UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


Jihoon Baek

This is Jihoon, he's from South Korea. After studying the UPC for Humanities with Architecture in 2021, Jihoon progressed to Architecture MSci at UCL. Read more about his experience below.

Jihoon UPC ucl international foundation course student

Why did you choose to study at UCL?

I visited a summer show back in 2019 and that made me desperate to study architecture at UCL.

I felt that the Bartlett School of Architecture, which is a part of UCL, enables students to challenge themselves to be critical and creative in approaching architecture. I was really impressed by the educational environment.

What course do you study now, why did you choose the subject and what is it like?

I am on the Architecture MSci course - this is an integrated Master’s degree which aims to produce professional architects. The main reason for choosing this course was its shortened duration to get accreditation with less money.

We learn different types of software at an earlier stage compared to other undergraduate architecture degrees. Lectures about technology, nature and sustainability are provided, alongside themed projects which develop our practical skills.

How has the UPC helped you in your undergraduate degree?

I learned how to make models and use visual media with the help of the Bartlett faculty. This I think is one of the biggest strengths of the UPC course for prospective architecture students.

In Geography and the Built Environment module, I studied different human geographical ideas as well as architecture concepts. This benefited me in my undergraduate degree.

What was the biggest challenge you faced during your time on the UPC?

For elective modules, the course required me to write two 2,500 essays, which I had not tried before. But thankfully, module tutors helped me to refine the essays' focus and guided me to write better.

It was helpful to get support from UPC tutors every time I was faced with an unfamiliar academic issue.

What advice would you give to a prospective UPC student?

I would say that you should have enough budget for living, as paying rent or having take-away food is quite expensive in London.

Food ingredients are cheap, so cook at home if you can. This will enable you to save further money so that you can buy things that you actually need with less financial pressure.

What is it like to live and study in London?

I was confused at first to be honest, as there are so many cultures and ethnicities within the city, unlike Seoul. That also meant I had to grow a sense of consideration to others.

I cherish the memory I have of London, as the city enabled me to experience various cultures, as well as a quality educational environment which would have been hard to feel if I was staying in Korea.

How is the UK education system different to your home country?

Unlike in Korea where students are not asked to engage in the class actively, the UK system embraces students’ participation and their voice.

I feel the relationship between the tutors and students is fairer and more open than that of mine.

I am pleased with my experience in the UK education system where being critical is considered as a contribution, not an interference.

Have you lived in UCL accommodation?

I lived in John Dodgson House, which is a fairly old student hall. Nevertheless, my living experience was positive as I made many friends from different departments and this enabled me to soak in university life successfully.

Staying in the university hall was super helpful when struggling to make friends in the time of COVID.