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From Myanmar to Kings London

20 January, 2017

I find it much better living here than in Central London. When I first came here I thought Beckenham was too far away but after a few weeks I found that it was much better. It’s less busy and it’s much quieter, plus Central London is not very far away – it’s only one train ride.

I’m studying four A-levels – Maths, Further Maths, Politics and Economics. I knew that I needed to study Economics for university but originally I wasn’t planning on studying Politics. Now it’s my favourite subject and I think that’s partly because of the teachers; they really know how to make it interesting. The good thing about Politics is that you can see how it effects the world. It isn’t like some other subjects where you study topics that are removed from your life.

Amaya Kiki Hana from Myanmar is currently studying for her A-levels at Kings London. We recently met up with her to find out about her reasons for coming to the UK, and to Kings, and her experience with us so far.

What made you decide to come to Kings?
I come from Myanmar and we have very good O-level courses and O-level English but for A-level the classes aren’t as good. Since I’m hoping to study at a prestigious university I thought that doing my A-levels in London was the best choice for me. I’ve been to London before and I’m more comfortable living in a big city. I used to live in the former capital city of Myanmar so it’s what I’m familiar with.

I chose Kings because I felt it would be a better fit for me and because it has a record of sending students to prestigious universities. I’ve never been to a boarding school and I didn’t think that I’d be prepared to study there. At a boarding school I would be much more restricted to a campus but I like to have some personal space outside college and the freedom to explore the surrounding areas.

What do you think are the best things about Kings?
The best thing about Kings is how friendly and open everyone is. You don’t need to feel unsure about asking any questions you may have; you can just go for it and ask. This includes the teachers since they’re very friendly and approachable. It’s an international college so everyone is getting used to the place and, even if they aren’t new, senior students help you to settle in which is nice. You don’t feel like you’re completely alone in a completely new country.

How are you finding the A-level course, and what subjects are you taking?
I’m finding the course challenging but not overwhelming. I can keep up with it. It’s mostly because the teachers are so experienced and they know exactly how much information you are taking in and what support you may need. I’m studying four A-levels – Maths, Further Maths, Politics and Economics. I knew that I needed to study Economics for university but originally I wasn’t planning on studying Politics. Now it’s my favourite subject and I think that’s partly because of the teachers; they really know how to make it interesting. The good thing about Politics is that you can see how it effects the world. It isn’t like some other subjects where you study topics that are removed from your life.

What are your plans for university/career?
I’m hoping to study Law so that I can pursue a career in Corporate law. I come from a family of lawyers so the subject has always interested me. I think it’s great that Law is such a broad subject - you can study Corporate law, you can study Criminal law – there are so many fields that it isn’t limiting. Since laws are always changing you need to keep up to date and this stops things from getting dull. I like to challenge myself so I think that studying Law seems like a good fit for me. By studying Corporate law I’ll be able to use my degree back in Myanmar. If I studied Criminal law I’d only be able to practise in the UK.

Where are you staying here – in a residence or homestay? What are the best things about your accommodation?
I’m staying in home stay accommodation which is great because it gives you a family here so you don’t feel alone. You have someone to go home to who can help you to learn English and can teach you about British culture which is important while you’re here. Plus you can ask them for advice about the local area and travelling into London.

Have you taken part in many of the extracurricular activities at Kings? Are you doing the Trinity Arts Award/Duke of Edinburgh Scheme/Kings Enterprise, and if so, what have been the highlights?
I was in the drama club and I played Juliet in our production of Romeo and Juliet. That was extremely fun and we really enjoyed rehearsing even though it was only a small group. Emma [our teacher] was so supportive. I’m actually also in the Textiles Club and the debating society and I go along to those clubs as much as I can. Sometimes, it can be hard to fit it in around my timetable but I did manage to take part in the school’s debate night; unfortunately we lost but it was still educating and interesting, particularly speaking in front of an audience. Public speaking is a skill you need to practise and I feel like events like these give me opportunity to do so.

What do you think of the school’s location in Beckenham? Have you spent much time in Central London?
Actually I find it much better living here than in Central London. When I first came here I thought Beckenham was too far away but after a few weeks I found that it was much better. It’s less busy and it’s much quieter, plus Central London is not very far away – it’s only one train ride. I’m always in Central for some reason – shopping, visiting museums. There’s so much to do in London.

What are the main differences between Kings London and the school you went to in your home country?
Back at high school teachers were much more fixed on teaching from the textbook whereas teachers here give you a little bit more freedom with your studies. You have more independence and you’re expected to read around your subjects and to actually take an interest, not just to go through the textbook. The facilities are also much better here, particularly technology like interactive whiteboards. Back home this wouldn’t really be an option and we would just use regular whiteboards. But the most useful thing is that you can borrow textbooks from the library. This cuts back on costs and back home you would be forced to buy your own textbooks. This way things are more environmentally friendly – you can check out the books when you need them and then return them for other students. You wouldn’t just sell them on or throw them away as would probably happen otherwise because textbooks are quite specialised.

What would you say to anyone considering coming to Kings to study A-levels?
I would say go for it. It’s really fun and it would be great to have other students, particularly Burmese students, studying here.