Melissa Bilambo studied the Advanced Level Foundation at Kings before taking up a place at Durham University (#7) to study Economics and Management. Here, she tells us about her experience at university, and in the UK, so far.
Hi Melissa. Why did you choose this course and this university?
I chose this university because it had a really good ranking, and I enjoyed the college system that it had and it had a lot of different societies I could join so I could continue with the hobbies I enjoy while at university. I chose the course because I was always really interested in how business worked and I really wanted to go into finance in the future so I thought Economics would give me a good foundation and base before going into finance.
How did Kings help you to get here?
Kings really helped me with my Economics knowledge and it prepared me in Maths as well — I didn’t know Economics had that much Maths, and the Maths I learnt at Kings really helped me with that. It also helped me get used to the whole exam system and having end of term exams on everything you learnt during the year, that was really useful.
How did going to Kings before university help you to adjust to university life?
It really helped me because I was coming from Congo, so it was kind of a culture shock in terms of weather, climate, just how life was. I think going to Kings really helped me settle in, which allowed me to feel much more comfortable at university, rather than having to be new at university and having to settle in all at the same time.
"I think going to Kings really helped me settle in, which allowed me to feel much more comfortable at university."
What is it like to study at a British university?
I’ve really enjoyed it. I think they have a good balance between the studies and the hobbies and activities you can join. We also have a pretty good tutoring system and we get a lot of help and support both from all the students and the teachers and lecturers. We each have someone to advise us, and it’s really been good here.
What’s the best part of being a student at university?
I think it’s all the opportunities we have and in this university especially we have a lot of support and advice, and we get a lot opportunities to meet up with companies for our future, which is really good. Also we have a really good social life, a lot of activities. There are hundreds and hundreds of societies, you can try a lot of new things.
"I would recommend Kings, especially if you're not used to the education system in the UK. Kings is a very good bridge for that."
What advice would you give to other international students considering studying in the UK?
The first (bit of) advice I would give is doing a lot of research into the universities, the courses, and how it’s carried out — the option modules you may have and whether it’s flexible to do exactly what you want. Also being aware of the fees, which can change.
I would recommend Kings, especially if you’re not used to the education system in the UK. Kings is a very good bridge for that and it will help you prepare and settle in before having to come to university.
What are you planning on doing after university?
While at university I’m going to apply for different internships, which will allow me to see different job opportunities and the life at work. I’m hoping to join the financial sector in a big company one day and work my way through finance.
"Coming to the UK has helped me be aware of different cultures, which I think could be very useful in the future."
How has coming to the UK and studying here changed you as a person?
Coming to the UK has helped me be aware of different cultures, which I think could be very useful in the future, when I work - because a lot of work places now have people from all sorts of different backgrounds.
Obviously having grown up in the Congo I have been accustomed to a different way of working and so on, so being in the UK has given me a more diverse knowledge of how different things are carried out.