Seven of the best fresher's events I attended
Fresher’s week; the first week of any UK university. A week before the first academic term begins where new students can network, learn more about their university, and generally, settle in. It’s a week where student unions run many events for new students including trips, information sessions, and socialising sessions. As new students, our scholars across the UK were welcomed to their universities during this time and they shared with us their seven best fresher’s events.
1. A WALK TO SEVEN SISTERS CLIFFS
A key location in one of the most popular walks for walking clubs along the English coast, the Seven Sisters is a series of chalk cliffs by the English Channel. Forming part of the South Downs in East Sussex, between the towns of Seaford and Eastbourne, they are a view to be seen. They are also one of the relay locations in this year’s Chevening Relay.
Jose Javier Davila Fontin, Honduras
‘The hall of residence I’m staying at organised an excursion to the Seven Sisters Cliffs on the first Sunday I spent in the UK. I went there with friends from all over the world (UK, US, Portugal, Spain, Italy, etc.). We did a long walk from the beach in Seaford to the cliffs and afterwards we went down to a pub to have a nice cold beer together.’
2. A VISIT TO DUNNOTTAR CASTLE
Captured by William Wallace (Braveheart) in 1297, this castle was once home to one of the most powerful families in Scotland. Dunnottar Castle has a long and significant history which includes its role as the place where the Honours of Scotland (the Scottish crown jewels) were initially hidden from Oliver Cromwell’s army.
Wilka Embula, Namibia
‘The International Centre organised this wonderful trip to one of the most beautiful castles in Scotland during our fresher’s week: Dunnottar Castle. The castle offers stunning views from all corners and has a small museum filled with so much information to take you back in history.
The most amazing thing about this place however, is the building location which will leave you speechless as you embrace the architecture and creative design employed by ancient Scottish engineers. Dunnottar Castle is built on the edge of a very steep cliff on the north-east shore of Scotland about 3 kilometres south of Stonehaven. As Ed Sheeran would put it "Castle on the Hill" in one of his songs. The buildings on this place have been standing since the 15th Century, but still looks fantastic and in great condition. A good start to experience the UK.’
3. A GAME OF JENGA
Derived from the Swahili word ‘kujenga’ meaning ‘to build’, Jenga is a game in which you build a tower and players take turns to pull one Jenga block at a time without toppling the tower. The blocks are added to the top of the tower and the game continues until the tower comes down.
Nanncy Leao, Timor-Leste
‘During fresher’s week, we were having an international student’s potluck where all international students got together and shared our traditional foods. I really enjoyed tasting food from different countries!
Then, we all worked together to build this huge Jenga tower which was fun and a good way to show teamwork.’
4. A DAY AT PITLOCHRY POWER STATION AND KILLIECRANKIE PARK
Once a battleground between Jacobites and the Williamite government, Killiecrankie Park formed part of the main road between the Highlands and Lowlands in Scotland. Today, it is a place visited by many history buffs and those who enjoy beautiful scenery.
Rafael Mello, Brazil
‘This trip, organised by the School of Engineering of the University of Edinburgh in the welcome week, was a perfect combination of technical, historical, and outdoors tour. In the morning we had the chance to visit the 15 MW Pitlochry Power Station to learn about technical aspects regarding hydropower generation. From the top of the dam, we had the opportunity to admire the stunning view of the landscape, composed by River Tummel.
During the afternoon, we visited the Killiecrankie Park, considered the transition between Lowlands and Highlands. Back in 1689, it was in this area where the Killiecrankie battle happened; one of the most important battles of Scotland’s history. After a short demonstration of the weapons used in this battle by the Jacobites, we did a trekking tour around the park, with spectacular views from the forest and from the valleys. I definitely hit the ground running in my studies in the UK!’
5. A LOOK AT 250 YEARS OF THE MODERN CIRCUS
With a history spanning more than 250 years, the circus is a place where different performers come together to put on a show for the public. Typically, circus shows include performances by acrobats, clowns, gymnasts, and jugglers.
Akhmad Tutus Harmantoro, Indonesia
‘I was at the Weston Park and Weston Park Museum on 7 October 2018 joining the 250 year anniversary of modern circus celebration. This national celebration of Circus250 was integrated with Off the Shelf Festival 2018, a renowned annual UK literacy festival in Sheffield City, which is held from 6 – 27 October 2018.
Since receiving a leaflet in campus promoting the event, I knew I definitely would not want to miss this. I expected to see a live circus for the first time. Unfortunately, this was not the case. There were several small shows - one of them was Professor Jon’s Flea Circus, children activities booths, and circus acrobatic training.
The event was not as what I had expected, however, I had fun beyond my expectations - especially circus acrobatic training. On the training, I tried to use acrobatic equipment and get advice on how to use it correctly. Unfortunately, I failed to master any of the acrobatic equipment. It is quite disappointing but I am still happy to experience it and to have tried.’
6. A BREATH OF FRESH AIR AT WINDERMERE, LAKE DISTRICT
At 10.5 miles long, Windermere is the largest natural lake in England and one of the most popular destinations for those who visit the wider Lake District area. As one of the most scenic locations in the UK, it is easy to see why millions of visitors frequent the area each year.
Saleem Malik, Pakistan
‘I visited Windermere as part of a day trip on 6 October with others from my university.’
7. A WALK AROUND YORK
A truly historic city, York was founded in 71 AD by Romans before becoming the capital for the surrounding areas within the kingdoms of Northumbria and Jorvik. It is a city which has retained much of its history with its architecture and place as a major wool trading centre.
Chandra Craigg, Turks and Caicos Islands
‘My university, Leeds Beckett, is awesome! They hosted a slew of activities for international students our first week, including a free trip to York. I had a great time there fighting a Viking, shopping at the “Store with No Name”, walking the old ruins of a castle, and seeing one of the most beautiful cathedrals in England.’
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