Friday, April 24, 2009

King's College London Life

At King's College London I'd be doing an MPhil/PhD in the School of Social Sciences & Public Policy. I'd mostly be on the Waterloo Campus, which is pictured at left.

The round building behind it is the Imax and in the background you can see the top of the Milennium Eye. Just across the Thames is Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace. So, yeah, it's in the heart of London. Below you'll see a map of two of the campus locations.
As a guy who loves the city, this would be a pretty awesome place to be. I'd take the tube in to school every day and presumably we'd live in some burough on the outskirts. Tomorrow I'll post about the studying I'd be doing, but with this school, let's face it, the main issue is living.

As much as we'd love it, London is not a cheap place to live. We've applied for some International Student Housing (like a flat at York Terrace East, pictured below), but even a two bedroom (which would be cramped to say the least) will run us upwards of 1000 pounds a month. I am a "reserve candidate" for a pretty decent scholarship (which means a few people have to turn them down and then I'm next in line), but I'm not holding my breath.

Cost notwithstanding, this could work out if we found a good area to live in. If we found a good neighborhood with the boys' school and all the amenities in walking distance, well, that could be pretty cool. These are still unknowns. Once we decided what school to attend, I'd need to make a trip out in July or early August to find a place.

My impression is that my family might not be as connected to my school life at King's as it might be at Aberdeen or Edinburgh. They seem to have a few more opportunities for student families to share life together. That's not a reason not to go to King's, but it would put an extra onus on the need to find a good church or community where we could make some friends. That's going to be pretty crucial living on the far side of the sea.


ErinOrtlund said...

Didn't Wes Olmstead study here but live in Cambridge? Could be another way to do it--not that Cambridge would be cheap either but it may be more affordable and community-oriented.

I'll be praying for clarity in your decision! As for provision, well it was amazing to me to see the different ways God provided for other doctoral students in the UK---scholarships, support raising, free places to live, jobs, and yes, student loans. Sometimes they went knowing these things would be there, and sometimes they went in faith and these opportunities opened up once they were there.

Amy said...

Jon - Erin Ortlund set me onto your blog with her comments about you from her "Briercrest Graduation" blog entry. Angie might remember me from the Academic Services office at Briercrest. My husband Ryan used to be a Briercrest prof. "We" did his PhD in England and I couldn't have asked for a better international experience for our family. English life, (maybe just life outside of London) seems slower somehow and we enjoyed every minute of it. May God grant you great wisdom as you process the opportunities before you. And a tip -- thanks in part to a lot of savings beforehand, but even more to a series of friends and family members who committed to supporting us while there, Ryan graduated debt free, without me working outside the home. You might be surprised what those who know you would be prepared to give to you as you prepare for service to the church. This, ideally, is what academics should be - service to God - and the worker is worthy of his wages. Amy O'Dowd

Amy said...

Oh - One more thing. I thought that having a close-knit community of international students was absolutely vital to our living and thriving in England. I don't think that the experience would have been the same without that. We went over thinking it wouldn't seem that foreign - since English was our native language - but it was shocking how "strange" we felt. It was so important to have that support group that knew how we felt.