Natalya Shabalina studied the Advanced Level Foundation at Kings before beginning a degree in Economics and Finance at the University of York. We met up with her to find out about how her time at Kings got her to where she is today.
What was the process in deciding on your university?
The teachers helped me a lot to choose my universities. I wouldn’t have been able to do it by myself, They gave me lots of advice, and I spent a lot of time looking through the websites!
What made you decide to do the Advanced Level Foundation at Kings London?
It was just a random decision to come to England. At the time I was thinking about applying to the University of Edinburgh to do a foundation there, but then I changed my mind and decided to do a foundation in London. I had been before and really liked it, so decided to try and apply somewhere there.
What was it that the Foundation offered that you felt you needed?
First of all I wanted to be more confident in my level of English. Secondly I felt I needed to learn some more things, and to spend one year just to live in the country and experience the culture and see how I got on.
Was part of it that you wanted the choice of university at the end of your course?
Yes, it was also a factor. I liked that you are not connected to any university, so you can apply to any university you want. Basically I changed my mind!
"Kings was really helpful for me, especially at the beginning. I really appreciated it so much when I went to my first lectures in university."
What do you think are the most useful skills learnt at Kings?
Kings was really helpful for me, especially at the beginning. I really appreciated it so much when I went to my first lectures in university, and realised how much I knew thanks to Kings. All the concepts in economics I knew from Kings — I didn’t study it at school in my own country. All the things they taught us last year, they prepared us for university life. It’s very different to university in my country.
What aspects of university life are you most enjoying?
I like that everything is online, all the lecture notes and tutorials. It makes a big difference. In my country we don’t really use the internet in this way, but it’s really useful as you can find everything you need. I also like the social side of my life here.
Have the other international students here come straight from school in their country?
Quite a lot of people have, yes. For some of them it’s easier as they came from the US or Canada, but I really appreciated that I did the foundation. It’s much easier for me this year to adapt.
"It's easier to be with international students at the beginning, and to be somewhere where teachers help you a lot too."
Do you know yet what career you’d like?
I’m not sure but I’d like to find a job here — to have some work experience in England just for a while. I also plan to do an internship during the summer, so maybe it will help me to find something after graduating. I can always go back to my country and find a job there, but I’d like to try and stay here. I like the UK.
What would you say to other people from your country who are considering the same path as you?
I would suggest that people come, at least to try this! It’s a completely new experience. Do Foundation or A-level before going to a UK university, especially for people from my country, because it’s so different there. It’s easier to be with international students at the beginning, and to be somewhere where teachers help you a lot too.