Our experience of taking the Foundation at Kings Bournemouth
Best friends Maximilian Burghard Havekost (Max) and Ka Hei Keanu Ho (Ken), from Hong Kong, both attended other schools in the UK before moving to Kings to complete the Advanced Level Foundation in preparation for university. We recently met up with them to hear about their time in the UK so far.
Hi both, thanks for talking to us! Ken, can you tell us how you're finding Kings Bournemouth and what the biggest differences to your previous school are?
Ken: I first came to the UK around 2017 and I was in a school in Ipswich, a boarding school which is very big. I studied there for around two years and I finished my GCSE course and I got my results back and I found that I should change the environment a bit. My old school was kind of like a military base, it's very strict.
I told my parents about that and I contacted my agents in Hong Kong and they said Kings is a good school, and they provide a Foundation course and A-level course. I wanted to try, so I came to Kings Bournemouth and I found the people here very nice, very friendly. I made some friends here and the environment is great. The biggest difference is the size of the school. My old school was very, very big compared to here, where there's only one building.
Max, you were doing A-levels previously, so why did you choose to stop with that and to come to Kings to do Foundation?
Max: Yeah I did A-levels, and I was in [another international college] and midway through the last term I was like, this is not for me. I'm more of a working guy. I didn't try as hard as I could have done to get better grades, which led me to not get very good results. I felt like there was no more future for me. So I got a full-time job, worked for a gap year, and then I hit a plateau where it's like, I don't like this, this is not what I expected.
I told my aunt, she said, 'I knew you were going to think this way'. So she introduced me to Kings. She said I'd better pick up some pens and start writing because I hadn't picked up a pen for so long! I was being a pizza maker, bartender, a bunch of stuff.
It's very interesting, this school, the support is very nice. Kate, she's my UCAS advisor, and she's helped a bunch because I'm not really good at this stuff. Neither is my family. So, we need an adviser and she's the one who really sealed the deal.
Ken, can you talk a little bit more about the support you got applying for your universities?
Ken: Kate was also my UCAS advisor and first up she gave me a lot of advice on how to choose a subject, to see which subject is suitable for me. She gave me a few options to see which university is good for my subjects and how to make choices. After I made choices, she helped me a lot with my UCAS profile. She was always very supportive to me. Without her I don't think I would have got my university offers.
You two are obviously friends, both from Hong Kong. In your class what sort of other nationalities are there and how has that helped your studies and your development do you think?
Ken: In classes we have students from a few different countries, like South Korea, and Arabic countries. I think it makes us become multicultural and we learn about the difference between countries and the cultural differences.
Max: And surprisingly there's not much of a communication barrier between all the races — we're all alike. I think in the first two weeks everyone just clicked. We're all like, yeah, we know what's up. We want to go out to lunch. So it's very quick and, you know, everyone's quite comfortable with each other.
Would you have any advice for any students who maybe have gone off in one direction and think it's too late to come back and do something like this?
Ken: Yeah definitely. I've known some people who have struggled, they have an unconditional offer but because their parents or guardians don't have enough money to sustain them, they're like sorry you can’t go, you have to stay here and work. And it's really sad to see my good friends carry such knowledge — they're so smart, they're so humble, but then life just doesn't go their way. But then even though that's the case, they still work hard and they still think one day I will get to a university of my liking.
Max, in your case you use the phrase that you wanted to work as a 'professional' rather than just a worker. What do you mean by that?
Max: I feel like a professional job means more like something that you have to go through for a lot of time, and a lot of effort and a lot of practising. As a pizza maker it took me two weeks to learn how to make the dough, to put in the oven. But it's very different when it comes to the subject I want to take, which is Psychology, because there's so much more. You have to be in-depth. You have to understand the concept. You have to talk to people. You have to socialise and get to a higher place where you never thought of, whereas if you're a pizza maker, you make pizza, that is your job. With a professional job, once you have that degree you have so many new opportunities.
Ken, do you think you’re achieving more now than you thought you would?
Ken: Before I came here, when I was in boarding school, I think the class sizes was the issue for me because when you go to class, the teacher wouldn't focus on individuals, they were more like, 'Oh just do that exercise, if you don't understand then ask me'. When I came here the class was way smaller I would say, and the teachers were more supportive.
When I was in Hong Kong, I was quite a top student, but I don't know why, at a point I just stuck and started to go down because in Hong Kong the class size is huge, like 40 people a class. Then when I came here, where the teachers are supportive and positive, you find you can do a lot better than what you expect.