Tag Archives: international students summer 2021

International students visit Cambridge, Centre of Knowledge – both useful and ‘useless’!  

Birkbeck international students enjoyed an excursion to the beautiful historic university city of Cambridge on two dates in August and September. Both days included a guided walking tour, chauffeured river punting and a visit to a famous Cambridge pub.

International students on day trip to Cambridge

As befits a day out with university students in a university town, the first day out to Cambridge was quite an education. Apart from historical facts shared by tour-guide Andrew, including why Henry VIII wields a table leg instead of a golden sceptre at Trinity College; and through some fun conversations en route, the group also learned the correct pronunciation of ‘Côte d’Ivoire’, the origin of ‘soccer’, how to make Chinese dumplings and a really quick and simple way to count cattle which, in case you’re wondering, is to count the legs and divide by four. 

For the second excursion, after the first one quickly sold out, students were overjoyed to see the weather was even better this time round! After a walking tour of the city, students enjoyed a leisurely chauffeured punting tour along the Backs, with the iconic views of Kings College and other beautiful college buildings. Students had free time to explore Cambridge, then reconvened at the historic Eagle pub for drinks before heading back to London.   

international students enjoying a day out in Cambridge

Once again, students said how much they enjoyed seeing more of the UK and getting to meet fellow students. 

International students being shown around the city of cambridge

Both excursions provided a great way to meet other students, discover the UK and to accumulate some useful, and sometimes ‘useless’ knowledge! 


International Students’ Day Trips to Oxford

In the second part of a series of blogs looking back at excursions held for international students earlier in the summer, we share two special days out to the historic city.

international students day trip to oxford

On 24  July, Birkbeck’s international students visited Oxford with tour guide, Andrew, taking them on a guided walking tour of the beautiful and ancient university city. He explained its long history, showed its most famous buildings and told some intriguing stories, including the strange and sometimes treacherous world of college tortoise racing!  Afterwards, students enjoyed a relaxing chauffeured punting tour of the River Cherwell, and then had a few hours free time for exploring, eating, shopping and chilling out.

international students trip to Oxford in July



Another scheduled day out to Oxford, later in the month, brought a typical British weather system; with umbrellas at the ready!
international students holding umbrellasDespite the frequent downpours of rain, the students’ spirits were not dampened. As our guide Andrew pointed out, ‘there’s no bad weather in England, just wrong clothes’. He led another interesting and entertaining walking tour of the city, pointing out the beautiful historic sights of Oxford and explaining its darker historical links to the slave trade.    

international students enjoying tea and coffee

Due to the rain, the group abandoned plans to go punting on the river and instead visited the beautiful Grand Café, the oldest coffee shop in the UK, which dates from 1650. After enjoying coffee, tea and cakes, the sun came out again for a few hours of free time to explore the city. 


Birkbeck says ‘au revoir’ to international students at an exquisite French afternoon tea party

In celebration of our international students, who bring a glorious array of experiences and diversity to the College, and in advance of next week’s International Student Day, we’re looking back over the past summer of events and excursions in a series of blog posts. Here, we share the delicious and stylish afternoon tea enjoyed by outgoing international students at the end of last term.

international students afternoon tea

The exquisite Mariage Frères Tea Rooms in London’s Covent Garden was the location and the special guests were Birkbeck’s international students, enjoying the final international student event of the academic year, providing another chance to socialise and make friends, especially for those students about to finish their studies and move on to new pastures. 

After a welcoming glass of French champagne and iced Japanese tea hosted in the Mariage Frères reception room and museum, Professor Kevin Ibeh, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), started proceedings with heartfelt congratulations to the students for enduring this unprecedented time of pandemic and thanked La Young Jackson (Registry Services) for organising this and so many other ‘delightful events’.  He encouraged students to be proud of their achievements and of their university, and to stay close to the institution in their lifelong futures as Birkbeck alumni.  
international students afternoon tea

Host Julien of Mariage Frères gave a brief and interesting introduction to the history of the company, founded in Paris in 1864 and still the quintessential French high quality tea emporium.  He introduced the company’s concept of ‘travelling the world through tea’ especially with their signature Marco Polo tea blend.  He introduced items from the small museum collection and demonstrated in his beautiful French accent the correct pronunciation of ‘Mariage Frères’ – it’s not easy! 

afternoon tea for international students

Then it was down to the serious business of scoffing cakes and savoury treats and drinking delicious teas in the beautiful surroundings of this historic 19th century building.  In case you’re wondering how a French afternoon tea differs from an English one, the answer is perhaps not so surprising – the French food offerings were simply more stylish, exquisite and, well, trés chic!  Each savoury and cake was a small mouth-watering work of art.   

Both students and staff in attendance agreed that the French afternoon tea party was a truly wonderful experience and everybody left feeling happy and very full.  

Thanks go to all of the wonderful students for making the event such a joyous occasion.  For those of you embarking on the lifelong journey as Birkbeck alumni, please remember as the saying goes – “this is not ‘goodbye’, it is merely ‘au revoir’”.