My time at university can be best described as a whirlwind. I decided to get myself involved as much as possible in the African Caribbean community from the moment I stepped into university. My experience has definitely been unique!
I therefore hope this blog will be helpful for incoming students from an African Caribbean background. I completely understand that coming to a university like York can be pretty nerve-wracking, and that you might have multiple questions in your head.
How diverse is the uni? Where can you buy traditional food? Where can you do your hair and can you genuinely fit in?
Join a society
Luckily you’re in safe hands! Because students like myself take part in multiple societies, we put loads of work into making life at University as comfortable and welcoming for students like you. I’m hoping this blog can ease some nerves by giving a bit of insight into what York has to offer!
University comes at you fast and there are ups and downs. It’s important that you soak up every moment though, because they don’t last forever. One minute you find yourself moving into your first year accommodation and then the next you’re in third year literally living in the library drowning in work with your friends!
First and foremost, York has a vibrant and continuously growing African Caribbean community. The first thing I tell incoming first years is that you get out what you put in. Actively get yourself involved and you automatically open yourself up to a genuine family away from home. During university, I have gotten involved in a few society/student associations. I was elected as the Black Minority Ethnic Officer (BAME) for Langwith College in first year. Then, I eventually became the President of York’s African Caribbean Society (ACS). These organisations have been my foundation and have opened up incredible social and professional opportunities for me and plenty of my friends.
Society events and opportunities
From water fights at ACS barbeques, wild games nights, winter balls with Leeds ACS, FIFA sessions and memorable nights out like RepYourFlag (yes, York has clubs that play; drill, afrobeats, bashment, hip-hop etc.), I can honestly say that York has much to offer. On top of that I’ve been able to work with top employers like PwC, EY and Accenture. I’ve also networked with amazing role models like Nissy Tee, Reggie Nelson and award-winning scientist Dr. Bernadine Idowu.
Opportunities are constantly at your grasp; socially, academically and professionally. Compared to other universities the community is small, but we work really well with what we have and we make lasting memories. The second thing I tell incoming students is to genuinely be yourself and utilise your talents. There are so many different people at university, so you are bound to eventually meet people like you. It doesn’t happen automatically for everyone, but we all eventually get there.
Moreover, the university has plenty of facilities to support you in your talents/skills outside of academics. We’ve had talented students host hilarious podcasts, musical performances, fellowship groups, faith groups, catering businesses, baking businesses and hair businesses. The list can go on. I knew York was the uni for me when I noticed the growth among my friends. We’ve been challenged, stressed, inspired, disappointed, motivated and joyful. I can look back at uni and laugh at the crazy times and also appreciate my support systems through the challenging times too.
The African Caribbean community is full of talent. We’ve been able to celebrate it for 2 years in a row during black history month through the ‘#TheLegacyContinues’ campaign. What I genuinely love about our community is that we are not afraid to create our own spaces, find our own voices and lead. I’ve had such an incredible time. If you decide to join York, I hope that this gives you an insight into what York can offer you! Wishing you all the best!