Tae Young Kim is a South Korean student who is studying on the 10 month ICC International Foundation Programme. He writes about his first impressions of the diversity and cultures he has found at SOAS and in London.
Studying at SOAS for the past three months has been one of the most delightful experiences in my life. I am currently studying Politics and Law at SOAS IFCELS’ International Foundation Programme (ICC). The lectures on the ICC programme are insightful and compelling, and the lecturers have extensive background knowledge of the subjects that they teach. Lectures cover significant theories, concepts, and cases on a par with the level of general undergraduate studies in the UK.
Even if students did not fully understand the lecture due to their English language abilities or complexity of the content itself, there is nothing to worry about. Well-qualified English language teachers carry out lecture review classes, assisting students to comprehend advanced vocabulary and concepts covered in the lecture. In academic English classes, teachers provide support about academic essay writing skills, note taking skills, and other practical study skills that are directly applicable. Through the ICC programme, students can develop specific knowledge regarding the subject of their own interest as well as English language abilities and study skills.
Living in a foreign country for the first time can be difficult. Apart from studying, there are so many new things to do such as arranging visas, banking, housing, health care, and much more. SOAS has an amazing international student support system. When I was struggling with my visa application, they provided me with step-by-step guidelines to follow. During the introduction week, there were informative sessions for international students about adapting to life in the UK, places to seek help, and necessary tasks to perform to enjoy benefits as a student.
Although I am living in a foreign country, I do not feel excluded at my university. SOAS is all about diversity. I had never interacted with this many people from different parts of the world before I came to SOAS.
The school library has an extensive collection of books in foreign languages; I was extremely pleased to be able to find a way to appreciate literature in my mother language whilst staying in the UK. Becoming a member of SOAS student societies is a perfect way to socialise and stay healthy. I have taken mindfulness and relaxation yoga class provided by the SOAS Yoga Society. Despite the fact that I am a complete beginner in yoga, people were welcoming, and the class was easy to follow.
At the Law careers fair, I also signed up for the SOAS Law Society since I am planning to study Law for my undergraduate degree. Through the Law Society, I was able to get access to practical information about job opportunities and law networking events.
London is ranked in first place in the QS Best Student Cities of 2019, and I wholeheartedly agree with these results. London is home to many successful academics, and the city has abundant academic resources; friends that are studying World Art and History simply take a stroll down to the British Museum or National Gallery to appreciate the cultural heritage that they have studied in class.
Being a SOAS student grants access to most of the libraries within the University of London. My favourite place to read is the Senate House Library, which has magnificent interior design and a quiet environment to study. Proximity to continental Europe is definitely a plus of living in London. Thanks to low cost airlines, travelling to Europe is often cheaper than domestic travel. I cannot wait to go skiing in the French Alps during the Christmas break.
SOAS’ ICC International Foundation Programme is a great way to start an academic career in the UK for international students. The knowledge and skills acquired through the ICC foundation programme gives us the confidence and momentum to be successful in further studies. The environment and location of SOAS is ideal for studying and enjoying social life. I am grateful to start my academic career in such an exceptional school in this marvellous city and I am absolutely looking forward to what lies ahead.
- Find out more about IFCELS
- Find out more about ICC International Foundation Programme
- Find out more about studying International Law on ICC
- Undergraduate Foundation Course ICC Brochure (pdf; 1732kb)