From Kings to studying Medical Sciences Engineering at UCL
Qian Lin Lee from Malaysia completed A-levels with us at Kings London before winning a place to study at prestigious UCL (University College London). Now in the second year of her degree, we recently caught up with her to find out about her experience at UK university so far.
Hi Qian Lin. What degree subject are you studying and how was your first year at UCL?
I am doing Medical Sciences Engineering at UCL. I enjoyed my first year at UCL as I got to meet new people and to experience a new environment at university.
Did you find university degree level study a jump from A-levels?
For me I would say it was not a jump because university study is actually built on what you have got as a foundation during your A-levels. They will expand the new knowledge based on that so I really think that is important when you're considering the subjects during your A-levels.
In what ways do you think Kings best prepared you for your degree?
In terms of study, the teachers at Kings are really friendly and very helpful because they are very patient. They tried their best in preparing me for my exams, also resolving what I didn't understand during the lessons. Apart from the studies, Kings prepared me with skills like adapting to a new environments and also the culture — study in the UK is quite a different thing for me, [as I'm] from Malaysia, so Kings really prepared met assimilate to the culture of the UK and adapt to new lifestyles which I think is really good.
What benefit did you gain from completing A-levels in the UK rather than in your own country?
The first thing I would say is the language because you come to the UK, you have to practise your English all the time because you use it every day. You will also learn more about the culture in the UK because you will get to know why a phrase is being used and when you should use it. Because the lessons are conducted fully in English, which is what you will do at university, this really prepared me when I got to university because you don't have to take time to get used to the language being conducted in the lessons. The most important thing is the relationship you establish with people you meet in the UK because I really feel that they are a treasure for me — there will be times in which you feel helpless and you will find that someone is always there, which I really think is really good.
What support did you have from Kings in regards to your university application process?
The staff from Kings are really helpful. Initially they gave me a really detailed introduction to the UCAS system, where you are applying for university, and also they give you guidance and advice when you are choosing universities. My Biology teacher gave me a lot of support in my personal statement and also preparing for my application, like he gave me mock interviews and also very detailed feedback after the interviews to improve my performance. This really helped me in the university application.
Why did you decide on UCL and are you pleased with this choice?
UCL was always my first choice, my dream school when I was still in Malaysia. I did some research into universities and I really liked UCL. I also went to their open days and I got a really good impression of UCL and yeah, I am very happy with my choice.
What do you enjoy most about being a student at UCL?
I would say I really appreciate the diversity at UCL because you get to meet many people from lots of different countries, not only UK people, and that's a really exciting part because you get to know more about their country and also learn more in how to communicate with other people. Another thing is that there are so many opportunities offered at UCL like the clubs and societies, also different things which may help you in your career so I really think these are unique for UCL.
What do you think are the advantages of being a university student in London?
There are lots of advantages as a London university student, because the public transport in London makes it very easy to around and also as a student you get a lot of discounts which really save me a lot of money and also reduce my budget when I live in London.
When you started to study at Kings London was it always hard for you to remain in the capital?
I would say I was actually open to different locations in the UK but I really enjoy the life in the capital because I got exposed to my different types of things like the theatres, conferences and things like that. I really enjoy those, this makes my life very exciting.
Tell us what you enjoy most about your degree and your plans for the future.
I enjoy how challenging my degree is because my degree is a multidisciplinary degree which is engineering and medicine mixed together, and I particularly enjoy the lab sessions because I really feel it prepares me for my future projects and also for my career. I am planning to do a Master's followed by a PhD afterwards and after the PhD I am thinking to take a role in research.
What you recommend the same path to other students at Kings and the same university?
I would recommend they come to Kings because the staff at Kings are really kind and friendly and they really care about you. You can get to know a lot of people — because Kings is such a small community you get to know each other very well and that really makes your life interesting and warm, so you won't feel homesick.