Something NEW I tried in Cheltenham

They say, ‘Time flies so fast’ and it is true…

I am currently doing my final year and I have only just noticed that 6 months have already passed and I am very close to finishing my degree. This means that in another 6 months’ time, I will be going home and it means less time to add new things to my bank of UK experience.

While I am trying to seek new things, a friend of mine has invited me to try a salsa dance class. I said, ‘No’ for two months, with excuses like ‘I know nothing about it’, ‘I won’t be able to do it well’, ‘People already know how to dance, so they will laugh at me’ and many others. However, after two months of constant pressure from my salsa-dancing peers, I decided to try it.  And you know what? I enjoyed it a lot. I am in love with salsa now! I still cannot do it well but that does not matter to me because I am enjoying it. I have done three classes now and I can’t wait to go to more classes.

They have Beginner classes every Friday at Copa, which is in Cheltenham and making it easy to access for Park/ FCH/ Hardwick students, Monday’s class is at Bishop’s Cleeve and Tuesday’s at Gloucester. Instructors and other learners are very friendly and supportive and they start teaching everything slowly like ABC, so it is very easy and enjoyable to learn. Attending these classes give, you the opportunity to make new friends and it allows you to escape the atmosphere of just study and work. I love it because I am learning a new thing and at the same time, I am enjoying it and making new friends, it’s like killing three birds with one stone, not even two birds. I would recommend it if you are looking for something new and cool!

Htet Htet

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The Room with the Blue Window

Christmas has always spun the same humdrum images of families in tacky Christmas sweaters and Instagram-worthy dinners with hashtags that are optimised for maximum amount of ‘likes’. More or less, we’ve reached peak commercialisation for Christmas — tell me which major religious holiday isn’t (yes I know, there’s a bunch holidays you could name). Still we’ve had the glamorisation of togetherness and world peace plastered on the billboards, television screens and social media feeds since mid-October. However I’m here to say that it doesn’t have to be limited to those three months.

 

The Faith Space at Park Campus is a special place. It’s where the religiously devoted and stress-prone come together to take refugee from the daily grind. Mind and spirit are encouraged to wander around, or if you’re shameless enough to do it: take a nap on one of the couches. There’s very little pretensions of it being religious — besides the sign. Everyone is welcome: free tea, coffee and biscuits are provided; board games; newspapers; lots of electrical plugs; a piano and guitar.

The main four highlights of Faith Space at Park — personally — that I believe makes it a wonderful place is:

 

  1. The ever so lovely Jo Parkin who runs the place: she’s a woman who spreads joy and happiness whenever you get the time to chat with her. She’s the soul and heart of the Park Faith Space as she brings a feeling of togetherness amongst groups of people. A patient listener, offering sage advice; Jo is a good person to see if personal difficulties are hard to overcome — and recommends the wellbeing team if you need more guided help.

 

  1. Atique Miah, the university’s Muslim Chaplain who’s usually at Park Campus on Wednesdays and Fridays: a cheerful fella who has a tendency to compliment things you hadn’t noticed about yourself. A firm believer of positive thinking; Atique — like Jo — is also a patient listener and advice giver, but usually says it from personal experience whilst growing up. He’s good to talk to.

 

  1. The Prayer Room: The main highlight of the Faith Space; the prayer room is extremely unorthodox in nature as it emphasises on multi-religious use. Modular in its design and aesthetically neutral — all faiths are welcome to use the room for prayers or meditations.

 

  1. Les pièces de résistance — the blue window in the prayer room. The glass came from the original chapel that stood at Park Campus. Found in a garage somewhere; it’s hard to describe the significance of this particular window, except the phrase: it’s very holy, indeed. More art installation than window. This particular glass embodies the peaceful nature that the Faith Space represents. Especially, at the right time of day, the sunlight hits the glass and casts a mesmerised sequence of blues and greens. Useful when you’re trying to have a deeper connection with god. Or to forget how broke I am and all the nice things I want to buy. Still the sense of inner-peace does help soothe my anxious soul.

 

If you need a break from reality, just stop by the Faith Space and chill for a bit. There’s an event everyday, if you want meet some new people. Mental and spiritual exhaustion can hinder your ability to go through life easily – Especially at times when deadlines are due — it helps for you to step back, reflect and understand that insignificance of each task that may seem over-whelming.

http://www.glos.ac.uk/life/support/Pages/faith-and-religion.aspx

Culture Shock and being homesick

Marley

Hello everyone,

I had a really interesting conversation with some of my friends the other week about culture shock for international students. I was explaining to some of my English friends that while I don’t find Canada and England all that different, I sometimes forget that it’s sometimes the smallest of things that can make me miss home. We were reminiscing about some of our favorite treats as a kid and how long it had been since we had last had them (it had been almost a year before I was able to have them before visiting my family over Easter). Continue reading “Culture Shock and being homesick”