Well, our first 300 students are here: another 40 arrive next week, for the second half of the first programmes: Ancient and Classical Worlds, Science Term I and Science Term II. Interdisciplinary Term I students are just completing their first week of two, and the IARU Global Summer Programme (GSP) students are finishing their first week of four.
It has been exciting to welcome the representatives of 40 countries. The UK immigration requirement that all by EEA students have a visa to study has an upside: my colleagues and I meet everyone on arrival and check passports. It has been exciting to see so many different passports – including (to my recollection over many years) my first sight of a UN passport, and of a San Marino one.
True to form, we have already had hot sunny weather, cooler, more overcast weather, and pounding rain.
We’ve had stormingly good plenaries, and a very well-received set of 38 week 1 courses across the five programmes. Joint talks have introduced people to Cambridge ceremonials, the BBC, Cambridge architecture, and dyslexia. I’ve been fortunate enough to hear the ISS I-specific talks on Illuminating the future, The Lady Chapel at Ely, A Renaissance ‘who dunnit’ (about the current thinking on whether bronzes on loan at the Fitzwilliam are by Michelangelo), and Richard III’s funeral. I’ve also seen one on Transformations with image and light, from high definition projectionist team Ross Ashton and Karen Monid, having missed their work this winter at the Cambridge e-Luminate festival. I’ve heard great things of talks on the Ancient and Classical Worlds, Literature and Science programmes, covering a vast range of topics, from Boudicca and Agrippina, Eudoxus and Ptolemy, and Plutarch, to Wordsworth’s notebooks, Music’s War Poets and Dickens and disorderly laughter, and Rainsforests, Genome-sequencing and The physiology of exploration. There are so many intriguing titles!
We’ve good weather -so far- for the weekend trips to see Othello in Stratford and Oxford, and students not on the excursions are exploring Cambridge before classes start again – with our new arrivals – on Monday. Domenic Ronconi’s great picture from last year shows that there are quiet green spaces to explore in College gardens, as well as the bustling city centre.
Here’s to week two!