From Venezuela to Kings Oxford
Maria Florencia, from Venezuela, is studying the Advanced Level
Foundation at Kings Oxford. We recently
spoke to her about her experience studying with us so far, her university plans for the coming year, and her epic journey to reach us from Venezuela!
Hi Maria Florencia. What is the teaching like at Kings?
I really like it because they really get in touch with you and they explain the topics really well and if you don’t understand something you have extra hours or you can message the teachers to have one-on-one conversations so that they can explain everything to you.
When they send you homework, it’s not so difficult, but it helps you really understand the topics so that when you get to the tests it’s really easy because you have been studying the topics all term!
What’s the community like at Kings Oxford?
I really like it. I haven’t been here for a long time, but my friends and classmates here are really nice and if I’m lost with something, I ask them.
What are your plans after you complete the Advanced Level Foundation course?
I am hoping to enter into a university. I’m going to apply in January, and I want to study Engineering and Management at university.
Fantastic! Any ideas which universities yet?
Yes, I want to go to Loughborough University, and I have another option which is Cardiff, or maybe University of Birmingham. Something like that.
What support do you get at Kings?
"They always offer that if we are homesick then we can talk with them, or if we have any health problems, we can contact them or ask them about it. If we have any issue in our accommodation, we can speak to them."
Whilst I was isolating, I had a problem with my appliances because I didn’t bring some of the chargers! I texted them and they brought me some.
You mentioned that you were isolating on arrival to the UK — what are the ways that Kings are keeping students safe?
When I got here to Oxford, I started my isolation as soon as I arrived from the airport. So I isolated for 14 days in my accommodation, at Wavy Gate Residence. Kings provided me with food and I stayed there doing online lessons from my room for 14 days.
Was it difficult to study online from your room?
Well, I was used to it because I had the first month in my country studying online. It was a little bit difficult because you don’t have this one-on-one, but the teachers always provide you with help and they understand our situation. It’s a little bit frustrating, but I think it’s manageable.
How would you describe Kings to someone that is thinking of coming here?
I think it’s a really homely company because they understand our situation in that we’re leaving our countries and living alone for the first time and it’s kind of difficult for us to get used to, but it’s really nice.
"At Kings, we have activities that they provide for us on weekends and in the weekdays too that we can join in we have nothing to do or don’t want to study all day! If we are homesick, we can text the staff and they can talk to us or help us contact other classmates or students to talk with them."
And finally...tell us about your extraordinary story of how you managed to travel here in the pandemic?
In my country, all the airports are closed so I had to start my classes online. I spent about 1 month doing online classes in my country.
Then, I contacted my consulate in Italy — because I have dual nationality — and they had opened a humanitarian flight, so I took a humanitarian flight to come here!
It was a really long trip because I had to go by car to Caracas from Barquisimeto, and then stay one night there. Then, I took a flight from Caracas to the Dominican Republic, then I took another flight from there to Madrid, and then from Madrid to London! Finally, a taxi to Oxford. It took me like, 3 days!
And was it worth it?
See some of Maria Florencia's comments on film: