Sofia Rodriguez studied the Advanced Level Foundation at Kings and is now at the University of Southampton studying Psychology and Criminology.
Hi Sofia. What brought you to the University of Southampton?
My tutor back in Oxford helped me to decide which universities were best for my course, and Southampton is one of the best, so thank God, I got in! I’m really enjoying it right now.
What is your degree?
I’m doing Psychology and Criminology, so a double major. Psychology is the study of the mind, and how people behave — there are a lot of aspects to it. Criminology focuses more on the criminal justice system, prisons, police, crimes, criminals and so on. I think in the future you can work in the police, or helping the police, or as a psychologist. You have a range of things you can do in the future.
How did Kings help you get where you are today?
I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Kings. They seriously changed my life completely. The staff are really helpful, every time I had a problem I could run to them and they would help me immediately. For example Adam (my course director), if it wasn’t for him, I really wouldn’t be here! They help you every step of the way, so you’re not alone in the process, especially because you’re alone without your family. They support you in every way, it doesn’t have to be academic, they also support you if you’re feeling homesick, or sick — it really makes you feel at home and they always want you to give your best so it’s really good.
"I wouldn’t be here if it wasn't for Kings. They seriously changed my life completely. They help you every step of the way."
What help did you get with the university application process?
For me that process was really hard, as I didn’t know anything about universities here — obviously, coming from the other side of the world! The system is completely different. Each teacher explained how the systems works, and gave us useful websites where you can investigate and do research.
I had trouble deciding which universities to choose, because you have a million choices, but Adam helped me to understand what I wanted, and what the best options for me were to accomplish what I wanted. They really helped me through the entire process and gave me a lot of tools, and a lot of talks and a lot of information.
Did you have to have an interview for this university?
No, it was just an application. I had to write a personal statement — I did a lot of drafts, a lot! I didn’t know what to write as you don’t have to do a personal statement in my country! They give you special classes and depending on what you’re struggling with, they teach you what to write, and what universities are usually looking for in a personal statement, which really helped me. They really help you through the whole process.
If you were talking to a friend back in Venezuela, what you would you say to them about Kings?
I would definitely recommend Kings, Oxford especially! It’s amazing. I had the best experiences there, I grew up so much academically and personally and I met a lot of people who made me who I am now. It’s just amazing. I don’t regret it at all.
It is scary, but the scary choices that you make are the best ones in the end! Yes, I was scared to death but it made my life so much better, really.
What’s it like being a student from South America at university here in the UK?
It is hard at the beginning to adjust to a totally different place, people, weather, food, influences, but I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy before. I’m only 19 but I think this is my best year so far! I’ve been learning so much, not just in my course, but about how to live, being on my own, meeting new people, different cultures. It’s crazy how much you learn. I don’t know how to explain it but it’s such a wonderful feeling.
How do you think you might use your degree? Are you using it as a way to find out what you want to do?
I think everyone does that because you never know what your degree is about until you're doing it. Right now I’m in my second semester, and so far I really enjoy it. Maybe I’ll end up doing something related to my course, but maybe I’ll find something totally different. This will always help me to complete my abilities, to give me more options and not limit myself. It’s always helpful.
What would you say to your teachers at Kings about your journey?
That I would never have done this without you! They gave me so much. They’re like family now for me. Thank you very much!