Author Archives: Rebekah

Birkbeck on Ice

During the Christmas season, one of the most famous things to do is visit the Natural History Museum’s annual ice rink. In this blog, Bonnie Marnock, an MSc Management with Human Resource Management student, shares how she and her classmates got into the festive spirit at the Students’ Union’s Birkbeck on Ice event.

In the lead-up to the end of the semester, Birkbeck on Ice was the perfect way to enjoy a firm favourite – the Natural History Museum’s ice skating.

With a chill in the air and decorations adorning Cromwell Road, a group of Birkbeck students got in the spirit by trying their hand for the first time at ice skating, with those more experienced to guide them. There were some little slips and trips, but all were soon gliding around the beautiful Christmas tree and enjoying the evening.

In one corner, some pro’s provided a show, spinning and doing little pirouettes, while on the other side there was a photobooth, the timing of which made for some funny photos while skaters tried to turn around in time after hitting the shutter button. The best Christmas jumper award went to a scotty dog-inspired number, and in the following session a group in reindeer onesies graced the ice with considerable skill – practicing ahead of the big night perhaps?

Just in time for our session to end, the rain came down, so we all retreated into the loft bar for some mulled wine or hot chocolates, and to get to know the new friends made out on the ice, or catch up with how classmates were going with revision and assessments. A very pleasant way to defrost our fingers!

Thank you to the Student Union for organising the discounted tickets, a great night was had by all!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas – stay safe and see you on the other side, rested and ready for the New Year!

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A warm welcome to our 2021 Compass Scholars

After another competitive application round, Birkbeck once again welcomed 20 new students onto the Compass Scholarship Programme this October. The students, who are studying a range of subjects such as Psychology, Maths, Business and Politics, are almost at the end of their first term at Birkbeck already. Here’s a look back at their journey so far and some of the things they have been up to.
A group of Compass students outside of the Malet Street building

We were kindly hosted by the fantastic Library staff at Birkbeck for our two-day Orientation. In addition to a friendly welcome from the Access and Engagement Department staff who run the Compass Project, our Scholars heard from Birkbeck’s Wellbeing, Study Skills and Library team about the services available to them this year. They also enjoyed some tasty food from Terrace 5, a restaurant in the main building and a tour of the facilities. Thankfully the weather was great and showed off Bloomsbury in its best light during our mini tour of the area.

Following Orientation, our Scholars were introduced to their volunteer academic mentors. Our mentors participated in online training with mentor lead, Luke Williams, over the summer and have been checking in with their students throughout the term. A huge thank you to our mentors as always, for the support and guidance they offer to our scholars.

Birkbeck Students joining our friends at Student Action Refugees at the Anti-Refugee Bill Demonstration on 20 October

Birkbeck students and Compass team holding up signs that say; "Refugees welcome"Some of our scholars have already teamed up with last year’s Student Action Refugees (STAR) committee. In addition to the meetings to plan this year’s activities, they got stuck in straight away through their contributions to the Anti-Refugee Bill rally that took place on 20 October in Westminster. It was lovely to see representation at the rally from so many of our partners in the sector. Birkbeck is proud of its STAR student society and are excited to see what things they get up to this year.

If you would like to find out more about the Compass Project at Birkbeck, see our webpage or email the Compass Project team.


Celebrating the winter solstice at Birkbeck

This month, Birkbeck’s International experience committee and Chinese Students and Scholars Association (BBK CSSA), hosted a networking event to mark “Dongzhi”, the winter solstice. The event gave Chinese students from the broader community the opportunity to share their experiences of studying in London.

In this blog, Di Luo, Chair of BBK CSSA, discusses the importance of the festival to Chinese people and how attendees marked the occasion.

Students in  classroom with masks on, the people in the front row are holding up a branded bag with an orange owl on the front

In Chinese, the winter solstice is called “Dongzhi”, which literally means “the arrival of winter”. The Dongzhi Festival is one of the most important celebrated by the Chinese – as important as Chinese New Year, in fact. It is a time families come together and bond over the preparation of a symbolic dish.

The winter solstice occurs when either of Earth’s poles reaches its maximum tilt away from the Sun. This happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere (Northern and Southern). In the Northern region of China, to celebrate Dongzhi, people eat fatty dumplings that contain meat and high Yang warming herbs such as ginger and garlic. In the Southern region of China, people gather together to make and tangyuan, a Chinese dessert made with glutinous rice flour, which symbolizes family unity and prosperity.

Due to COVID-19, this year’s celebration at Birkbeck had to be adapted. Nevertheless, we were pleased to see over 25 students from Birkbeck, SOAS, Queen Mary University and Goldsmiths University, who enjoyed the wonderful event. Attendees were served traditional British snacks and Bubble Teas, courtesy of guest Xiaoyu Chang, from Ying Tuan.Hula hoops, cheddar cheese packets and bubble tea on a table

The afternoon included a question-and-answer session with an introduction to the College’s facilities. There was also a session on how to study more efficiently, and fun things to do in London, as well as games and quizzes, such as the “who is undercover” game, and a talent show. Zoe Stephens, an MSc International Security and Global Governance student at Birkbeck, introduced herself in SIX different languages, including; English, Mandarin, Korea, Japanese, German and Dutch! It was very entertaining, and congratulations to Zoe on winning one of the prizes. The event was filled with laughs and the sharing of good wishes for 2022 from attendees.

BBK Chinese students and scholars’ association, hereby, on behalf of all Chinese students studying at Birkbeck and our alumni, wishes everyone a happy and warm winter this year, and the very best of the new year of 2022, which will soon be upon us!

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