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Maria Kohl, German student, M.CMAc Chinese Medicine: Acupuncture

When Maria Kohl first landed in London to start her studies at LSBU, she had never even visited the UK before - and now considers London her 'second home'

Year out

Four years later, she has no plans to leave after graduation. "After I had completed the German equivalent of A-levels, I took a year out to work and travel in Australia while I decided what degree I should study," Maria explains. "It was while I was in Sydney that I knew I wanted to become an acupuncturist, and so I started to look for suitable courses. A friend of mine suggested I would be more employable if I studied in English, so I signed up with UCAS and looked at universities offering acupuncture."

Telephone interview

Maria was unable to visit any of the universities she was considering before finalising her choice, so she had to make her mind up which university to attend based purely on her telephone interview. "As soon as I spoke to Ian Appleyard on the phone regarding the M.CMAc Chinese Medicine: Acupuncture, I knew that I wanted to come to LSBU," she says. "He was so helpful and enthusiastic about the course and university life."

Enjoyable time

It is a decision that Maria feels has been totally justified by her experience since starting her degree. "I've really enjoyed my time studying and working at LSBU," she says. "Because I was new to the university and London, I lived in halls of residence for my first year so that I could get to know more people. I also tried to get involved by working as a Halls ambassador and a student ambassador, roles which helped me to learn more about LSBU as well as making me more employable."

Ideal choice

Once she had settled in to university life, Maria enjoyed exploring London and believes that LSBU's central location makes it an ideal choice for anyone looking to combine studying in London with discovering the city first hand. "London is a great city," she says.

There are so many gorgeous areas that have impressed me during my time here, and the campus is walking distance to all the main attractions. That makes LSBU a very enjoyable place to study.

Helpful lecturers

Maria also speaks highly of her learning experience. "The course covered a real variety of modules, including clinical practice, so we were given plenty of opportunity to use our skills in a real environment," she says. "I particularly enjoyed the mix of traditional theories of Chinese medicine and biomedicine, while the lecturers were all very helpful and supportive throughout."

Maria was even able to spend a two-month work placement in Harbin, China, where she worked in an acupuncture hospital. "The placement was amazing," she recalls. "IT was very well organized and helped us to understand the roots of Chinese Medicine at the same time as improving our Mandarin."

Take the plunge

As she reflects on her time at LSBU, Maria's advice to anyone thinking of following in her footsteps is simple. "I would encourage anyone to come to LSBU," she says. "I took the plunge and came to a new city and country, and it has given me so many new skills, friendships and experiences. Yes, it was challenging at times and I have had to work very hard, but I would do it all again in a heartbeat."