Why I came to London to Study
This is a very broad reason, which is why it’s first on the list. I’ve loved London for a very long time and fancied the idea of studying in the UK first at Oxford when I wanted to be a creative writer. When that dream turned into my current major, I fell away from the idea of studying anywhere other than America never imagining that it would come back. Read more about how I ended up studying in London in my blog post here: xxx
London is an amazing city. It’s truly international, in a way that I would argue no city in America is. There’s an unbelievable amount of things to do, whether you love theater or writing or parks, all of which I do love. There are a huge number of museums of every sort, nearly all of which I hope to visit. History is everywhere here and the buildings are gorgeous. There are also so many opportunities. Because it’s such a large city with so many people, there are large companies that have their bases here. In addition, there are internships, jobs, and resources available because of the nature of the city. And it’s all so close by.
I’m also going to be a bit sneaky and put traveling under this reason, because traveling is made so easy. Nearly everything in Europe is under a 3 hour flight away and there’s a wealth of places to visit around just 1 hour away. Not to mention places actually in the UK. Travel is a lot cheaper because of this and I’ve already seen flights around $30 and as low as $11. A few friends and I are already planning a few short trips that I’m looking forward to.
3 year undergraduate
If you didn’t already know, almost all undergraduate degrees in the UK are 3 years. This is because, with the exception of a liberal arts degree, your program is set out for you and you don’t take any classes outside of your chosen topic. This eliminates all general courses which kind of knocks off a year of study. Of course, that’s not how the difference came about, but that’s how I think of it. Exceptions include some more “Americanized” Universities and programs like a language with a year abroad in the middle.
I loved the idea of finishing in 3 years and because I’m 17 at the start of my degree, I’ll be only 20 when I finish the program which is 2 years earlier than most American students. And the Masters programs over here are only 1 year compared to the American 2 years. Though I don’t know if I’ll stay here for that program as well, it does seem like a very appealing offer.
The only downside that I’ve noticed to this is that undergraduate degrees seem to have a bit less weight on this side of the pond. At least from what I’ve seen. Nearly all competitive jobs require a Masters in the field whereas from what I know in the US, a Masters isn’t always necessary. Masters students are also a lot more integrated into campus life here, not that it’s a downside, though.
The combined degree
This is a very personal reason, since it pertains directly to my degree. I wanted to study International Relations, I knew that was the program I wanted to go into. If I went to an American University, there was a very big chance that I would double major or minor in something, but I always imagined that it would be something music related or in writing. But when I saw the History and International Relations degree at King’s, it just felt right.
This degree splits classes between the two disciplines and I liked the idea of that since to have good relations or to know how to help communities, it’s important to know the history of the area. The degree is also split between two major departments at King’s, the History department and the War Studies department, where International Relations is located. It was a nice idea to have two very powerful and large departments behind me while pursuing my degree. Though I’ve since found out that I’m more based in the History department, this is still something that I’m finding useful.
Easier to get in
Saying that it’s “easier to get in” is definitely oversimplifying it all, but UK Universities do like to see American students. We then become the international students and it boosts their numbers to admit us. We also get to pay a higher tuition fee by law (there’s a cap on how much they can charge UK students) so they’re more inclined to admit us so they get paid more. From what I’ve seen, they also seem to value things differently than American schools, appreciating out of school projects and accomplishments more, which is really nice.
This being said, I don’t want to say that it’s easy to get in. It’s not. You still need great grades and a lot to show for it, but what I’m trying to say is that they like us over here compared to the US where we’re just another US student applying. We’re different and unique over here and that gives us an advantage. And we pay more.
This is another super personal one but it’s one that influenced my decision a lot actually. Like I said in this article here: xxx, I was planning on taking a gap year (or gap couple of years) in Nashville but then just couldn’t pass up on King’s. But the fact that London has an amazing music scene as well, one of the best in the world, really helped convince me. I loved that I could pursue music while getting my degree and work on the two things that I love.