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MPW Cambridge Pre-Term Orientation for International Students’ and ‘Induction Day’

12 September 2017

2017_18 International Students' Induction Day

On Friday, 8th of September, we hosted our pre-term orientation day for international students. This day is organised with the aim to ensure that our international students experience a smooth transition and introduction, both to our little community as well as to Cambridge.

Seventy-six students, parents and guardians attended the event. The day began with an animated introduction by Tim Joseph, our International Director Academic, followed by a welcome by our Principal, Markus Bernhardt.  Markus introduced the MPW Senior Team of Principals and Directors of Study, explaining  a little bit about their different areas of expertise, the subjects they teach and giving an overview of their pastoral responsibilities.  Elpida Christianaki, Director of Studies and the Cambridge IFP co-coordinator and co-organiser of the event, revealed some very welcome surprises which had not been included in the official timetable for the day, such as a little walking tour around Cambridge as well as concluding the day at the ten pin bowling centre, getting to know one another and relaxing.

In the morning sessions, our international students were advised on many different but useful aspects of life here in the UK, from how to register with a doctor to the measures one should take to cycle safely around Cambridge. Students also had the opportunity to engage with a guest speaker from Cambridge Police Constabulary, who delivered a fascinating interactive presentation about personal safety. Inga Morrissey, Director of Studies and our Head of English as Additional Language, then gave a fantastic overview of English as an Additional Language, stressing the importance of the development of English language skills with a view to achieving students’ potential in their A levels, but also its importance when it comes to university applications.

After a quick break during which students were able to relax, socialise, enjoy some snacks and do a fun quiz about Cambridge and the University, it was time to follow Elpida and trek around Cambridge. Spotting University of Cambridge colleges and learning about where famous graduates like Darwin, Lord Byron and Ian McKellen (Gandalf from ‘Lord of the Rings’!) studied, was definitely a highlight. Many parents and guardians joined in on the walking tour and everyone had a great time. When the heavens opened, students also learned of the importance of persevering towards a goal irrespective of adversities encountered, in this case the British weather! The walking tour also included spotting useful places such as grocers, banks, cinemas, shopping centres, bookshops, pharmacies and delicious bakeries and patisseries. A group photo in front of King’s College to remember the day was of course an opportunity not to be missed, either. Bowling was time to make more friends, relax and enjoy a few treats. Everyone was happily tired by the end of the day and ready to get in to head home for the weekend, looking forward to our Induction Day on Monday, where they would meet the European and British students.

Monday 1th of September was our induction day for all students. More than 200 students arrived that morning, sun shining, at the front lawn of the college, where the site team had set up a little gazebo and welcome desk, to collect their student folders and to be directed to their base room for the day. Each of them spent the entire day with their Personal Tutor and had the chance to meet and socialise with other learners from their Personal Tutor group. There were also many opportunities for socialising with students from across the college during lunch break and enjoy a hot or cold drink, delicious meal, snack or panino at our Gustos canteen downstairs at Brookside, run by our favourite Chilean couple, Denise and Carlos.

Heena Chudasama, our Counselling Psychologist, visited all PT groups to introduce herself and explain her role at the college for those experiencing difficulties during their academic journey at MPW. Graham Almond, our Deputy Principal, photographed each and every student and then uploaded the photos on the college’s intranet, where students can view their homepage, timetable, timed assignment test results and much more. Timetables were revealed, always a big moment for our students, and they received ‘Guidelines for Students’ and the Academic Year Plan for 2017/2018. They discussed such aspects as the role of the Personal Tutor in the college, learning support provided at MPW Cambridge, the importance of the Timed Assignments and maintaining excellent attendance, as well as the support provided for UCAS applications in general, as well as for Oxford, Cambridge, Medicine and many other specialities in particular.

Personal Tutors also informed students about the enrichment sessions for AS and International Foundation Programme Students (IFP). The enrichment sessions include six clubs this year. Students can join the ‘Basketball and Badminton’ club and exercise at our local sports centre. Alternatively, they can join ‘Mindfulness and Wellbeing’ run by our Psychology tutor, John Cooter; or our ‘Science Club’ led by our Science Tutor, Elaine Farrow; the ‘Creative Writing’ club run by published playwright, Abi Docherty or the ‘Drama Club’ run by our Economist and Director of Studies Kieron Toner. Another choice is ‘Ethics Club’, run by our Philosophy tutor Toby Taylor, which explores questions such as ‘what is right and wrong’ and ‘what are the moral questions of our time’. Students made their choices on Monday and by Thursday; they were all attending their preferred club.

It has been a fun and positive start to the academic year and we have enjoyed welcoming returning students as well as those new to our community, alike.

On behalf of Markus and the senior team, we would like to wish all our students a very rewarding and enjoyable academic year!