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Abdulrahman Elgalassi studied the Advanced Level Foundation at Kings before progressing to Aston University (#24 for Chemical Engineering).

He talked to us about how Kings helped him get there.


Did you always know Chemical Engineering was the degree you wanted to do?

Before I applied to Kings to do the Advanced Level Foundation I wasn’t quite sure what to do. I liked Science since I was a little boy, and Maths was also one of my favourite subjects. I was thinking about doing a Science degree but I wasn’t quite sure which one to do. I considered a couple of them and found that Chemical Engineering was the best one for me.

At the start I didn’t really know what Chemical Engineering is, lots of people think it’s about producing chemicals in industry, which isn’t really true. We get involved in any production — textiles, oil, energy, water, food, drink, almost anything. Chemical engineers all work at these plants.

What kind of jobs can Chemical Engineering graduates go into?

Lots of students like to work in the oil industry — you can earn very high salaries and there are options to work abroad. I did some internet research and I found that Chemical Engineers earn the third highest salaries in the UK. It can be quite tempting! I like Maths and Chemistry, so it was always the model for me though.

Did you have help from your Course Director and UCAS Counsellor in deciding your degree course/ university?

Well when I started the Foundation I was quite determined that I wanted to do Chemical Engineering, but they helped me a lot with the modules I should do. They recommended Physics even though it wasn’t required and I can see the results now — a lot of students didn’t do Physics, since it’s not required they didn’t think they should do it at A-level. I think I’m at an advantage having done it though. It’s a lot easier.

In terms of the more general components of the Foundation, have they been helpful?

Last week I did my first presentation here at Aston, and there were 15 people per group. We were required to do a presentation, and I was one of the people who didn’t hesitate when we were deciding who should do it — even though I’m international and the language could have been a bit of a barrier I gave it a go because I was confident that I had the skills that I learnt at Kings.

"We were required to do a presentation, and I was one of the people who didn't hesitate to do it — even though I'm international, and the language could have been a bit of a barrier, I was confident that I had the skills that I learnt at Kings."

Did it go well?

I think so. It wasn’t as good as the one I did at Kings, but it was quite decent. Only three people from the team volunteered to talk and I was one of them.

Have you enjoyed university life here so far?

Yes, I think it’s a very special experience for me. I kind of had this feeling at Kings, even though it’s not a university, I was in a new country and the teaching system was different to what there is in my country. It’s more tutorials, lectures and laboratories here, like at Kings.

What was it that made you choose Kings as the place to do the Foundation?

When I decided to go for Chemical Engineering, I first looked at foundation courses that some of the universities offered. I thought about it, and applied to more than one place, but at the end I thought Kings would be the best option. Their Foundation is quite similar to A-level, you can pick your own subjects that relate to what you want to do at uni.

It’s quite an intense course, I think more so than other foundation courses compared to what my friends have done, we had to have very good time management skills and work very hard. I also liked Oxford — I did an English course with Kings for three months, and during this time was looking at the various foundation courses.

Would you have been able to go to university straight after school in Libya?

It’s a bit different because in the Libyan high school system we do one year less. I think they prepare you up until AS level, so I had to do one year extra.

"I think if I came straight from my country to uni it would have been more daunting and difficult."

Do you feel the Foundation benefited you in terms of the exposure to British culture?

I think so because that year we got used to the culture and the country as well. We were guided through the procedure to open bank accounts, register with the police. I think if I came straight from my country to uni it would have been more daunting and difficult as I would have had to do all this.

Why did you choose to come to the UK to do your degree?

When I decided to study abroad I wasn’t sure which country to choose I was also considering studying in Germany, since it’s a bit cheaper in terms of tuition fees. Germany was a good option but the thing is I don’t speak German, and it’s difficult for me to learn another language all over again so I was left with the UK.

It was a good option because of the reputation of the universities, British universities are always in the top hundred unis in the world, so their international reputation is very high. It’s tempting for international students to come here.

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The Kings Admissions Team