UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


Taiki Maruyama

Meet Taiki from Tokyo who joined us for the Summer English Course in 2023.

Taiko stood outside the Huntsman shop

What country are you from and where do you study?

I was born in Nagano Prefecture and raised in Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan. I study at the University of Tokyo, which is literally located in Tokyo. 

Why did you choose to study the Summer English Course?

In the first place, I have long wanted to visit London. I was interested in the British culture and history, partly because I have learnt British English, not American, in my home country, but mainly because—I confess—I was impressed when I watched the movie Kingsman. In short, this course looked the best way to visit my mecca.

Obviously, this is merely the ‘hook’. What interested me most was, of course, the content of the course. In the Summer English Course, you can learn a lot about academic writing in as short a period as three weeks. You can learn how to conduct research, write reports, and give presentations—in English.

Furthermore, UCL teachers and students take you around the city from east to west, from north to south. You can visit many sights including museums, skyscrapers, and even lovely theatres!

What are the main differences between studying in your school and studying at UCL?

At UCL, I was able to experience active learning. Not many teachers give lectures in which students can actively involve at my university. The UCL teachers gave opportunity to think us actively with classmates about the topics, which I think lets you deepen your mind.

At first, I had difficulty getting accustomed to this kind of style. I actually prefer the lecture style to the preparation style because all I have to is to take note and remember. But the experience at UCL made me doubt my own viewpoint. We students are supposed to deepen our study so that we can make full use of it in the future. Now I know that active engagement is thus necessary.

What have been the highlights of the course so far and why?

My favourite topic was ‘the Royal Family’. In the course, I listened to a lecture about the history and tradition of the Royal Family. Since the UK and Japan share the existence of the royal families, it was one of the most interesting topics during the course for me as a Japanese.

Which skills have you developed on the Summer English Course?

There were many students from various countries in the course. In such an environment, I was able to communicate with international students and embrace the diversity. By using English as a common language, we exchanged a variety of things during the classes and even during lunchtimes.

Is there anything you enjoyed doing during your free time?

My love and admire of London had added too many plans to my To-Do list. One of the most memorable things was that I had afternoon tea at the Brown’s Hotel (I am a black-tea addict). It was a lifelong memory to have my favourite tea along with scorns covered with pounds of clotted creams, which was in fact my first time.

Furthermore, I visited H. Huntsman & Sons of Savile Row, the model of Kingsman. The tailor is located a few walks from the hotel. I couldn’t buy anything because I am not rich, but I enjoyed photographing in a Kingsman-like suit.

What advice would you give to future Summer English Course students?

You should build an accurate budget with extra money. During a trip in your unfamiliar place, you will encounter unexpected expenses more than once. You should get ready for them well. Also, it would be better to note that inflation, especially in food, is ongoing all over London.