Artistic aspirants from all walks of life find their place at Kingston University London. Destynee Oakley from New York City found much more. She discovered a strong international community filled with both local and foreign students looking to gain not just a top-tier qualification, but cultural perspectives as well. In small classrooms bursting with passionate discussions, she forged even more enduring connections.
Life off-campus was just as vibrant. With Friendsgiving dinners, post-class coffee dates, impromptu karaoke nights, Taco Tuesdays and Thursdays at O’Neill’s filling their schedules, Oakley and her peers have never been short of excitement.
The hustle and bustle of Central London –– which is just a stone’s throw away from campus –– kept this New Yorker in her element throughout her studies. “I tried to take advantage of being just a walk away from so many things,” she shares. “I slowly started to feel like I was a local.”
As part of her Creative Writing MA, Oakley had many opportunities to share her experiences through pictures, videos, and of course, the written word –– her favourite of which was the paid role of International Student Vlogger. The litterateur reminisces working on the platform as an invaluable experience that developed her skills in ways traditional methods could never.
Stories like Oakley’s truly convey what a Kingston University London student experience entails. This top 40-ranking institution is home to a diverse group of 18,949 students, representing over 140 countries. Each is excited to share their journey and no two stories are ever the same.
Fellow wordsmith and International Student Vlogger, Amanda Zazueta from California pursued a Creative Writing and Publishing MA. She chose to study at Kingston to bridge the gap between the technical and creative elements of professional writing — a rarity in academia. However, it is a combination Kingston University London knows best. Amanda gained the exposure to prove it.
“What I’ll miss most about studying at Kingston is definitely the opportunities that I was given,” she shares. “I was able to volunteer and attend different events related to publishing. I also wouldn’t have started writing what I’m working on if it wasn’t for workshops and the invaluable critique, criticism, and suggestions from my teachers and fellow students.”
Clearly, Kingston is the ideal institution for budding creatives. It placed third in the UK and top in London for education, fashion and textiles; first in the UK for design and crafts; and first in London for media and film studies, plus journalism, publishing, and public relations. It ranks among the UK’s top 40 overall, according to the 2020 and 2021 editions of the Guardian University Guide.
Accolades prove Kingston’s ability to offer quality education. Visit the campus and you’ll find the facilities that make this possible. For I-Ling Lai from Taiwan, it was Kingston’s campus offerings that sealed the deal. Choosing the Fine Art MFA meant securing an allocated studio space to practise her craft. What more could an art enthusiast ask for?
“Kingston has an excellent library and makes finding art-related books and magazines easy to access,” Lai explains. “The university is also in a great location close to Central London, meaning there are plenty of opportunities to browse various museums and art galleries.”
Those interested in more future-focused areas of study are equally spoiled for choice in a university surrounded by inspiration. For example, Advait Naik from India is studying a Product & Furniture Design MA at the Kingston School of Art. Since joining, he has been able to create products that are “grounded in research but sparked by creativity.”
State-of-the-art tools contributed heavily to his growth. “The ‘thinking through making’ ideology was reflected through access to many amazing spaces such as the 3D workshop which houses every kind of machinery imaginable; the Digital Making workshop with its high-tech 3D printers; and the Photography Studio, where we take portfolio-worthy shots!” he enthuses.
“The technicians in the workshops are very friendly. They guide me through the process with genuine interest.”
With expert guidance, fully-stocked spaces, a welcoming community, and an ideal location –– it’s no wonder many students go on to achieve outstanding outcomes with their Kingston qualification. Many are even sparking positive change with their newfound knowledge.
Take Chevening Scholar Lara Machado, for instance. She studied the Curating Contemporary Design MA (in partnership with the Design Museum) before co-founding Arca Fine Arts. The social enterprise focuses on training migrant women to produce fine art prints through workshops.
By learning to curate and build her professional profile through the Design Museum and alongside institutions such as the Architectural Association, British Council, Gallery Fumi and the Royal Academy of Arts –– Machado developed all the right skills.
“Studying at Kingston has really helped me think critically, increase my knowledge of the UK creative industry, expand my professional network, and make lifelong friends,” she says. “It was a once in a lifetime experience.”