Goldsmiths Welcome Week 2013

A blog aiming to capture some of the excitement happening at Goldsmiths during Welcome Week 2013

Welcome Week is over for this year, we hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have! On our Facebook page you can find photos from week, as well as news and updates about everything that is happening at Goldsmiths. Don’t forget we’re also on Instagram and Twitter, where you can always get in touch if you have questions or want to share something from your time at Goldsmiths. 

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It’s been such nice weather all week, and Friday hasn’t proved different. A good opportunity to just chill on the College Green and get ready for next week when lectures start. We caught up with some students to see what the week has been like what they think of everything so far.

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Yashu, MA Arts Administration and Cultural Policy and Tony Mak, MA Photography, have both come to London from China.

Yashu: “The week has been really good. Everything is very new and there are lots of people from all of the world. It’s just a good time to try lots of new things and meet lots of people. I visited the Freshers’ Fayre, and joined a couple of societies, and arts society and a feminist group. The area here is much better than I’d heard before I came, I live in Batavia Mews. Now I’m just looking forward to learn new things, make some more friends, do some alternative things and gain new experiences.”

Tony: “The best about this week was meeting a lot of people who know a lot about art. I’m from China, and the society is quite different here which I enjoy very much. I’ve been to London several times before and really enjoy it. What has impressed me most is that in London there are a lot of museums and you can learn so much about art here. My course is MA Photography and I’m hoping to experience something different from China. It feels more open-minded here. I’ve met some people that are doing my course, some of them are not the same age as me but much older and more experienced, and I think that’s great because you can learn from them and their experiences.” 

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Stian Stander (to the right) is studying to become a teacher in Norway, and will be taking Politics modules at Goldsmiths for one term. Here with a friend visiting from Oslo.

I choose to study here because London is such a big place and I wanted to do something different and not stay in Oslo all the time. Freshers’ Week has been good; I’m a bit tired because I was Freshers’ Week at my home University too, so I’ve done two weeks in a row now. I’ve been off since May, so it’s a nice way to end the holiday! I’ve started reading some of the books on my reading list. Me and a friend are doing try-outs for the football team next week. I think it’ll be alright, it seems there aren’t that many footballs players around. I’ve met quite a lot of Americans, and I live in Loring Hall with seven other girls. Everyone’s been very welcoming, there are lots of different people here. In Oslo it’s a bit more stereotypical, Goldsmiths has a lot more artistic courses to offer.”

Although yesterday was the last day of Freshers’ Fayre, the fun didn’t stop today. Accompanied by tunes from a brass band, Goldsmiths academics and department staff were at the College Green to offer advice and information on the academic aspect of University.

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Siobhan MacInnes is the Department Manager for the Department of Visual Cultures.

“What I would generally encourage new students to do is get involved. We really want their feedback and for them to get involved in their department. As Welcome Week comes to and end, I’d say to students to take all the excitement you’re feeling now and put it into the year. Don’t be afraid to speak to staff or academics if you have any problems, speak to the DSC (Departmental Student Coordinators) or PALs (Peer Assisted Learning) students. Also, there are so many societies, so much artwork and galleries to get involved with here. It’s a really exciting time and so many opportunities… take them!”

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This morning we arranged a free guided bus tour for students who perhaps are new to London, or just want to learn more about the buzzing capital. There were some very interesting facts learned (some more necessary to know than others). For those who couldn’t make it, here is your London in numbers:

300 museums in London (most of them free).

80 performances taking place every night. 

1/3 of London is a park, garden or lake.

2,300 paintings in the National Gallery.

430 feet is the height of London Eye.

5 percent of the country’s income is generated in the Bank area!

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Katie Engberg and Rachel Douglas are visiting students from New Jersey. Katie will be taking modules in Anthropology and Sociology and  Rachel in English & Anthropology. We asked what’s most exciting about London, and whether they have experienced any culture shocks so far.

“The roads here are terrifying. They’re really thin, and then it’s the opposite side of the road thing! In terms of culture shocks, there was a funny moment when a Doritos bag wasn’t the right colour on the outside. It shouldn’t be orange; it should be red for cheese Doritos!

Everything here is so old compared to anything you find in the United States. And everything is so active. We already visited the Harry Potter studios, and we’re going to see the Shakespeare Globe and Stonehenge soon.  

Welcome Week has been really fun. We’re looking forward to the rest of the term, to start classes. They’re structured differently than the classes we take at home; it’ll be exciting to see how it works. We’re ready getting back in to doing school stuff! And see everything we’ve seen on TV and heard about and just really experience it.”

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Kevin, Katy and Ellie enjoying the view from Westminster Abbey (which is a thousand years old!).

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Sean Courtney is from Brooklyn, NY and will be taking modules in Politics. Shabhia Akter is from Queens, NY, and is at Goldsmiths to do Psychology and English.

Shabhia: “London is amazing! The people, the food, it’s amazing. You just have to experience it! I’m looking forward to seeing going to museums, exploring restaurants and shopping areas.”

Sean: “Everyone is so friendly, and so welcoming. I love it here. For example, I was walking past a grocery store and complimented a man on his dog, and he asked if I wanted any puppies, just like that! I’m looking forward to classes and I’m a bit scared at the same time, I want to see what the workload will be like. After that, it’s travelling”.

We met Katie, Satta, Katherine and Harry, four BA Theatre and Performance freshers who aren’t feeling too fresh this morning!

Harry: “We went to the Students’ Union last night and a few pubs in the area, so we’re not feeling too fresh this morning. Meeting people has been easy; theatre students tend to be very sociable.”

Katie: “I moved here from New York having never been to England before. I didn’t even attend an Open Day; I just liked the look of Goldsmiths and applied. So far I really like the pace here. It’s a lot slower than New York but there are a surprising amount of similarities.”

"We’re all wearing black because we’ve got our first workshop in ten minutes. I think it will be great once we’ve properly started our courses and have a bit more of a structure."

We’ve spoken to lots of Freshers about Welcome Week and what they’re looking forward to during their time at Goldsmiths. Here are two new students, Josh and James, on how they’ve found the week so far, and how they feel about the future. #goldsmiths2013

Aimee Fitzpatrick and Lauren Newbould, both second year students, just had their second year-inductions. Aimee studies BA Media & Communications and Lauren BSc Psychology. 

As second years, what advice would you give to students coming here for the first time?

Aimee: “Make as many friends as you can! Go to lectures. Try and be social and join as many things you can, and visit as man places you can.”

Lauren: “You don’t have to always stay in New Cross, there are lots of other places in London to see.”

Aimee: “Southbank for example is lovely.”

Lauren: “And Camden!”

What are you looking forward to in your second year?

Aimee: “Getting more involved in the course and new modules. This term I’m doing screenwriting, which is what I want to specialise in.”

Lauren: “The psychology course is very intense, and the modules will be a lot more interesting now. As part of the course we’ll have to take parts in other students’ experiments, which I’m really looking forward to.”


Although the Freshers’ Fayre is still on, and there are activities on tomorrow too, Welcome Week will soon be coming to an end. We caught up with students to see what their week has been like and what they are looking forward to now.

Sharon Clair and Xiaoye Zhang will both be studying MA Applied Theatre. Sharon moved to London from Birmingham, and Xiaoye is originally from Beijing, China.

Sharon: “I’ve really enjoyed this week, all of it! It’s been loads of fun. The local area is so vibrant. It’s very alive, always something going on, artistically too. I feel like I’ve had a lot of really good conversations with people. We’ve just visited Freshers’ Fayre and I joined the English Society.”

Xiaoye: “It’s been great. I really enjoy all the service that Goldsmiths have, like the never-closing library. At the Freshers’ Fare I joined  Wired Radio. I’d love to do a radio show this year. It would probably be starring lots of Chinese indie music. Now I’m just looking forward to start my course and see what it’s really like.”

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Yesterday we interviewed Rachit from the Top Table Society who urged board game fans to join them in the fun. Today, however, as rivals appeared next to their stall the atmosphere turned rather sour. We caught up with the new contenders to see what it is they have to offer.

Hello, who are you?

“We’re Theo Gorst, BA English & American Literature, and Maverick Pettit-Taylor, BA Anthropology, both in our second years.

Our society is called ‘All Aboard’ and it’s a new gaming society. We’re similar to the gaming society next to us, except we’re much better. There’s an unofficial competition going on.”

Who’s got the most people signed up?

“It’s definitely them. We’ve done quite well so far, we’ve had a bout 40 signed up, but we missed out by not being here yesterday.”

How often does All Aboard meet up?

“The logistics haven’t been quite decided, but probably about twice a month.”

What happens then?

“Then we sit down and play board games. Members can bring their own games, and we play for a couple of hours.”

Who decides what game rules to go by?

“You do get a lot of family rules, in Monopoly for example, some people have a rule that you’re not allowed to buy property the first time you go around. We’ve discussed that, and we’re going to have more than one game on at a time, so we’ll group people together that have similar rules.”

Is New Cross on the Monopoly board?

“No, but Old Kent Road is! It’s the cheapest… We couldn’t find a proper monopoly for today so this is the Simpsons version.”

What’s your favourite board game?

“Probably Scrabble, it’s classic and takes a long time to finish. Or Monopoly, it brings out competition in people, and it’s good for young entrepreneurs and to learn how to manage your money.”

Do you drink or eat when you meet?

“As a new society, we’re not really sure what the proceedings will be. Drinking something meanwhile might be a good idea, you’d get a lot of reckless spending in Monopoly then.”

So you’re all about the traditional games?

Yes, the Table Top Society next to us seem to have gone for newer games, we’re much more traditional. It’s a bit awkward having stalls next to each other, but actually they’re nice people. We stole some of their sweets and they got a bit angry. We don’t have any sweets but we’ve got a mini-dice if you want!”

The All Aboard rules:

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Sharon Alleyne, your Goldsmiths money guru.

Earlier this morning, Sharon Alleyne, Head of Student Funding, held a workshop on how to manage on a student budget. Although budgeting might not be the first thing on our mind during Welcome Week, it’s good to know that there is help if you need it.

The most important thing, she said, is to be honest to yourself about your finances, and talk to someone if you are having problems.

The Student Funding team help students with bursaries and funding, and they also give workshops and one-to-one sessions to help you manage your money better. Here are Sharon’s top five tips in order to not panic about your finances:

  • Keep a running total of your daily expenditure.
  • Budget on a regular basis – monthly is ideal and it helps you to keep in control.
  • Divide income over period intended ie student loan divided by 39 weeks.
  • Consider paying your bills by direct debit or standing orders.
  • Keep in contact with companies you owe money to eg credit card companies, gas/electricity boards. They are often really helpful and it is much better than ignoring the debt.

The Student Funding Team is located in the Student Centre, RHB 117. Their telephone number is 0207 919 7757, email: student-supp@gold.ac.uk.

If you missed it yesterday, our Instagram account has pictures and videos from the Freshers’ Fayre. And if you’re still unsure what societies you should join, or want to sign up to more, the Fayre is in full swing today again. Here Julian Silverman, president of the LGBTQ society makes his case clear.

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Here are a few of the photos snapped today at the Fayre. Go to our Facebook page to see more, and tag yourself and your friends. Freshers’ Fayre is on again tomorrow 1am-5pm on the College Green. There’s also an event on learning how to survive on a student budget at 10-11am in Richard Hoggart Building room 140. Plus an art exhibition by Goldsmiths’ alumni, a mature student welcome event, film night and much more. You’ll find all the details here. See you all then!

Rachit Giri from the Top Table Society.. not quite within the 15 seconds, but you get his point!

As if it it’s not hot enough in here! Zumba enthusiasts from the Goldsmiths gym and the Dance Society.

Freshers’ Fayre is all about societies and freebies. And of course, meeting other students, getting to know the Students’ Union and other people here to help you. But what societies should you join? We asked society reps to pitch their society in 15 seconds. First out is Florrie Holloway who is the Women’s Hockey Team captain.