BLOGGER OF THE YEAR

The University of Gloucestershire Blogger of the Year Award goes to:

EMI HORNE

She has written a large number of entries covering topics such as, adjusting to life in the UK, employability skills and social life. She has included videos and photos and made the entries relevant and interesting for our prospective students. Well done!

Emi will receive a lovely Ted Baker gift set, an amazon voucher alongside her official certificate.

Thank you to the rest of the bloggers for your entries this year. Your blogs have received approximately 400 views on average per month. We hope that this indicates that prospective students have been interested in finding out about your experiences of studying in the UK!

Advertisements

CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP WEEK!

Right…. This is the week where Cheltenham is turned upside down! For better or for worst. People from all over the UK travel all the way to our beloved Chelt to witness and participate in one of the biggest event of the year! I was working at one of the busiest pubs last year and it was one hell of an experience! I definitely encourage you to take up on a part time job if you want to earn some extra cash as this is the best time to do so!

I got to meet people from different parts of the UK like Ireland and Liverpool for example, and witness them getting absolutely off their face with the bevvies which honestly was the best part of the job, the people haha! The amount of tips I got on a daily basis was honestly incredible. And for all the single ladies out there, I highly recommend you take your girlfriends out and throw something fancy on as there is no better moment for you to meet your knight in shining… suit?! * wink *

The streets are filled with people dressed up exceptionally dapper so it is definitely a sight not to be missed if you know what I mean!

This festival involves betting with over 600 million pounds! The first day is many peoples favorite. With over three massive races for punters to sink their teeth into. The final day features the Gold Cup and this is usually the biggest out of them all! Everyone usually hits the night clubs/pubs at the end of the day and places are usually open until the crack of dawn so yeah, it does get pretty crazy!

So guys, my advice to you is get your mates out because I cannot comprehend how amazing the atmosphere gets so it is something you’ll need to experience firsthand! Its unlike your typical night out in Cheltenham for sure. And if you do end up going out…. Do stay safe!

Till then my lovelies

Cass xx.

 

March in Cheltenham

On the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th Cheltenham hosts the biggest horse racing event in the UK. During race week, there are about 50,000 people on average over the four-day period. For students, it’s a good time to look for part time work opportunities as many companies employ students for a variety of jobs. The main place students apply is at the racecourse itself but, it’s important to apply a couple of months in advance as you do need to go through training and a practice period. The racecourse is about a 20-minute walk from the town centre or a 7 to 10-minute bus journey, if organising bus journeys, it’s good to keep in mind that during these dates the timetable and bus stops change due to traffic overflow.

Most pubs and restaurants do offers on food and drinks to attract more customers, but the prices do go up during the evening in most places. Another good idea is if you know you’re going out ring to check if you can reserve or get there as soon as possible as many places will be heaving with people.

For the races, most people dress up smart, the boys normally wear suits and tuxedos while the girls tend to wear dresses and heals. Even though it’s good fun it’s very important to remember safety as there are so many people about.

Good nights out for students during the rest of the year are mainly Mondays and Wednesdays, Wednesdays tend to be when all the sports societies group up for socials. Fridays and Saturdays tend to be more expensive.

The main two clubs in Cheltenham for students are: Fever which is open most days except Tuesdays and is free entry, and Moo – Moos which have different companies run it on different nights such as Glamourpuss, Propaganda and Blue&Blue. It’s also a five-pound entry but it’s where most students go.

The Races

March 13-17th marks a special couple of days for our town of Cheltenham, because its race week! Before entering the madness yesterday, I really had no idea what to expect, but after placing bets, meeting new people, and cheering on horses with names like “What’s Happening”, which is exactly what I was thinking for the majority of the day, I am so glad I got to experience race week firsthand. I was told this week gets crazy, and I have to admit, walking through town this week I’ve seen a lot more people carrying their shoes than usual, but I had no idea how big of an event this really is!

Before you get through the doors, or even close to the venue, you can tell how race week is able to transform the town. Places that don’t serve breakfast- are serving breakfast, you get asked for directions at least once a day, men are in 4 piece suits, women are wearing bright coloured hats, and everyone is smiling (the percentage of smiles after losing bets is significantly lower though). I decided I was going to place a couple of bets too, just to make the races even more exciting to watch. For a newbie race-goer like myself, I decided to put my money down on the horses that were favourited that day, so even though I wouldn’t really be making a profit, I could at least come away with a win! Though I thought my plan was foolproof, I didn’t take into account horse racing is really all about luck, and I ended up losing each race that I bet on.

Although I didn’t bring home any winnings, I’m taking it home as a victory in my books because of the outfits, the people, and the overall atmosphere. If you get the chance to be in Cheltenham for this week of utter madness, I have nothing but good things to say. The Cheltenham races were an event I’m so glad I didn’t miss, and something I know I’ll never forget!

Emi

 

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

Racecourse Week – Such a busy week!

Many of you might know about the horse racing festival at the racecourse if you have browsed about Cheltenham before making the decision to choose the University of Gloucestershire. It is such a popular and prestigious event where everyone visits Cheltenham and enjoys the races, and the festive vibe. You will see the High Street packed with well dressed ‘Ladies’ and ‘Gentlemen’ from all over the United Kingdom excited for the races, which is quite an experience for someone who has seen the ordinary days of Cheltenham for a long time.

For international students who want to take part, there are many chances to be in the racecourse. Since it is a huge festival, the Cheltenham Racecourse need many people to work for them in many aspects of the business such as the catering, security, and entertainment and so on. Many recruitment agencies will both come to the university and recruit students at fairs, or they will announce vacancies online.

I worked at the racecourse last year as a waitress with my friends and had lots of fun. The great thing is that you not only earn money but also get to see the races, watch the people enjoying the races, and make many new friends as many university students from nearby cities such as Bristol, Coventry, Birmingham, and Oxford come to work. It might be a bit tiring to work for four consecutive days (you can work 2 or 3 days as well, optional) but it is totally worth it. It was such a great experience to add to my bank of UK experiences since I cannot have this anywhere else.

Htet Htet

Walkin’ on the Wild Side

University is one of those times that can be the unhealthiest years a young person can experience. Stress, hurt, and, disappointment. Yet these things are what develop us as people. This being said it’s also one of the wildest times of our young adult life. For example; I have four different projects due, a weekly radio show to do, and the stress of being in a different country to name just a few.

But I’ve also been able to do some incredible things. With the university I’ve been able to meet amazing people on the sports teams, create my own club night at one of the student bars, and travel with some of my favourite people.

Plus there are some absolutely amazing events coming up this week. First and formally the Cheltenham Gold Cup will be featured this week with thousands upon thousands of people flooding our fair town with the promise of sports. The whole town will be painted red and we get to be a part of this world-renowned fiesta. It’s simply one not to be missed.

Also on the way for yours truly is a trip called Tour, in which each of the sports teams select an exotic destination to travel out to and play the sport they love! I’ll be joining the boarders club as we head to the French Alps for a massive outdoor ski & snowboard festival. It’s cheap as dirt and sounds like the opportunity of a lifetime.

While exhaustion, illness, or stress may be in store while you have your stay at university you can also expect excitement, opportunity, and just plain fun to be waiting for you as well. Should be one hell of a ride and I just can’t wait.

Till next time,

Ty Javos

An unconventional Christmas

Does your family have Christmas traditions? Mine does. Most Christmas eves were spent watching the Polar Express, even though we knew the girl was going to lose her ticket, and the golden bell was going to be the first present given on Christmas day. Well this year, unless we all pointed our iPhones at the TV while simultaneously on FaceTime with each other, we will not be continuing that tradition. When my parents first asked if I was coming home for Christmas I was excited to tell them that I would be spending it with some of my best friends that I’ve made here at the University. I honestly think they were a little bit caught off guard, but when they looked into things a bit more and realized a round trip back home to Canada cost about as much as a 2008 Ford Fiesta, their expressions soon turned from surprised to grateful.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am saving my parents a lot of coin by not deciding to fly home (you’re welcome mom and dad), but spending Christmas in England is so much more than just saving money, it’s about the experience I know I won’t get the chance to have again. My first stop is Cornwall where I’m sure I’ll have enough traditional Cornish pasties to last me the next 3 weeks, and my second stop is Oxford, a place my Grampie actually used to call home. As I’m writing, I’m about 20 minutes away from the beach in St. Ives, Cornwall, and it makes me think that this Christmas may not be that different than at my home back on Vancouver Island. Sure, the faces are different, there’s no snow on the ground, it’s a completely different ocean, and I’m pretty much butting into two different families Christmas traditions, but I couldn’t be happier, and that’s what Christmas is all about!

I like to think that my parents and I love the Polar Express so much because it’s a fun cartoon about Christmas, but once you’ve watched it a good 8 times you start to realize the message. While taking you on a fun adventure, the film makes Christmas about spirit, about family, and about believing in something a little bit more than that new iPad you hope is wrapped somewhere under the tree. The next time someone asks me about my family’s traditions, I won’t forget to include the Christmas of 2016 that I spent in England. Maybe I’ll tell them that our new tradition will be making the most of wherever we are in the world, whoever we’re with.

This year I’ve traded in pumpkin pie for Christmas pudding, and although I had to get used to the acquired taste, it’s something that I know I’ll never forget.

Merry Christmas y’all!

Emi

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

“You’re American…right?”

I remember setting a goal for myself last year while I was still in Canada: “Travel to a new place while continuing my education.” At that point all my options were still open, but there was one place I was leaning towards, and that was the University of Gloucestershire. At first, moving to England for my final year of university seemed as daunting as getting to Tim Hortons and forgetting my punch card (for those of you that don’t know the iconic Canadian coffee shop, take it from me, you wouldn’t want to forget your Tim’s card) yet I’m the kind of person always up for a challenge, so I decided to apply. Months later when I received my acceptance letter in the mail, I decided to go. September came quickly, and suddenly I was no longer your run of the mill student, I was the international student from Canada who calls a bin “The Garbage Can”.

Now, being in a place where you know absolutely no one could seem a bit scary at first, but it’s one of the most exciting things I could’ve set myself up for. When I arrived in the UK we had an international welcome week where I was able to meet some people like myself, get all my paperwork sorted, and get tours of both the town I was going to be living in, and of course the university. The welcome week gave me the confidence that there are other people out there just as adventurous, spontaneous, and maybe a little bit insane, that would pack up and move continents for a final year of education, as I was.

As an international student blogger of course I am supposed to say that the UK is amazing, things are going well, and school is so easy and fun, but the reality is there are going to be some moments where you wish you could hug your best friend and say “screw the degree we’re going backpacking in Thailand.” Lucky for us though, there are so many resources at the University like the student help-zone, your personal tutor, and your international buddy, that will bring you back down to reality, and maybe help you cite that final source for your paper that got you all worked up in the first place. My point is, not every moment as an international student is going to be easy, but then again when is being a student ever easy? The important thing to remember is, your time studying abroad will be something you remember for the rest of your life. The all-nighters, group projects, essays, work placements, and of course the people you meet along the way, will all be worth it.