Studying for A-levels and playing professional football
Shalika Viandrasa, from Indonesia, has been studying for her A-levels at Kings London, alongside playing professional football. She spoke to us about her time at Kings, and the next steps for her study and career.
Hi Shalika. What course (and subjects) are you taking at Kings?
I’m taking A-levels at Kings, in Business, Politics and Economics.
What’s the teaching like at Kings?
"I think that the teachers are really lovely. They’re really nice, really friendly and they’re really helpful — whenever I don’t understand anything, I just raise my hand and ask the teacher. They’re always happy to repeat what they said."
How do you find the community at Kings?
I think the fact that I don’t come from the UK really helps because there are other students that also don’t come from the UK. There also students who are from here as well, so I get a mixed culture with the British students and the foreign students. I get the full experience, I guess.
Do you have much interaction with the British students here at Kings London?
Yeah, Megan is in my Economics class and there are other students too. We’ve hung out several times outside of school — we go to the city, go to parks, stuff like that. I get along with them quite well.
So, you’re in your second year of A-levels and will be applying for Sports Management at university. Can you tell us a bit more about your future plans?
First of all, I’m planning on taking Sports Business Management, because I’m an athlete and I’m actually starting my own business back home with some colleagues of mine, and I think Sports Business Management is going to help me with that.
"I will probably take a gap year, but then I’m thinking of applying to university either in Spain, Holland or Australia. Those are the countries where I have had interactions with [football] clubs, so hopefully, when I get signed by one of them, I can move there and finish my university degree whilst playing professionally."
Fantastic! How did you get into this? Have you been able to carry on practising whilst you’ve been here at Kings?
I’ve been playing for my country since I was 14, and I moved here to the UK when I was 16. I went through so many trials with clubs here and I was supposed to sign for West Ham and Chelsea, but then I couldn’t because of some visa issues.
"Because the school schedule doesn’t crowd in everything too much, I still have time to have a life outside of school and time to practise by myself and join clubs, and even to go through trials. I’m really thankful for the fact that I went to this school, especially because of the fact that they let me go back to Indonesia to play for my country once for a month or two."
What’s it been like being in the UK as a professional football player?
I think that moving to the UK has opened up my perspective on everything. I’ve had the chance to play with world-renowned football clubs and I’m extremely grateful for my two years here. I stay with a host family and they’re very supportive, and I have friends here who are extremely supportive as well. The teachers are really excited when I talk about my football career, so I really like it here at Kings.
What’s your opinion of the football fans here in the UK?
I love it! I think it’s really here and in Indonesia where everyone loves football and it’s a part of the community. My host Dad actually took me to three Premier League games. It was my first time ever watching a Premier League game live and it was amazing — I loved it! The atmosphere and the excitement of the fans was really good.
What do the other Kings students think about you being a professional footballer?
There’s actually a Kings football club and we play around here. I have played with them several times too, although lately there have been a lot of trials and I have to be careful not to get injured, especially because they’re mainly boys and mainly older than me. It’s really fun that every Monday we just gather and play football together and everyone is really close to each other because of football. Even though we’re not from the same class, when we play football it helps us to get to know each other better.
How do you feel about the support that you get here at Kings?
"There’s immense support at Kings, definitely. I think that Kings understand that a lot of the students here are foreign students and they know how to deal with that. The teachers really don’t mind us asking lots of questions because they understand our situation. They understand that we might get homesick once in a while too and they really care about our mental health, as well as our grades."
If you were talking to a friend back home, how would you describe Kings to them?
I would describe Kings as a good stepping stone to the best universities in the UK. Some of my friends actually asked me whether they should try and apply for Kings and I was like “yeah, definitely! If you want to go to a good university in the UK, then definitely — it’s worth it.”
See some of Shalika's comments on film: