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Alumni trip to Cambridge University

30 Oct 2018

On Wednesday 17th October, a group of Jack Petchey “Speak Out” Challenge! Regional Champions from 2017-18 accompanied Speakers Trust and Jack Petchey Foundation staff to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University for the day. Our visit included an interactive introduction to the Parker Library where we viewed priceless texts, a tour of the college with undergraduate students and a lively discussion with Law Fellow, Dr Julian Ghosh. Here’s what Southwark Regional Champion from Harris Academy Peckham, Omotola Noble, made of the day:

“Cambridge University. We may think of an elite institution that unintentionally excludes others from qualifying to attend there for their high standards. However, such stereotypes can be broken with the collaboration of one’s own individual efforts and Cambridge’s help. In this write-up, I Omotola will be expressing my experience on attending Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge on the behalf of my school: Harris Academy Peckham, alongside my fellow Jack Petchey Regional Champions.

Besides perceiving Cambridge as Hogwarts made in flesh, one could possibly imagine an invisible veil that marginalises the vacancies to get into such a foundation. This “insightful experience” as said by one of the Regional Champions, somewhat a fantasy, came to life for I’m sure them and I as our feet (both literally and metaphorically) scratched the surface entering the beautiful premises of Corpus Christi College. However, this wasn’t just an aesthetic enlightenment; it was a mental insight as it became evident that many diversities, backgrounds and citizens could also be accepted into Cambridge. By the end of the day, we experienced an evolution from a fantasy to a reality of Cambridge that took place right before our eyes. After immersing ourselves into it, the University became a place and ideology that we couldn’t have imagined to but connect with. The difference between our mind set and views from the start, had totally changed by the end of the day.

An international student from Latvia, helped us realise that we visitors are fit to also study with the best opportunities for learning if we really want to. Without a shadow of a doubt, hard work and determination are indeed attached to success in learning. However, nationality shouldn’t. It still remains… Much competition is present in entering such an institution. It’s important to say originally, the environment was alien to us— especially for a student like me, coming from the cultural hybrid of Peckham and being a Nigerian black girl. If not for the noteworthy and prestigious opportunity of the Jack Petchey “Speak Out” Challenge! and the efficacious support from my school Harris Academy Peckham, I wouldn’t have even been able to assimilate as much as I did from Cambridge.

Overall, the Regional Champions including myself can precisely proclaim that it was thoroughly “an impressive, dynamic revelation that gave us a great taste of the environment of campus life, university, and lectures”. This provided an authentic experience directly from professors and students; from the historic library to a thought provoking law lecture. I can now ask from this, who knows in a few years time; will the stereotypes of inner city communities such as Peckham, become assimilated with the academic history of Cambridge University?”

Omotola Noble, Harris Academy Peckham, Southwark Regional Champion 2017-18