up, a skip in their step and jaw tearing apart. No matter where I look, there’s someone interested in what I’m studying, where I live, when was my last shit. There’s a burning eagerness to make conversation, produce excitement, cheerfulness- I don’t even have more happy expressions in my vocab.
2. I’m sorry, did I just walk in to a fashion parade?
Now my half-weekly outfits oscillate between two jackets and one day for freezing. Sometimes I even have to correct my peers, “No, I certainly didn’t go through a break up!”, or “No this is not a de-glam look, It’s just my look man.” The worst is, “No it’s definitely not ‘dress-like-you’re-homeless-day’, why do you ask?”
When you live in one of the fashion capitals of the world, do not believe anyone who says “Oh, I’m SO NOT gonna dress up for Sports Night.” Someone, please tell Drake that the college has a whole new definition for “Sweatpants, hair tied up, chillin’ with no make-up on”. Yeah, Adidas sweatpants that hang perfectly off that booty, JD sneakers that cost a month’s rent, and bed hair that took three hours to perfect are what that translates to.
3. Alcohol, you say?
Back home, the social norm usually is, first you make friends, and then you party together. The culture here, I eventually realised, is that you first party together and then you become friends. The college has Sports Nights with teammates for teams that are going to be formed three weeks later, meet and greet with teachers, wine and dine with those you don’t like, get-togethers for introverts, soirée with the principal, networking opportunities with your tinder date, arranged marriage with a stranger- Oh, wait no, that’s in India.
4. The education and extra-curricular system at the College has BLOWN me away.
The most amazing thing that struck me about King’s is that it has a revolutionary teaching culture. The university is on par with the latest technology and walks hand-in-hand with the latest advancements in the world.
The abundance of online study material, library services, lecture recordings, no attendance system -this college is a source of infinite information available right at your doorstep. We have access to a world of opportunity in terms of the everything-under-the-sun societies to hone your skills, hell, create one if none of them appeal.
It’s like the horse is not only being brought to the water, the water is being put into its mouth with a silver spoon. All he has to do is swallow.
Being an international student who has worked in the real world and now come back to uni, take it from me, this system is a gold mine. Dig it.
Eager to read of the International Student Experience here at King’s? Check the KCL blog for more.