Family & Education

A taste of university life


With weeks to go until the new university term begins, more than 100 soon-to-be undergraduates interrupted their Ikea runs and reading lists on Thursday to attend UniFest 2015.

The day-long festivities, which were hosted by JW3 in north London in association with the Pears Foundation, UJS and UJIA, offered a crash course on all areas of student life - from networking and cooking on a budget, to keeping fit at university and dealing with antisemitism on campus.

Throughout the day, school-leavers mixed with university students to gain some tips and insider knowledge.

"It is great to gather people going through this huge transition in their lives and to give them some direction," said UniFest project manager Deborah Tamir. "We were really happy this year to have first and second year students who wanted to come and share their advice.

"It was also important to engage students who have just left non-Jewish schools, as they are the ones who know little about Jewish life on campus."

UJS president Hannah Brady added: "I hope we can cultivate a space where there is something for everyone, even if they don't want to be the number-one super-Jew on campus.

"I think emotional support is one of the most important things we offer. We can be those people you come to when you don't know what to do."

Sessions included a cooking demonstration by MasterChef finalist Emma Spitzer, who showed budding cooks how to make an easy and affordable meal of roasted vegetables, couscous and marinated salmon, and a presentation by LinkedIn international enterprise manager Dalia Borrenstein.

"For the next three or four years, your profession is your education," Ms Borrenstein said. "Feel comfortable about developing your online network. It is nothing to be shy about and will only help you down the road."

Others on hand were Ben Salamon, education co-ordinator at Tzedek, who spoke about social action on campus, and interfaith charity 3FF, who encouraged students to socialise with other faiths.

Former JFS pupil Rivky Posner, 18, who will be studying biomedical science at Birmingham, said that, while she was "excited about the course", she was "nervous about being confronted about Israel and knowing how to respond".

Rosie Myers said she was most concerned about "meeting new people and living independently". The 18-year-old ex-Immanuel student will be studying cultural and media studies at Leeds.

Rachel Korn, 18, said she was "looking forward to studying classical archaeology alongside people who love the same subject as me". The former Haberdasher's pupil will be leaving for Oxford University in October.

Meanwhile, second year University of Arts student Zoe Hillman said it had been important for her to to provide guidance for others. "I came today because I wanted to be able to give people tips I wish I had known two years ago," she said. "Jewish social life isn't always handed to you - especially in London. You need to get out there and find it."

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