Five things that make King's Col­lege Lon­don unique

King´s College
All King's College campuses are very centrally located. I study at the Strand Campus. Photo: private

Going abroad was probably the best decision I made in my entire student life. And King's College London turned out to be a uniquely lucky pick - in this article I present the five reasons why.

I would definitely recommend King's College London (KCL) for a semester abroad: having spent a few months here, I can say that it is a truly unique university for several reasons. These, if you ask me, are the most important “special features” – ranked from top 5 to 1.

5 – Teaching methods

At King's College, the professors’ teaching methods are different from those in Germany: there is an even greater focus on autodidactics. In my opinion, whether this is good or bad depends entirely on one’s individual learning style. During ‘reading week’, which takes place once every six months in the middle of the semester, we students can catch up on any content we may have missed and close those knowledge gaps. Those who feel confident with the studying they’ve done, often use the week to visit family and friends or discover the country. The lectures and small study groups, on the other hand, are very much characterised by dialogue, which I like. We often have guest speakers: in our European law lecture, for example, we had the privilege of engaging in dialogue with the Italian ambassador here and asking him questions.

A room to rest at the university.
A specially designed chill-out area to relax on campus during breaks. Photo: private

4 – The feel-good atmosphere

KCL made the settling-in process super easy. The Global Mobility Office responded to of all my questions both via email and directly on site. During my first few weeks, King’s organised a couple of mixers - get-togethers between first-year students and international students. These included speed dating to make friends and boat trips on the Thames. We were also encouraged, should we suffer from homesickness or other emotional worries, to take advantage of up to five free sessions with the college's trained therapists. I think this is very progressive and hope that many universities in Germany will take this as a model!

Maughan Library
When I study at Maughan Library, I feel like I'm at Hogwarts! Photo: private

3 – The campus

Third on my list are the university's various faculty buildings. King's College has five campuses, all in the centre of the metropolis. I have my lectures mainly on the almost 200-year-old Strand Campus. It is located on a road that connects the government district of Westminster with the city centre. Thanks to its central location, I have a wide choice of cafés and delis during my lunch break and restaurants and British pubs after hours.

There is a chapel inside the university that is reminiscent of a classic English church. I use this as a retreat sometimes in between lectures to get some peace and quiet. Every year at Christmas, a large Christmas tree and an ice rink are set up in front of the Strand Campus. I went ice skating there a few times. For exam periods, I get my studying done at the Maughan Library, a neo-Gothic style library reminiscent of Harry Potter's Hogwarts. The buildings and architecture always remind me of the university’s history.

Tobi playing American Football
Me at an American football match. I've made lots of new friends playing sports at KCL. Photo: private

2 – The societies

I have made friends here mainly through the societies, the student clubs here at KCL. If you study here, you have around 300 of these societies to choose from. After all the clubs had introduced themselves at a fair at the beginning of the semester, I realised that I definitely wanted to continue playing football for the university team. I also play American football here and am a member of the poker society. Friends of mine are trying out the baking society, talk about their favourite singer’s lyrics in the Taylor Swift society or learn how to build beats and play sets in the DJ society. I will particularly miss this aspect when I get back to Berlin.

Tobi and a friend in front of London Bridge.
Student life in central London: I'm going to miss it! Photo: private

1 – London!

The thing that makes King's College London really unique for me is its location: London! With 2.5 times the population of Berlin, the British capital is even bigger, and I'm always amazed at how varied one and the same city can be: Just as much as I enjoy strolling through the banking district of Canary Wharf, I like to take a weekend bike ride with friends to the marshlands around Hackney in the north. Cultural sights, such as the British Museum, I reach by riding an e-scooter through Hyde Park. After class, I enjoy strolling through the flea markets of Camden Town, Berlin style, or grab a coffee in the Spitafields neighbourhood. Whether it's art, football, food or museums - London has something for everyone! I already miss the city and will definitely be back soon!

(Published on 5 February 2024)

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