Size doesn’t mat­ter – we feel at home

Whether your uni has lots of Jews or just a few, there’s some­thing for every­one

The Jewish Chronicle - - News -

Gabriella Pam­pel, 18, from Radlett, study­ing Art His­tory at Uni­ver­sity of Not­ting­ham, which has 1,000 Jewish stu­dents.

HAV­ING PRE­VI­OUSLY at­tended Im­manuel Col­lege I was al­ready part of a large Jewish cir­cle and this was, I guess, the root of my ap­pre­hen­sion when start­ing uni. I was scared that I would find it hard to break out of my com­fort zone and meet new peo­ple.

But as the week pro­gressed new faces be­came fa­mil­iar faces and my ap­pre­hen­sion sub­sided.

I was also quite ner­vous about be­ing in­de­pen­dent and hav­ing to fig­ure things out for my­self. The re­al­i­sa­tion that my mum was no longer go­ing to be there to sort things out was daunt­ing.

Fresh­ers’ Week is meant to be a week of drink­ing and club­bing, and this is ex­actly what my ex­pe­ri­ence was like. What I didn’t know be­fore start­ing was that I would have to wake up the next day at 8am and at­tend meet­ings.

The nights out have been specif­i­cally for fresh­ers. A coach picks us all up from our halls and drops us at the club. For me the build up to be­ing in the club, the chant­ing on the bus and the ban­ter proved to be the most ex­cit­ing and fun part of my week.

The days were filled with chill­ing and meet­ing new peo­ple and course friends — peo­ple from all over the coun­try who shared my love for Art His­tory.

Above any­thing else I wanted to join the JSoc. The Fresh­ers’ Fair ap­peared very in­tim­i­dat­ing but as soon as I saw the Is­raeli flag fly­ing at the JSoc stand my mind was put at ease.

The peo­ple run­ning the stall were ex­tremely friendly and wel­comed us over straight away. They made join­ing re­ally easy and gave out bags full of free­bies — al­ways good when you’re a stu­dent on a bud­get.

JSoc keep in con­tact with every­one through email and Face­book, up­dat­ing peo­ple on the up­com­ing events.

Ev­ery Fri­day they hold a ser­vice and din­ner which I hope to at­tend ev­ery week. It will be good to taste some chicken soup af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the not so good food in halls. Cavendish Halls is con­sid­ered the ‘Jewish’ hall on cam­pus and it lives up to its name.

I met a lot of Jews and al­ready feel like they are my good friends. It’s great how Jewish peo­ple im­me­di­ately mi­grate to­wards each other and then stick to­gether.

The con­ver­sa­tion starter was mainly “are you go­ing home for Yom Kip­pur?” which im­me­di­ately made me feel at ease.

It makes me feel proud to be Jewish on cam­pus and even though I am only a few days into be­ing here I al­ready feel part of a com­mu­nity.

All smiles: Gabriella (far right) and friends en­joy a Fresh­ers’ Week party

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