Size doesn't matter - we feel at home

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

By Gabriella Pampel, October 1, 2009
All smiles: Gabriella (far right) and friends enjoy a Freshers’ Week party

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

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.

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

Last updated: 4:07pm, October 1 2009