‘Hong Kong, leaving for Cambridge.’ ‘Italy, leaving for Cambridge.’ ‘Australia, leaving for Cambridge…’ Those are not, generally speaking, announcements often heard in airports, not least because Cambridge does not have one of its own: but for the students arriving for two weeks of learning with ORA in Clare College yesterday, those and more were the routes being taken. There is a truly international group of students in Clare, and although we’re just one day into our time, it’s clear that this is doing nothing to hinder friendships from being made.
As they arrived, students were enthusiastically welcomed by their counsellors, who were eager to meet them and show them round their home for the next two weeks. Students were first led to the marquee, where they had their photo taken and were given bags with equipment they’ll need, before they had the chance to mingle amongst each other. Some chose to head to the common room in the library to chat and get to know each other better; others immediately opted to go out into the city centre and explore the area around the College; still others, as the parents congregated in the auditorium for a welcoming talk from the Programme Director after afternoon tea, began playing icebreaker games of their own initiative.
With acquaintances well underway, dinner was held in the Great Hall in Clare College, a scene worthy –as is often remarked—of Harry Potter. With any hunger capably assuaged, everybody returned from the Hall to the main campus, where David Stedman, the Programme Director, formally welcomed the students to their fortnight in Cambridge.
The evening was spent in a tour of the beautiful College, followed by more icebreaker games: and, with friendships growing, students headed to bed. Some had travelled for over fourteen hours, and it was small wonder that sleep was not slow in coming.