Ben Tran takes us through an average week, and offers some advice for people about to begin their studies.
“Really put yourself out there. Join societies as it will really help with making friends. There are plenty of societies at Kent. There is something there for everyone.”
How does an average week look for you?
My weekly life consists on mainly attending my seminars and studying in the Templeman library. Studying history there is a lot of reading so generally I will be spending most of my week doing that. I don’t spend much one to one time with staff, however, when needed staff will always be able to schedule me in as soon as possible.
How many contact hours are on your course? Is this easy to manage and balance with your social life/work life?
As a history student I generally have somewhat fewer contact hours on my course. In my first year I had 4 one hour lectures a week and 4 one hour seminars a week. That changed when I got into my second year. In my second year I had 2 one hour lectures and 2 two hour seminars a week. The number of contact hours stayed the same between both the autumn and spring term
Now that I am currently in my third year my contact hours changed between the autumn and spring term. In the autumn term I had 1 one hour lecture and 3 two hour seminars per week. In my spring term I only have 2 two hour seminars per week
The contact hours per week may seem little but there is a lot of reading and seminar preparation involved. Nevertheless I kept to a routine which helped me and allowed me to have a social life
How many different modules do you cover over the week?
In my first year I covered 4 different modules in week. These were like survey courses which allowed me to delve into various different types of history. These narrowed down when I got into my second year where I did two modules a week. These modules were more in-depth and more content heavy. In my final year of my first term I coved two modules. One which is a special subject that runs for two terms where I am really able to go into detail about a specific area of history. In the spring term besides my special subject I also have a dissertation where I was able to choose almost any part of history granted there was an academic staff at Kent who covered that area.
Does your course have any special facilities that you can use?
History allows me to use the special collections at the Templeman Library. It definitely does enhance my experience because it allows me to have access to a range of primary sources for my research and essays. It is quite easy to get access. All I have to do email the special collections team and let them know what I want and need and they will book an appointment for me to look at the archives
How much do you travel to get onto campus?
I live on campus so I don’t have to travel to get onto campus. However, I have lived off campus before and it was about a 30 min walk for me to get onto campus from town.
I have lived in two different campus accommodation during my time at Kent. In my first year I lived in Eliot College. They have a bed and flex meal package where I am given two £5 vouchers a day to use on food on any of the outlets on campus. It was quite nice living in Eliot as it is situated on main campus. I could literally wake up 30 mins before my lecture or seminar which was nice.
I am now currently in the Parkwood Flats where it is similar to living in your own flat. Although it is about a 15 min walk to main campus, I do like it here. I get to cook a lot which I love.
Campus in general is very green which is what I love about Kent.
What is the social scene like in Canterbury on and off campus?
I come from London so when I came to Kent I was very scared that it was going to be very quiet however it is not like that at all. Kent has its own student club which is really nice but there are also plenty of other clubs in Canterbury itself. There are plenty of restaurants in Canterbury. My favourite, which I suspect is many of the students favourite is the Wagamamas. I also do like the small independent coffee shops that Canterbury has to offer. Really nice and really friendly for good prices as well.
During the weekend there is plenty to do. The Cathedral has to be Canterbury main attraction. Students at Kent get to go in for free which is always an added bonus. There is also St Augustine Abbey too which is really nice. If you like a good walk around nature Blean Woods is one of my favourite places to go to.
Have you been on any trips within Kent or London since studying here?
I have been on a few trips within Kent and London since studying at Kent. I have travelled to Margate and Dover by train a few times. Both really nice places to visit on a weekend if you wanted a change of scenery. I especially love Dover and the Cliffs as I love a good walk overlooking the sea. I also have done some day trips to London. It is really nice that students are able to have the 1/3rd rail discount as it makes travelling by train cheaper!
Are you involved with any student societies
I am currently involved with the Chess and history society.
Within the Chess Society I have very recently been made Vice President. Before that I was tournament director. Being a committee member of the Chess society I often host tournaments between players and other universities. I also teach new students how to play chess but also existing players on how to get better at the game.
In the history society I attend the socials they host. They have hosted some pretty fun socials ranging from hide and seek in Rutherford, a treasure hunt to a quiz night and pub crawls
What would be your main advice to prospective students looking to join the community here at Kent?
Really put yourself out there. Join societies as it will really help with making friends. There are plenty of societies at Kent. There is something there for everyone.