Freya, nominee for the Outstanding Individual Achievement award

Hello, my name is Freya, and I am a second-year Management with Innovation student.  

1. You’ve been nominated because of your work during the welcome period as a JCR President of Goldney. Could you describe what you’ve been doing over this time? 

I spent my time curating a ‘2020 Freshers Survival Guide’, which were given to each flat with recommendations from past Goldney students. I also helped organise a ‘starter pack’ with everything they would need for fresher’s week I, including some snacks, drinking utensils, some Goldney merchandise, fairy lights and a disco light for the flat.   

Once the first years were all moved in, we ran socially distanced events in the Goldney gardens, these included a quiz, outdoor cinema, ‘taskmaster’ style challenge afternoon, Bristol-based scavenger hunts, cooking challenge, morning yoga and an afternoon garden party with ice cream and candy floss! Students were part of ‘living bubbles’ made up of the members of their flats, so we would set out areas with cones to make sure social distancing was maintained. 

I was so glad that my ideas for freshers could come to fruition and that we could execute them and make a real difference for the 2020 Goldney freshers. 

2. What were some challenges you had to overcome? How did you cope with the restrictions? 

The restrictions were a massive challenge! All the ideas had to be carefully thought out and risk-assessed by Resilife to make sure they were Covid safeAt times it seemed easier not to bother than wrestle with the restrictions, but I was really glad we persevered.  

 3. What’s the best thing about being in a position of JCR or being part of society? How can this help students during at University? 

The absolute best thing is the impact that you have on students. As JCR President, I could reach so many people and enrich their University life. Also, the support that you receive and the network and group of people that you become a part of is incredible. The societies, networks and JCRs really are the backbone of University life and what can turn a good experience into an incredible one. 

4. What would you advise students coming to Bristol in the autumn? Especially new freshers arriving in halls for their first time.  

In your first few weeks, take as many opportunities as you can and embrace everything with open arms, even if they are things you don’t think you’ll be remotely interested in. You may surprise yourself, you could make some new friends, or you could just have a funny story to tell from it! There is really nothing to lose.  

Also, get a microwavable saucepan – they are so useful! 

5. What were you doing when you heard that you’d been nominated for an award? 

I was actually preparing for a pitch for the Innovation part of my course. When I got the email, I did a little dance around my room, screamed a bit and texted my mum (she’s always first to know anything!).  I think it’s fair to say seeing the nomination gave me a lot of energy, excitement which I channelled through the pitch! 

 Words by Adam Balazi, International Business Management student

Olivier, nominee for Outstanding Individual Achievement award

1. Who are you? Name, programme, which year. 

My name is Olivier Levy and I’m in my second year of history, Law School. 

2. Tell us about you – favourite food, music, favourite place to hang out in Bristol 

I’m a vegetarian now, I’ve stopped eating meat in the last year. Talking about music, I do have a varied range. I listen to a lot of 70s and 80s rock, which is my favourite type, and recently I’ve been listening to some Chopin. Last week I went to a very cool concert. I really enjoyed that night because I can hear music and talk to people. I appreciate that I can go out with my friends to visit concerts, exhibitions. There are many different places where we can hang out and that has been my favourite part of discovering Bristol.  

3. You’ve been nominated because of your role as Chair of the Wellbeing Network  – could you describe what you’ve been doing this past year? 

There are three different parts of working in the network. The first is working with my amazing committee of ten people.  We also work with many peer support groups. I am proud that we’ve launched a campaign named the Financial Wellbeing Project which can give students financial advice. The second part would be the panels and campaigns we launched in March. The third part would be the Buddy Scheme that I created back in November. It was an online forum, like space where students can chat and get together. I was expecting about 40 to 50 people to sign up at the most. And we had about 450 in the end.  

4. Did your group have conflicts and disagreement before, and how do you handle these? 

No, not at all.  It is very hard to do anything wrong when it comes to improving mental health. Although there are lots of things that can go wrong. But I believe as long as we’re raising awareness and organising conferences and events, we’ll never have any disagreements. 

5. What’s the best thing about being in the society in Bristol SU and how can this help students at University? 

The best thing about being in the network this year has been spending time with the friends I made working in the SU. It’s so uplifting to be working and talking to people who have such positive energy and who aspire to create meaningful and substantial change for students. And I think especially this year when it’s been hard to find more gratifying things. Just being with them has been phenomenal. I could go on forever about them. I can’t recommend it enough! It is a very positive experience. All we try to do is continue to try to improve students’ lives.  

6. Any words to students who want to be a part of the wellbeing network?

I would say just go for it, you don’t need any experience. It’s usually the one thing you could put as much work into as you want. It’s immensely rewarding work. The public speaking will enable you to become an effective communicator, and it’s just nice to be part of the team. I think that’s what I’ve relished the most and what I’m excited about. It is fun to work with different people and engage their perspectives and be a part of the student union. 

Words by Ziqiong Li, MSc Marketing student

Isaac, nominee for Outstanding Individual Achievement award

Hi Isaac, you have been nominated for the Outstanding Achievement Award because of your role as President of Bristol Bar Society. 

How did you get involved in Bar Society in the first place? 

It started with wanting to explore the Bar as a career option because I have always been keen on the advocacy side of the profession. I saw the potential the Bristol Bar Society had and wanted to help the society reach its potential.  

What was the project that you enjoyed the most getting involved in this year, and why? 

The Bar has traditionally been a restrictive profession that often marginalises People Of Colour, Women, LGBTQIA+ individuals. When I became the President of the Bristol Bar Society, I wanted to spearhead the #NoBarToTheBar initiative. It has been the unofficial motto of the Bristol Bar Society, but my Vice President and I worked tirelessly this academic year to bring it to life. In fact, my entire committee played an active role this year to make the #NoBarToTheBar initiative successful. I enjoyed bringing all these opportunities to our student members which were previously unheard of. It was gratifying seeing our student members benefit from the various initiatives under the #NoBarToTheBar umbrella. The highlight was working alongside my committee to turn the tide with the #NoBarToTheBar initiative. I will cherish the privilege of serving and working alongside them all. 

Did you know that someone was going to nominate you for the award? What was your initial reaction when you were nominated? How do you feel now? 

I was not actively seeking people to nominate me because people should recognise the work you have done and seek to nominate you themselves. Hence, I was taken aback when I found out I had been nominated for this award. I am deeply humbled and honoured by this nomination. It will take a while for the feeling to sink in.   
 

Why do you think it is important to join societies, go the extra mile and put in the additional effort? 

For those of us who choose the University path, it becomes a significant part of our young adult lives. Our lives revolve around the student community, which become a part of our personal growth. Going the extra mile and putting in the additional effort benefits the student community, which gives back to us all. It makes a significant difference to the lives of our peers and successors who will reap the benefits of all the hard work and time you might have dedicated. Your effort might lay the foundation for future progress. It can be extremely rewarding to see things come to fruition.

You are a Law student, at the same time actively engaged in student life and Student’s Union. Where do you get your motivation or inspiration from? 

My mother and grandmother were the hardest working people I knew. I draw my inspiration and work ethic from them.

What would you advise students coming to Bristol in the autumn? 

Make your mistakes whilst you are here! Do not be afraid of making mistakes! They will be your best teachers!  

Words by Katarzyna Gorska, Law and German student

My go to student dishes – international student food blog

Like most newbies to the UK, you’ll have heard that you can get utensils, cooking pots and the like at Wilko for decent prices. But wait.. what should you cook with them? This is were the real fun begins!

First, you’ll need to source out some ingredients and the joy of scavenging though produce and condiments with peculiar names is an enthralling experience. As you’re picking through the fresh vegetables and fruits, you notice a growing trend. This doesn’t look anything like the spinach I know, and is this banana unusually large and yellow?

Most African families are accustomed to bulk shopping, sometimes for the whole week or even a month. Unfortunately, this was impractical when faced with produce grown and stored differently. Only later did I discover those precious Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Oriental stores that offer those hard-to-find ingredients e.g.  plantains, maize flour, and parathas. To the country’s credit, there is no short of vegan alternatives as nearly all restaurants and groceries have plant-based options of some sort. This greatly supported me through my vegetarian lifestyle and vegan aspirations.

Breakfast happens to be my favourite meal and some classics are;

  • Oatmeal: So wholesome, filling, and nutritious, with various toppings whether sweet or savoury. I usually add some almonds and seed mix.
  • “….” on toast : Another opportunity to create a masterpiece and the backbone of it is high quality bread. My combos included : peanut butter and banana, hummus with olives and cucumbers, mushrooms and caramelized white onion, mushy peas, and black pepper (What, no avocado ? I know, I know but some witch cursed me in my crib, preventing me from enjoying this).
  • Pancakes : Whether in crepe form or fluffy American style, these are always a winner. Add some syrup or honey on top of that, dollop of yogurt and it’s a done deal!

Other meals called upon my creativity and put those cooking lessons with mum to the test. Just a few are:

  • Beans or lentil curry : What better way to make use of a vast spice collection? The outcome of the different blends brings something new to the table each time.  I usually munch this down with some turmeric and cardamon rice, but dry curries are excellent in Buddha bowls.

Roast vegetables: I’m talking sweet potatoes, white  potatoes, carrots,  eggplant, butternut, pumpkin, and bell peppers. This became my staple every week for the sheer ease of making it and the satisfying taste that doesn’t require any additional sauces (though some ketchup or tomato chutney on the side never hurt anyone) . Paprika and dry herbs such as thyme, sage or rosemary are your best friend for these.

The following recipe took dark greens vegetables to the next level in my cooking. Ingredients include:

  • A handful of leafy green of choice (spinach, kale, collard greens etc), 1 large white onion, 1 clove of garlic, 2 tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers, 1 courgette, 1 spring onion
  • Must have spices are ground ginger, ground coriander, mixed herbs and the usual salt and black pepper
  • Finally, some olive oil and ¼ cup of water

Start by cooking down the white onion and garlic in the oil till they turn translucent and add the mushrooms. Add ground ginger and coriander to the onions, then roughly a minute later, the splash of water. After letting it infuse,  add the other veggies. Once the tomatoes  soft, bring in the dark greens. Turn down the heat, crack your black pepper and salt, pop the lid on and let that simmer away. You will not regret it!

I’m not ashamed to admit that I often felt nostalgic for the food of my home country and would sometimes find myself fantasizing about Kenyan chapati with a sad bowl of carrot and coriander soup upon my lap.  You know those restaurants that you visit often enough for the waiter to know the order by heart? That would be Saab Bakery, Haru Japanese restaurant, Boho Eatery and ArtCaffe for me.

Just the memory of being with my family and sharing a delicious meal, hits the spot every time. In Bristol, I happened to fall in love with one great hub along Park Street. To this day my tongue never did taste a stack of berry pancakes as delectable as those of Boston Tea Party. Did I already mention I’m a breakfast girl? Well, this joint was among the many highlights between my homemade muffins in the afternoon and a Costa hug in a mug.

What left to say than it’s been and still is one scrumptious odyssey.

A feast for the tastebuds! – international student food blog

Hi friends,

My name is Xuexi Pan, a postgraduate student studying Sociology. I come from Yibin, an attractive city of the Sichuan province in southwest China, where the Jinsha, Min and Yangtze rivers converge. Due to the topography of the basin in which it is located, the air is more humid and dampness tends to enter people’s body which is harmful. Eating chilies or food made from them accelerates the blood and makes the whole body sweat, thus the cold dampness can be driven out. So, in my hometown Yibin, people enjoy spicy food.

Yibin Burninges Noodles

This is both the name of a restaurant and a highly famous dish in Yibin. Located on People’s Road in the bustling city centre, this restaurant is a century-old establishment. Burninges Noodles, given this name because their oil is heavy and waterless and ignites on fire. Sounds particularly amazing, doesn’t it? It is, especially when you eat it, spicy and numb, an absolute feast for the tastebuds!

Recipes for Burninges Noodles

I love Burninges Noodles, and I always make my own here, whilst living in Bristol. I would love to share the recipe for making this dish below.

Ingredients egg noodles, Yibin sprouts, crushed cooked peanuts, chopped spring onions, star anise, sesame seeds, gold striped chilies and fine peppercorns
Seasoning 4 tablespoons of sesame oil

one tablespoon of chilli oil

3 tablespoons of soy sauce

one small tablespoon of MSG

How to do it

1. Bring a large amount of water to the boil, cook the noodles until they are about 80% cooked (there is still a white heart in the middle)

2. Remove with long chopsticks and place in a small bamboo cage and SHAKE well to dry.

3. Place in a bowl, add the soy sauce while still hot and mix well with chopsticks repeatedly so that they do not stick

4. Immediately add the chili oil and sesame oil and mix well

5. Sprinkle the remaining ingredients over the top

6. Mix well and serve

I encourage you to make this dish yourself in Bristol, you can find all the ingredients at Wah Yan Hong. However, I would recommend visiting Yibin in Sichuan to get a more authentic taste of this dish! I hope that you have enjoyed this blog post and will try this recipe yourself at home.

Pictures credit: Chuanxue You (permission for use has been obtained)

Reflecting on a year during COVID for World Art Day 2021

In celebration of  World Art Day on 15 April 2021. ResiLife is launching a student competition for all budding artists, photographers and creators. The subject for all entries is to reflect “A year at UOB during COVID-19”.

 

Over the past year, students at the University of Bristol have shown huge resilience through the many different challenges that no one could have anticipated. We would like to celebrate World Art Day by reflecting on 2020 through a student’s eyes, using art to express the resilience shown and many challenges overcome. Thinking about your time here at Bristol this year, we would like your help to capture this and create something spectacular that will last for many years to come. (more…)

My COVID-19 university experience outside of student life

I’m George and I’m studying BSc Politics and International Relations.

What volunteering I’m doing whilst studying

Whilst at university I’m volunteering as a Special Constable with our local police force, Avon and Somerset Police. In this role, I hold the same powers as a regular police officer and patrol alongside them by preventing and detecting crime to help keep the community safe. Engaging with the community through my volunteering has allowed me to engage with the wider community, which is great because I learn something new or exciting about Bristol every day. I volunteer at least 16 hours a month, however I recognise the importance of breaking the study cycle at university so often commit to more hours.

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