Q&A with 2nd year LLB international student Niharika Akaloo

“It has a gorgeous campus; like a mini town!”

What attracted you to studying at Kent?

When I went to a university forum in my home country, I saw a stand with The University of Kent written on it. I was really intrigued by it as on the banner was a very green looking campus which looked like a mini town in itself. The pamphlet showed all the beauties of the campus and the city centre, and I was wondering if it was really like that over there.

As an international student I could not physically visit the university so I did my research online itself, and all I can say is what I saw online and in person was exactly how it was on that pamphlet.

Moreover, academically, the Kent Law School, has a very good reputation, therefore the ranking was one of the reasons that I choose the university as well.

How is your course going?

The course is really interesting. This year I studied Public Law, The Law of Contract, The Law of Tort, European Union Law, Equity & Trusts, and my optional module that I choose was Law of the Dead Hand: Inheritance & Intergenerational Justice.

I’ve enjoyed all my modules. My favourite was probably either European Union Law or Public Law. My least favourite was equity & trusts but once I understand it, it went well.

How would you describe your lecturers? What do you think about the level of support in your studies?

All my classes had a great ambiance, and the modules were really good too. My lecturers are very helpful and resourceful. If I ever need help with an assignment or even want to get more feedback about an assignment, I can see them in their office at any time during their office hours without booking an appointment. The lecturers and even the staff at the university provide us with so much information and support. The level of support is excellent.

Which modules have you enjoyed the most, and why?

I enjoyed my Public Law seminars a lot. The class had positive vibes, everyone was getting along and was participating, and the lecturer was very passionate about what he was teaching. There was not a seminar that passed by where someone did not talk. Everyone engaged in the debates and shared their opinions openly. It was really amazing to be part of that seminar group. It really made learning about the module more interesting.

How would you describe your fellow students?

All the other students are very helpful and nice. I thought when coming to law school everyone would be competitive and, in their corner, but in fact, I was wrong. So many students are positive and optimistic about their studies. They truly want to help others that are in difficulty with a module.

As we are all in the same boat, we all recognise that even if we are struggling, we are all in this together, therefore we try to stay positive and motivate everyone.

What are your subject facilities like?

The Kent Law School is a very supportive law school. It tries to guide its students to success by sharing information about potential firm/chamber opportunities or law schemes.

What kind of career do you hope to follow when you leave, and why?

I always wanted to be a barrister. I want to help women and children who need legal aid.

Have you used the University’s Careers and Employability Service?

I have used the University’s Careers and Employability Service. I currently have 545 points and I applied for a mini pupillage with the points that I have gotten through the Employability service, and I am waiting for an answer from the chamber.

Have you used the Student Learning Advisory Service (SLAS)?

I have used the Student Learning Advisory Service to prepare for the real exams, they proposed trying an exam chamber. It’s an exam trial where they put you in a room under examination conditions for an hour to prepare yourself for the real exam. It was very beneficial, especially afterwards when they spoke about how it made us feel and mentally how we can prepare for an exam.

What about the social life? Are you part of any societies?

I am part of many student societies, to name a few: I am the Marketing Officer for the Kent Law Temple society 2022/2023 and have been re-elected for next year as well.

Moreover, I have been elected as the President of the Mauritian society for 2023-2024. And I am a member of the French society, Kent Student Law society, Kent International Law society, Empowering Womxn in Law society.

Being a member of multiple societies, means that you can go to many events that all the societies organise. You can meet people and make friends through those societies. It is such a fun and educational way to make friends.

What are your favourite places on campus?

My favourite places on campus are the Mungo’s restaurant, they have really good pancakes there, Nero café and the library.

The library is very spacious, I love going to work in a corner far from everyone. It is calm and also thanks to the library café, you will never be hungry there!

Did you live in university accommodation? What was that like?

In my first year, I used to live in Turing College. It was my first time in a student accommodation. My room was comfortable and really nice. I decorated it a bit to make it feel more like home. My flatmates were really nice. We all got along pretty well, and we used to party together in the flat which was so much fun.

Any advice to somebody thinking of coming to Kent?

The University of Kent is really a good place to be. It has a gorgeous campus which looks like a mini town. It has cafes, restaurants, bars, a supermarket, AND a nightclub. It is walking distance to the city centre and the beach is 40 minutes away by bus.

What I really love about this university is that it is only 55 minutes by train from London, so if you are an international student and want to visit London, you can easily go for a day and come back to Canterbury.

It is easy to make friends, everyone is nice. It’s a good place to be.
Also, if you like bunnies, there are a lot all over campus and they are adorable!

Describe Kent in three words.

Nature, Bunnies, Beautiful.

The City

Where are your top three places to visit in Canterbury? Where would you recommend for a day out?
The three top places to visit in Canterbury are the Canterbury Cathedral, the Westgate Gardens and Westgate Towers Museum & Viewpoint.

During the spring/summer term, I love to see the flowers bloom at the Westgate Gardens. If it is a sunny day, it’s great to do a picnic there. There are so many restaurants all over the city centre, you can start the day by going to one, then visiting the Canterbury Cathedral, it is very beautiful inside and filled with history, finish the day seeing the Westgate Towers and Westgate Gardens.

How affordable is it to live in Canterbury? Do you have a part-time job?

I do not have a part-time job, but it is affordable to live in Canterbury. I have a studio with bills included, for the price it is a bit expensive, but it has all that I need. Sainsbury’s supermarket is close by, the bus stop to get to campus is across the street, the campus and town is ten minutes walking distance, and the West train station is nearby too.

What is your experience of studying at Kent as an international student?

Now that everything is in person again, it is easier to make friends because you can see the person often during lectures and seminars. And also, I decided to join plenty of societies and try to make lots of friends and now my social life is blooming.

Is there specific support available to you as an international student?

Yes, the Student Hub and Wellbeing is very supportive. Whether you are an international student or not, the university offers plenty of support, mentally and physically for students. You can see that they really care for their students.

What advice would you give to other international students looking to study in the UK?

It is difficult to leave your home country to go study in another, but it is worth it. The experience that you acquire by studying abroad and being independent is really different from someone who stayed in their home country. In a way, you experience a sort of freedom and live by your own terms, which is really great. On another hand, it can get lonely sometimes, but you just have to find a good friend group that you can message from time to time and see outside of university hours. You can also go for a stroll and visit the town that you are in and on top of that, if you find international students and befriend them, you can share the experience of being internationals together.

The UK is honestly such a lovely place, I have not discovered it all yet, but I am planning to during the holidays or even on weekends. Studying abroad is not only about studying but also discovering the country’s culture, food, activities, places etc.

It is the most exciting time in your life and especially as an international student these are the memories that you will look back on and that will potentially form you and your future.

How do you feel your UK degree has helped prepare you for your future career and what do you hope to achieve once you graduate?

So far, I feel like my UK degree has helped me for my future career. All the dinners and functions that I have attended at the university with legal professionals have helped me gain the knowledge for my career. When I graduate, I hope to do my Bar Practice Course (BPC).