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26 February 2024

Student seeks to inspire next generation through new society

Adapting to life at university can be a difficult experience for any student but there is perhaps an additional challenge for those who have travelled thousands of miles to start life as an undergraduate in a country that’s new to them.


In addition to adapting to being away from home for the first time and learning how to navigate life independently, international students also face the challenges of adapting to a new culture, unfamiliar surroundings and a different way of life.

It can be a lonely time.

For Economics student Mehak Mahajan, the early part of her time in London, newly arrived from New Delhi, in India, felt a lot like that but her entire experienced changed when she was encouraged to join some of the student societies on offer at King’s.

Meeting fellow undergraduates who shared a similar experience was reassuring for Mehak, who studies in the Department of Political Economy, and proved to be a huge help in navigating the challenges of those early months at university.

Mehak Mahajan

Mehak joined the Women in Business and King’s Junior Consulting societies and has found to be a source of inspiration and solidarity.

Now, mid-way through her studies in London, Mehak has decided to launch a society of her own as a means of connecting people from similar backgrounds to her own and to help those who might be struggling with adaptation to find their feet.

The London Bhartiya Women Alliance (Bhartiya means Indian in Hindi) is a society designed to connect both students and professionals, inside and outside of King’s, and offer a source of friendship, encouragement and guidance.

Launched on 26 January, which is Republic Day in India, the society has already hosted several guest speakers as part of the ‘Breaking Barriers’ series and a new mentorship programme is in the pipeline. The aim of the Breaking Barriers series is to spotlight the experiences of Indian women thriving in diverse fields, ranging from finance to the civil service, and to share their advice with the next generation of Indian working women.

Among those who have spoken to members are Aekta Mahajan Patel, who works with the Department of International Trade; Purvi Agarwal, a consultant with PriceWaterhouseCoopers; and King’s alumna, Sparsh Sehgal, a senior strategy associate at Entain.

When I came to the UK as an undergraduate student, I found myself quite lonely and I had a bit of difficulty adapting. I decided to join two societies and, in both, senior committee members were Indian women from similar backgrounds to me. When I saw them, I thought: ‘If they can do it, so can I’ – and that’s what I want the people who join the alliance to think too.

Mehak Mahajan

“People at King’s have been so supportive and our speakers have been brilliant also. It has been quite overwhelming to see the response, I’ve even had students from other universities come forward," added Mehak.

Looking ahead, Mehak hopes to reach out to 1,000 women by the end of the year and is looking forward to partnering with other student societies that share similar goals. She already has a joint event arranged with the KCL Gujarati Society.

But it’s not only women of Indian heritage who are welcome to join, the doors to the alliance are open to anyone who would like to find out more.

Mehak said: “You can be from any group, any ethnicity – if you are focussed on developing yourself personally and professionally, please reach out to us on social media.”

You can find out more and contact Mehak by following the London Bhartiya Women Alliance on Instagram or LinkedIn.