Kyleigh is a Psychology with Education BSc student, class of 2020, from Canada. She talks to us about her experience of moving to London and settling in at UCL.
Why our Psychology with Education BSc?
I applied to different universities around the country but UCL was the London university I chose because of the programme. I found the Psychology with Education BSc really special because it is a multidisciplinary course in Psychology and Education and it is also accredited by the British Psychological Society which makes it very attractive if I want to go into a clinical setting or do a Masters later on. I was debating between becoming a teacher or going into clinical psychology or therapy so this programme was the perfect match for me.
UCL had a really good reputation and I read about its very wide body of international students; as I am an international student I wanted to choose an institution that accepted diversity and thrived on it. I think I made the right choice!
What were your first impressions of UCL?
It is very pretty, I love the architecture. I walked into the main library in the first week and I immediately thought of Hogwarts from the Harry Potter franchise. It is really friendly as well, the staff immediately welcomed us to UCL and to London, and told us if we needed anything then just ask. I felt very welcome.
What have you found most valuable about your degree programme?
The people. Our teachers are at the top of their fields and we have people coming in from all over the world to teach us and I think that is such a privilege. I have also really enjoyed the resources that the programme gives me access to: you get to read all this current, updated research in psychology and education and it is very exciting. Also you get to meet really cool people, be it at university or just in London.
What is the biggest challenge you face while studying?
I’ve been told not to worry about it, but financially it is really steep. The other biggest challenge is I am from a very tightknit family so I have never lived on my own before and it is difficult not being with my family all the time and also the amount of reading you have to do!
How have you been supported during your time at UCL?
I’ve met a really good group of friends here and they have really helped me out. My personal tutor has definitely supported me - she is also the programme leader, she is amazing! Just knowing that there is somebody at university that is there for me and can direct me to more help if I need it is really reassuring.
That's Evi Katsapi. She recently won a UCL award for Active Student Partnership (in the 2018 UCL Education awards)...
She is just so warm and patient. She is such a busy woman but if you email her and ask her for help on something she will see you, she will make you a priority. She is just a very genuine person and you know she wants to help you because she keeps saying “I am here if you need me, please just come by”. She is always there for everybody and I don’t know how she does it. I am so glad that she won that award!
What do you hope to do after completing your degree?
Right now I am debating between being a music therapist or a primary school teacher for children with special educational needs. I just emailed my personal tutor and she told me that the careers service were going to host another workshop or career fair for our programme specifically because they wanted to try and tailor it for psychology with education. I also go to volunteer and career fairs whenever I can and I get daily updates from the careers service so I can look through what opportunities are available.
I really like the fact that UCL is merged with the Institute of Education (IOE). For one I don’t have to trek to my lectures and seminars, they are all in the same building and it has just really nice facilities. For instance the IOE has recently opened new student study spaces and people have already started to make it their own. There are also lots of open classrooms and lots of computers to use. I tend to study in the IOE during the week, rather than at home, there are some really nice cafes across the street which make it a great study spot.
Tell us what it is like to live and study in London.
Expensive! But also really really cool! I love the free museums, there are a lot of things that are free and you get student discounts. It is a beautiful city – there are so many parks and the tube is faster than any form of public transportation I have ever lived around. And the musical scene is amazing – I saw 11 musicals last year, I aim to see 15 this year! It is an expensive city though so I have to keep an eye on available part-time jobs.
Have you done any extra-curricular things so far?
I joined UCL’s music society last year and through the Facebook page, I was given the opportunity to apply to be a blind piano student’s assistant. He would travel from Cambridge to King’s Cross then to Hammersmith to get to Roehampton University for his lessons so I assisted him with his journey. I would not have even thought of searching for those kinds of opportunities if I hadn’t joined a UCL society so that was really cool. I am thinking of joining more societies so I can continue to get these unique opportunities.
I am also a transition mentor for first years on my programme. The mentors are allocated a group of students and we try to meet with them for an hour a week for sessions to go over tips on how and where to study and we get feedback on the course and UCL as a whole which we feedback to the staff and hopefully that is then acted upon to improve the programme. I am going to apply to be a tutor for children with autism next term.
What do you do when you’re not studying?
I sing with the London Youth Choir and just this past week I sang in the Royal Albert Hall to 3,500 people which was really cool. I swim at student central which is a five minute walk from the IOE building. I also volunteer in Surrey on the weekends with children with autism. And I hang out with friends and I have two plants that I am determined to keep alive!
How do you think the system of learning/researching at UCL differs from that in your home country?
Here you have to take a lot of initiative in your own learning and you still do in Canada but there you are given little chunks at a time whereas here you are given a topic and you have a week to learn about it and then come back and discuss it and then the next week we go on to something different. The pace here is quite quick but I really like the freedom that we are given to explore concepts and obviously the teachers are there to clarify thing should we need it. I really like it and it has really improved my organisation, motivation and work ethic.
What would you say to somebody thinking of applying to the IOE to study your course?
You are going to love it! It is a brilliant course because it literally takes psychology and education and tries to make it into one and it is applied psychology in a nutshell. It is really cool how you can take what you are learning and the staff apply it for you into the real world and how you can help people with it. It is just a genius course and you will meet really brilliant people who share the same passions as you so you will really find your people here.