Mai Anh Pham (Juliey) completed the Advanced Level Foundation at Kings before starting a degree at the University of Surrey (#23). We met up with her to find out about her university experience, and how her time as a student at Kings has most helped in her.
What course are you doing and what programme did you take at Kings?
I’m currently doing an undergraduate degree in Media Studies with Film Studies. At Kings, I took the Advanced Level Foundation Course, with Politics, Geography and Business as my elective subjects, along with Data and Communication & Study Skills being compulsory modules.
Was there one module that you enjoyed the most?
It’s really hard to choose to be honest! I enjoyed them all equally, thanks to the teachers’ appealing style of teaching and the friendly, interactive environment Kings offered.
I found Geography really fascinating because it covered a wide variety of contemporary topics that the media delivers everyday, for example, immigration. So Geography was very useful in terms of widening our social knowledge.
I enjoyed Business lessons a lot, particularly because of our teacher Kresimir. He was a businessman for many years and in each lesson, he would tell us about his past experience in the business, relating them to a specific topic that we were focusing on, which was brilliant.
Politics was indeed compelling and beneficial for me personally. Media (my major) and politics have such a strong connection, and I decided to choose Politics as I was eager to find out how one shaped and mirrored the other. It’s known as a difficult and text-heavy module, but you will acquire such invaluable knowledge and develop your critical thinking, analytical writing and research skills, which are very essential at university.
Data was quite similar to Maths actually, which was never my 'thing'. But at Kings I found my interest in Data/ Maths and had a very good result, thanks to my teacher Jonathan, who never put pressure on his students, and knew how to make his classes stimulating.
CSS was definitely useful in that it had helped me improve my English: communication and presentation skills.
"I enjoyed all the subjects equally, thanks to the teachers' appealing style of teaching and the friendly, interactive environment Kings offered."
When you came to choose your university options, who did you talk to at Kings?
I consulted Melrose, the UCAS officer and my course director Adam. They gave me good information and advice about the universities, but could never tell me which one I should go to, but to choose the one that I felt happy with and right for me. I understood as it was a big no for their role as advisors. It’s always the student’s choice. No one knows us better than we do and it’s we who will decide our future.
Why did you choose Surrey?
The first thing I thought about when choosing my university options was the programme I wanted to do and the universities’ rankings. I guess it’s the same for most of other students. So I did lots of research on the universities’ websites, and found that Surrey offered Media major/ minor courses from this year. I thought it’d be absolutely enchanting to not only study Media, what I’ve oriented myself towards since high school, as a major; but also have a chance to do a minor subject that I’m interested in, which is Film Studies. I’m just so passionate about cinema.
I took a campus tour at the university. I immediately fell in love with the lovely, little Guildford town right at the first time I came, although it was raining heavily that day. People here were so open and supportive, making me feel very welcome. The location is very ideal, very close to London and not really far from Oxford. I could also go travelling to nearby cities at weekends.
Is it a three or four year course you’re doing?
It’s a three-year, but I’m thinking of changing to a four-year programme with a placement/ abroad study year. This would be a great opportunity to widen my network and gain experience in the media world.
Do you know what career you’d like to pursue?
Media is such an immense field, and in this course I get to learn a lot of transferable skills to do a wide arrange of jobs: marketing, PR, advertising, journalism, event organising, media planning, etc.
I think I’d most like to do something relating to marketing and PR — promoting a product, an event, a movie, a celebrity, for instance. I’m thinking that I can even be a movie critic, after graduating with knowledge and experience in both media and cinema.
"When living here I had really discovered myself and found out who I wanted to be, without being limited by anything or anyone."
What made you want to come to the UK to do your study, and to choose the Kings Foundation programme?
Honestly, I’ve always had in mind that the UK has the best education in the world, perhaps partly owing to my Mom who worked at the British Council for quite a long time, who oriented me towards studying abroad, and benefiting from such excellent education like the UK’s. I have to thank her so much for giving me such an amazing opportunity to be here today.
But of course it’s not just because of my Mom. As I grew up I became more and more interested in Great Britain – the country, the culture, the people, the accent!
Although I had already had an idea of what I wanted to do in future before I came to Britain, when living here I had really discovered myself and found out who I wanted to be, without being limited by anything or anyone.
Before deciding to come to Kings, I had gone to numerous UK education fairs in Hanoi and met one of the Kings representatives. After talking to her and doing research on Kings Education, I was absolutely impressed by the quality Foundation programme, being recognised by top universities. One of the things making a Kings Foundation course special and beneficial is that it’s so similar to a university degree, and it carefully prepares students for higher education, so that we won’t feel like a fish out of water in university.
I chose Oxford because I liked the city’s ancient history and thought it was a very good environment to study as it wasn’t too busy or too quiet. During the time I lived and studied there, I realised Oxford was so much more than that. It’s a peaceful and pretty town with extraordinary sights and at the same time has crazy nightlife! Oxford is where I met such incredible people: my friends, host family, teachers and so many unforgettable memories were made here. I can never regret choosing Oxford, and the time I had there is undoubtedly one of the best times of my life.