Rong (Gladys) studied the Advanced Level Foundation at Kings before progressing to the University of Edinburgh to study Landscape Architecture.
She talked to us about her degree course, and how her time at Kings prepared her for university life.
What course are you doing here in Edinburgh and how are you finding it so far?
I’m doing Landscape Architecture. So far it’s been an interesting course — really fun, and it contains loads of subjects. You have to work with plants, plus there’s ecology, and also geology, and you have to think about money-related issues because you’ll be working in a company (eventually).
What subjects did you do on your Foundation at Kings?
I did CSS, Data, Mathematics, Geography and Art.
The course is very interesting but probably not very common. Did you always know that this is what you wanted to do?
Yes. This was my goal before I came to Britain. I wanted to go to the University of Sheffield for Landscape Architecture, but when I applied I tried for two courses and they offered me a place on the one I didn’t really want. So I decided to come here.
Did you have help from the team at Kings Oxford?
Yes, they helped me a lot with the personal statement and also the recommendations.
"Before I came to Kings, I never had any art courses in China, so I didn’t have any drawing or modelling classes before. It's why I chose the Kings course specifically."
Why did you want to come to the UK to do your degree?
Firstly because I love Europe. Also because of the landscape thing — before I decided to come abroad, I already decided to study for landscape architecture and I think Britain is quite famous for this, especially the gardens and stately homes.
Tell me about the different components of your course.
In the first semester, we get used to what landscape is — what we are going to do, how to measure it, how to express the things we see on paper. Then we turn to how to design it, how to express your ideas, how to use the vertical elements like trees, and express that in space. In the second semester we turned to working with the council — we shared ideas through projects, then had a final exhibition in the council offices and they told us how it went.
What have you enjoyed most about the course?
I’ve enjoyed the communication, sharing ideas and chatting with the other students.
What aspect of your course at Kings have you found most useful?
I think Art and CSS (Communication and Study Skills). Before I came to Kings, I never had any art courses in China, so I didn’t have any drawing or modelling classes before. It’s why I chose the Kings course specifically.
Did you enjoy your Kings experience?
Yes, I did. It’s only one year but we got close to each other quickly, and things like CSS really helped with my language.
Do you think those international students on your degree course who came straight from school in their country have found it harder than you?
Yes, because they never did essays or anything like that. Quite a lot of people failed Geology because the teacher is very serious and strict with the essay system — especially with how to reference things properly.