Graduate profile
Image of Ai Kumar

Ai Kumar

GSA had a great network of staff and student communication so there was always someone to talk to if you needed help or advice on anything.

Graduation year


Why did you choose Guildford School of Acting at the University of Surrey?

As an international student, I auditioned in New York so I chose GSA without even visiting the campus and seeing the facilities. The audition itself had a huge impact on my decision and through the teachers and atmosphere presented in the audition room, I knew GSA was the place to be. Unlike any other drama school audition I had been to, it truly felt as if the teachers were rooting for you. The atmosphere they created was so warm and welcoming that I didn’t have to feel nervous or judged for what I did in the room.  

What's your favourite memory from GSA?

My favourite memories were all throughout my final year at GSA. I felt as if the cohort really connected and we had so much love and support for one another. I loved watching my peers in their shows and collaborating with the whole year in the last show before graduating. I have made life-long friends during my time at GSA and can’t wait to see everyone’s success! 

What made the course so special?  

The course is structured in a way that allows students to grow as individuals and identify what makes them unique. The first and second years focus on building your 'triple threat' skills and in the third year, it introduces professionalism to give students a smooth transition into the industry after they graduate. 

What was life like after Surrey? 

My first few months after graduating was intense but incredibly exciting. I decided to move to London and start auditioning for anything I could get in the room for. I was very lucky to get a job at the Theatr Clwyd panto during the Christmas season and soon after starting work in a new musical, ‘Bhangra Nation’ at The Birmingham Rep! They were both very different experiences that I had never had before, but it was all very exciting and lots of fun!  

What advice would you give to current students? 

Don’t be afraid to be yourself! Make mistakes: this is the time and place to do it. Your peers and teachers are your biggest cheerleaders so build your confidence and try new things. Also don’t forget to make new friends! It’s great to be really close with your year group but reach out to other courses and use the University of Surrey facilities to have the best uni experience.  

How was the student support?

As an international student, there were many opportunities for me to reach out to the school for support. Being away from home is very scary and lonely, so having their support was incredibly helpful and warming. GSA had a great network of staff and student communication so there was always someone to talk to if you needed help or advice on anything. There was even an international students' support group that was set up during my time at GSA that let all the international students connect with each other.