I had a university fair at my school (I live in Qatar) and Kent had a stand there. I saw that it has courses accredited by the CMI, it has a huge campus and, as a bonus, the University is only 50 minutes by train away from London.
I looked at three courses – International Business, Marketing and Management. I felt Management covered the areas I’m most interested in. It seemed very focused and straight to the point, and it also had the least amount of maths content, as I’m not very good at maths. So I applied straightaway and I visited the UK before making my final choice. I came to Kent and was given a tour of the whole university; I was amazed by the campus and the facilities, especially the Sibson Building [where Kent Business School is based], which had only just opened then. It is so huge and modern – and so is the library. I liked that there are lots of international students, and the way the course is taught met my expectations, so all those are reasons why I finally chose Kent.
I knew that I couldn’t go straight into the first year of a degree course because I didn’t have the requirements. My agent in Qatar organised my applications for foundation programmes.
It did help because at my school we didn’t do presentations, we didn’t write long assignments – the most I had ever had to write was about 700 words. I didn’t know how to do citations. I just wasn’t prepared to start a degree but I feel that the foundation year filled the gap for me.
Through my school I had spent three months on an exchange programme in Bath, and I also spent a month on a summer camp. From that time I knew I wanted to study in the UK: I loved the people, I love the country, everyone’s so welcoming. It’s so nice, honestly.
I lived on campus, in Keynes College. It was good but my best friend was living in Turing and that was even better. Even the laundrette in Turing is luxurious! I liked Keynes because it is very central and the restaurant in Keynes (Dolche Vita) is my favourite place to eat on campus.
Yes, anything I needed help with – if I had an assignment and didn’t know what to focus on - I would always book office hours and they would help me. I felt really shy about doing this at the beginning because I wasn’t used to talking to the teachers in this way at school. But I thought ‘OK, it’s there for a reason so I’m going to book the office hour’ and it helped me so much.
I never had any issues but I know the wellbeing support was there if I needed it. I know that Kent takes mental and physical health issues really seriously.
My favourite moment was getting 85 for my business module. Our seminar leader had said right at the start ‘Don’t expect to get a first because it’s very hard to achieve’ and then I got 85! I didn’t even realise how well I had done, I thought 85 was normal, or even bad, until my seminar leader called me in and told me it was such a good achievement and he was very proud of me for doing so well.
I’m back in Qatar because of the pandemic. Up until then, I was enjoying life at Kent so much and I took advantage of so many facilities. I completed a course in French and I’ve continued with learning the language. I took part in the Business Start Up Journey initiative, I joined the Arab Society and Kent Business Society, and I had friends from different countries. I had so much fun. Now I’m studying online to finish my degree and hoping to start a Master’s in fashion marketing in London in September. Eventually my plan is to set up my own luxury brand of footwear.
Read more about Andrina’s experiences on her Management degree here.