Taking GCSEs and After School Clubs at Kings London
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Tung, but people here call me Tom. I'm 15 years old and I come from Vietnam.
What are you studying at Kings?
GCSEs. I spent the last year before doing my high school entrance exams dreaming about studying abroad. Then my mum and I went to an agent who explained everything to us and went through the requirements and helped me apply. They require a minimum 5.5 IELTS and an interview with the school and a Maths test and like a health check.
What made you decide to come to Kings and to do the course you're doing?
Well, because I thought there would be good teachers like Liz and Louisa that you can talk to and not feel so strict. In my country, if you ask questions the teachers think you are stupid. Here you can have lots of discussions and I really like that. It's more open.
How is your course going now you are in London?
I think everything has been good so far. Since I came here, I’ve found that at school, teachers will help you with questions, it is undeniable that they are the best sources of information. However, to achieve a decent grade, hard work along with self-study skills are required.
Where are you staying here? Are you happy in your accommodation?
I've been staying in a host family. They are LOVELY! Whenever I come back from school I sit down with the kids and watch cartoons, and her food is amazing actually. Also, the other day they were asking about my baby pictures so I showed them some and she said, "Can I keep these two?" And I said yes and she put it right next to the baby pictures of her sons. It's so cute. My home!
Have you taken part in any extracurricular activities at Kings? If you have, what have been the highlights?
I love clubs! I joined Spanish club, Debating, Global Citizen and Business. All are amazing!
In Business club me and my friends got to debate and also plan our own business with a minimum start of 30 pounds that Frank gave us. And I actually did! I drew Harry Potter pictures and sold them here at school.
And as for Spanish club we always talk about different cultures and sometimes we get to eat different foods which I love! We don’t just learn the language.
And for Debating, it was really cool. For Debate Night, I was the chairman, kind of just telling people to shut up! It was a fresh experience because for me I had never gone somewhere and stood up in front of people and make a speech. It was a great night. I feel much more confident now.
Have you made any friends?
Yes, a lot indeed. I suppose that may be because of the Kings environment, it's not too big and modern like others and it brings people closer together. It's not hard to make friends here, there are clubs and after-school activities which allows students to stay and get to know their new friends better.
What do you think about the school's location in Beckenham? Do you spend much time in central London?
The location in Beckenham is amazing. It only takes 20 minutes to get to central London and the place itself is not as noisy as it is in central. I really enjoy it. Besides the academic schedule at school, I often go to Foyles (bookstore) on the weekend to read books or may be to hang around with my friends.
Have you found any good places to shop around London?
Well for me I love to shop, and especially near Christmas Oxford Street is so cool with the decorations, but there are too many tourists! I love Westfield (shopping centre) and trying different brands. So I'd recommend Westfield more because Oxford Street is also freezing cold in winter!
What is the main difference between Kings London and the school you went to in your home country?
Well at Kings London, the teachers give us more opportunities to speak up and they do respect our words. Not to mention I get to choose my subjects when I do the A-levels course but in Vietnam, it is compulsory for me to take 10 subjects, which can be seen as a waste of time.
What would you say to anyone considering coming to Kings to study?
Come to Kings, I promise it will be a wonderful experience as long as you don't expect too much. Jusk kidding! (Laughs) Relax and have fun but of course work hard as well.
Was this your first time in the UK? Was it what you expected?
OK, so before I came here, I thought the weather was supposed to be better. I thought it was going to be sunny like this European weather they've all been telling me about. I was expecting snow as well, fortunately it snowed this year and I got to make snowballs and have snow fights. It was amazing, I just can’t describe it with words!
What are people like compared to your home country?
Oh believe me they are too nice! In my country if you ask people the way, like, "Excuse me, do you know where the Old Quarter is?", they’ll say it's right there, and show you the way to the women toilet!
What has been your favourite moment at Kings?
Probably when I got to debate with my friends in Debating club as we just debated without any barriers such as age, background, etc. at all. I have to say that I have learnt a lot from my dear friends.
Would you recommend London as a destination for other students?
Absolutely. I love Business and London is a business city and I'd love to observe how these businesses work, how they compete with each other. For example, if you go to the north and study, maybe it will be more intense studying but you won't have the same experience, real life experiences. In London you can spend time with your friends, and it only takes 20 minutes to get to central London.