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Bristol International Student Centre



Christmas Newsletter Coordinator’s Column

Dates for your diary Spring Term Programme: 25 Jan - Start of Alpha 27 Jan - Lord of the Dance 2 Feb - Chinese Evening 4 Feb - Stratford-on-Avon 8 Feb - Banksy Slide Show 17 Feb - Ice Skating & Meal 21 Feb - Pancake Party 25 Feb - Stonehenge 29 Feb - Guided Walk 1 9 March - Bowling & Meal 14 March - Guided Walk 2 17 March - Oxford

Inside this issue: The Welcome...


i-con Update


Our Volunteers


Thought Provoking 3 Student Talk


Going Back Home


“Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11

This Christmas the BISC Team (from left to right: Yuika, John, Jacqueline, Ruth and Ann) would like to take a moment to say THANK YOU to all BISC STUDENTS from across the World. Your enthusiasm has been a true encouragement for the BISC Team and our many Volunteers. You will be interested to know that more international students now make BISC their home away from home than ever before in the history of our organisation (which has existed since 1976). With Afternoon Teas growing from 15 to 35 students attending, Soup Lunch maintaining a steady 65 and Friday Lunches growing from 15 to as many as 90 students, BISC is buzzing with energy and chatting. And while enjoying a warm and friendly atmosphere, there is of course no shortage of food, as we do believe in eat as much as you like. Without YOUR ENTHUSIASM as part of

BISC Christmas Newsletter

the wider BISC family, the vibrancy you experience at BISC would be impossible. During the Autumn term we met many of you through The Welcome and our busy programme, for which we now have a waiting list for every trip and almost every event. Our Autumn trips took us to London, Windsor and Cardiff. We enjoyed fabulous evening events, kindly hosted by our many supporters across the city. These events include A Taste of the UK, the mindblowing International Reception and the very elegant Christmas Dinner. The SPRING TERM will bring many more opportunities to get to know the British culture, to travel to other cities and to enjoy good food while making friends and practicing your English. We look forward to seeing you at BISC! Until next term, may you enjoy a very special Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

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Bristol International Student Centre

The Welcome & International Reception With more and more international students coming to Bristol, The Welcome 2011 has been an adventure like no other. 1201 students were helped by being offered transport, short-term accommodation or a welcome meal for those new to the city. On our busiest night of offering pasta bakes and chilli con carne, 114 students were served by faithful BISC volunteers. In total 209 volunteers from supporting churches, the UWE and BU, Christian Unions and the BU Chemistry Department, helped to make this spectacular event possible. A highlight of this event was the International Reception held on 22 October when BISC and its trustees officially welcomed more than 600 students to Bristol. To all international students, we say again: WELCOME! ENJOY BISC, your home away from home!!!

i-con (international conversation) Update On Thursday lunchtimes, BISC joins the i-con team up at the Octagon, Frenchay campus. International conversation (i-con) gives students a chance to meet with one another over lunch, and to relax away from the pressure of study. We interviewed Ian Yemm who is an Anglican chaplain at UWE and one of the i-con leaders. Ian, tell us more about yourself, your role here at UWE and also outside of the university campus: Yes, I have a part-time post as Anglican chaplain on the “Students’ Experience Team” based at the Octagon (UWE Multi-Faith Chaplaincy Centre) and have been part of this team for 2 years now. As chaplain at UWE I have responsibility for the pastoral care and support of all students and staff, of any or no faith. Outside of UWE I do some preaching engagements, and also as a professional opera singer I’m involved in teaching singing to the cathedral choir. At the moment I’m also undertaking a Master’s degree at Sarum College in Salisbury. How do you see the future of i-con? Well, the future is different for each year! International students experience dialogue and friendship here. The role of i-con is very much led by the students’ needs. And the role of BISC at i-con? I-con works because it is in partnership with other agencies at UWE. BISC is a useful link between the students and society, and in being involved with the students on Thursdays and beyond. BISC has a heart for international students and offers services that i-con could not provide. We truly enjoy having BISC as part of i-con. BISC Christmas Newsletter

Ian with UWE students Daniella (left) and Antonia (right) We also interviewed some regular i-con students: Antonia is from the Czech Republic, studying English Language & Linguistics, and Daniella from Slovakia doing Business Studies & Economics. What do you enjoy about i-con and BISC? It’s great meeting new people and the mix of cultures. I like the friendly nature of i-con. And we like the home feeling of BISC – it seems like a family house (there’s a hoover, an iron,..!) We just love it!! Jun Hon Poh is from Malaysia, studying law. Why do you come to i-con? The food is good! And you get to mix with other people and cultures. The first time I came to i-con was the best day I’d had since arriving in the UK. I also love BISC!! Page 2

Bristol International Student Centre

Our wonderful Volunteers At BISC we rely on a team of volunteers who are all part of the wider BISC family. Without the faithfulness of these volunteers life at BISC would not be possible. John and Hazel Black are such faithful supporters. John has been a Team Member since 2008, and Hazel has recently joined as a Volunteer helping the soup lunch team on Wednesdays. In an interview we asked: Tell us, where are you originally from and when did you come to Bristol? John: I’m from Corsham in Wiltshire and I came to Bristol to study in 1975; Hazel: I’m from a village in Buckinghamshire, and I came to Bristol after John proposed to me in 1982! How did you first get involved in BISC? John: I’d had cardiac surgery in 2008 and was suffering from depression. I then received a phone call from Hannah (who was BISC coordinator at that time) inviting me to come to BISC and help out. I began by helping students with their essays. Since then, I’ve been involved with general cleaning, hospitality, and i-con at UWE, whilst also continuing with assisting students with their academic English. Hazel: I’d been praying for John at the time of his heart surgery, for God to give him future direction. It therefore seemed a real miracle when that phone call came through, inviting him to be a part of the work at BISC. I gradually got involved myself because of John’s own commitment. What do you most enjoy about being at BISC? John: Just being here! And meeting students. Hazel: I like being part of the team here and supporting John in his role. We both enjoy doing hospitality too (ed. –

John and Hazel helping with the International Reception the Blacks had 18 students round last Christmas!) What do you do in your spare time? Hazel: Artwork, both calligraphy and botanical painting. We’re also selling some of the cards through BISC with the profits going toward the work here. John: Conducting my own research project in social history which I hope to get published. Thank you John and Hazel. You are amazing!

Thought provoking Meetings During the Autumn Term BISC hosted a very inspiring evening exploring the topic Science and God. As is the tradition at BISC, no discussion can take place without a delicious meal in a warm, friendly atmosphere. This Food and Discussion Forum, led by Dr Charl Faul, senior lecturer in Chemistry at the University of Bristol, was no exception. BISC students asked a variety of questions and shared very interesting thoughts and experiences with discussions continuing well after 11pm. From Wednesday 25 January 2012 BISC continues on this journey of discovery and explores questions about life, the existence of God and who Jesus is. ALL INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS are invited to join BISC for this Alpha course that will run for 9 weeks. The course will have the same format as the Food & Discussion forum, starting with a meal in a relaxed atmosphere, followed by a short talk and then time for open discussion. No questions or comments are too complicated or too simple to express and all students from all faiths and no faith will be very welcome to attend. If you are an International Student, we hope to see you there! BISC Christmas Newsletter

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Bristol International Student Centre

Student Talk: Some BISC Regulars BISC interviewed three of our very regular visitors, Lily, Daisy and Zahra. What makes you come back to BISC every week three times a week?! We love the food and the lovely atmosphere! We have met friends here and so like to meet up with them here too. It’s great meeting people from different countries. We have a great time coming to BISC teas and lunches! How did you first hear about BISC? Lily: A friend recommended the place to me, and I’ve made good friends here. Daisy: Someone at the BISC Welcome lounge desk in the Students’ Union talked to me about BISC, and gave me a Welcome Meal leaflet. Zahra: I was met by a student at a desk at the bus station when I arrived, and then I was given a lift to my accommodation. We all met at the first Welcome meals! What are you studying in Bristol and what do you like about the city? Lily: I’m doing TV and Film production for a year. I really like the different churches here and going along to their services and meeting lovely people there. Daisy: I don’t like the weather (the others agree!) nor

From left to right: Lily, Daisy and Zahra the hills – but it depends which direction you’re going in! The harbour reminds me of home (Genoa). I’m doing Foreign Languages and Literature, and as I don’t have set classes to go to, I really like coming to BISC in my free time, rather than being on my own in the library all day. Zahra: I’m studying Computer Science as an undergraduate, so will be here for 4 years. I like the architecture of Bristol, the culture and Banksy! (nods all round)

Going Back Home Ma Li has been a faithful BISC member for several years and is now to return home. BISC asked her about her experiences in Bristol: Where are you from and how long have you been in Bristol? I am from Beijing, China and I have lived in Bristol for 3 years and 2 months. What have you been up to here in Bristol? For the 1st year I studied a Masters Course in Education Technology and Society. Afterwards I tried to find a full time job but didn’t manage and could only find part time ones. I also spent a lot of time travelling and have visited 20 countries in Europe! How did you find out about BISC? I cannot find a word to really express how wonderful BISC is! I have almost been to every single event that BISC puts on. I’ve just signed up now to do the Christmas Card Making and the Christmas Guided Walk so that I can enjoy the nice people, feeling and environment that I first experienced from BISC a couple of years ago. What impact did BISC have on your life in Bristol? BISC always welcomed me, even after I had finished my studies. It really helped me to build up my life here. I had never lived in a foreign country before. My life was full of colour because of BISC! I made some very good friends here. It brought excitement and depth of experience to my life here. BISC Christmas Newsletter

Ma Li, a faithful BISC friend What are your future plans now? I’m going home in January and will catch up with my family and friends. And of course try once more to look for a proper job, related to Education! (I did work as a teacher for 7 years before coming here to study.) Is there anything else you’d like to say? Thank you! I don’t know how to thank BISC, all the volunteers and the team working here – they are so friendly. I’d love to set up a small organisation like BISC in the university at home. I just think it’s such a good idea. I feel very lucky to study in Bristol as I don’t think there are other places like this elsewhere in the UK. Page 4

BISC Student Newsletter - Christmas 2011  

Bi-annual newsletter for international students from Bristol International Student Centre

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