Don’t Be Mistaken! And Enjoy King’s!
‘This academic exchange programme is much more than a King’s College London,’ writes Guilherme Costa Gomes, a first-year student of the Master’s Programme ‘Comparative Politics of Eurasia’ sharing his impressions about the three-month stay in London. What else did he discover and how did he like it there? Here's his essay about the trip.
Don’t be mistaken! This academic exchange programme is much more than a King’s College London. When embarking on this three-month journey to one of the world’s best academic institutions, you will live a full London academic experience; and by that I mean not only fish & chips, double-decker buses and a handful of souvenirs depicting the Queen.
Yes, you will be assigned a mentor from the Russia Institute to assist in your research, usually someone whose expertise is related to your work field. After meeting and discussing your topic with your mentor, you will be lucky enough to pick the location to work on your research. For instance, the usual pick is the astonishing, Hogwarts-like Maughan Library, with its enourmous collections of old and brand new books, miles of halways and bookshelves, open 24x7 (a blessing for night owls like myself), right in the centre of the city. Or maybe you prefer to work in smaller environments, so you can choose another library from one the other four campi spread around the city. But be careful! All the premises are so interesting that you might find yourself bookworming totally different subjects and lose track on your research.
Why is it a complete London academic experience if you have so much to seize at King’s? First off, KCL is part of the University of London system, which means that you are entitled to visit and use library services from 18 other institutions, including University College London (UCL), London School of Economics (LSE), and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
Second, at a walking distance from King’s Bush House is located Pushkin House, a Russian cultural centre holding talks, conferences and events on distinct topics about Russia.
Third, as a result from such proximity to different institutions, you will be in touch with some of the most prominent Russian experts in the West: in a timespan of a month I have been to talks and conferences with the likes of Samuel Greene, Ben Noble, Mark Galiotti and Serhii Plokhi (and even managed to get some signed copies of their books).
And last but no least, whenever feeling like taking a break from Eurasia and cooldown your mind on another subject, you can visit some of the world’s most famous museums—for free—or spend hours scavanging bookstores around the city.
Oh, in the meantime don’t forget to give yourself a treat and have some delicious, high-calorie English breakfast in a greasy spoon. Cheers!
Text by Guilherme Costa Gomes