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International

Kelley Wong

Course: LLB Law

College: Josephine Butler

Why did you choose Durham?

Apart from its brilliant law school, Durham has so many things to offer. While it is practically the opposite of the sunny island that I come from, I find myself very intrigued by this place. Having grown up in metropolitan Singapore, the idea of being in a traditional English city fascinated me. (How do people survive in a place with no MacDonald’s?!) Coming overseas to study is a big and costly decision and so I wanted to make sure that I got the most out of my experience. To be able to study in a place with such rich history and culture that is so very different from Singapore thus gave me the confidence to take this leap of faith.

How has your experience of being an international student here at Durham been so far?

It’s basically the best of both worlds! I am not only given the chance to widen my worldview through my interactions with fellow international students, but at the same time am able to immerse myself in the British culture that is so resonant here in Durham, the people and its students.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Although some people say that Durham is a small sleepy town with nothing to do, this is definitely not true for students; there are so many things to do during term time here in Durham that my schedule is usually packed for the whole ten weeks.

In my first year, I tried to make the most of living in college by joining all sorts of activities from the college choir to the hiking society. This year, I am taking part in a few Student Community Action projects that gave me the chance engage with the local community in Northeast England. One particular project that I really enjoyed was called Scholars in Schools where international students would go to a local school to teach the children more about where they come from and their culture. I am also a member of the University’s Law Society that offers many opportunities to network with people in the legal industry in England as well as the annually raved about Law Ball.

I often find myself too busy to miss home but when I do, the Singapore Society hosts regular events where I can enjoy the taste of Singaporean food, joke around with other Singaporeans and hear interesting adventures of life in Durham.

As a Christian, I attend a local church in the market square that has a good mix of students and locals. This provides me a nice escape from being surrounded by students all the time in a university town. There are also many opportunities for me to participate in the Durham Inter-Collegiate Christian Union activities. They have weekly meetings in the respective colleges and also other community outreach projects.

What’s your favourite thing about Durham?

The people! Over the past year or so, I have formed so many relationships with people I have met in Durham. They are now my mentors, family and friends who I can share my experiences in Durham with and who I know I can rely on when I need help. Being in the Northeast also means that I am surrounded by some of the friendliest people in England. From the moment I got off the plane at Newcastle airport, the locals have been very warm and welcoming in receiving me. (This definitely makes up for the dreary English weather!) While everything else about the Durham and the University is wonderful, what ultimately makes my experience here so enriching is the bonds I have formed with people here that will carry on beyond my time here in Durham.

What would you say to another international student thinking of applying to Durham?

Go for it! Coming to Durham was the biggest but best decision I have ever made. To receive a world-class education while surrounded by the rich history and culture of Durham has been more rewarding than I could ever imagine. If you still cannot make up your mind, make a trip here and you will fall in love with this place I am proud to call my home away from home!