Category Archives: Features

How to Learn Welsh – Useful Tips and Resources

by David Winlo

Welsh is a Celtic language spoken by around 0.7 million people, 5,000 of whom don’t live in Wales, or even the UK, but in the far-flung Chubut province of Argentina, known in Welsh as Y Wladfa. This is the first reason you might wish to learn Welsh, and this very reason is universal among languages – you’ll be able to talk to new people, not just in the country or countries where the language you’re learning is an official or main language. You’ll also be able to listen to Welsh folk music, and other genres, as well as reading Welsh books and poetry, as well as gaining a small amount of understanding with its related languages: Manx, Cornish, and to a lesser extent Scottish- and Irish Gaelic.

 

When learning Welsh, I would advise keeping the following in mind:

  1. Not all of those consonants are consonants. Welsh is famous for its distressing lack of vowels, in words like ‘chwech’ (six), ‘buwch’ (cow), and in various place names, such as ‘Amlwch’. Don’t worry about these. Certain letters which look like consonants are actually vowels, like the letter w in the above examples, which sounds approximately like an English ‘oo’, and y, which sounds a bit like a sound English speakers make when hesitating, namely ‘err’.
  2. Welsh is an X-Man of a language, a mutant. The letters at the start of a noun can change based on what is happening to the noun in the sentence, for example, ‘in Wales’ in Welsh is ‘yng Nghymru’, even though ‘Wales’ on its own would be ‘Cymru’. This means you might well recognise words that look similar to ones you’ve already learned if their ending is similar.
  3. Spelling, whilst initially seeming insane, makes much more sense than in English. Welsh has dropped some letters from English, such as k and x, but also has letters English doesn’t, which are made up of two characters, such as ‘Ll’, or ‘ll’ in lower case, and the above ‘Ng’, or ‘ng’ in lower case. Once you’ve worked out what these sound like, with a couple making sounds which don’t exist in English, Welsh is almost entirely phonetic in spelling, meaning words are spelled how they sound, something which non-native speakers of English would find very refreshing when trying to read words like.
  4. There are plenty of free resources out there for learning Welsh! Here are just a few: Duolingo, Omniglot, and various BBC materials.

I hope this is enough to convince or help you to learn Welsh. If so, pob lwc i chi!

 

 

Image ‘Welsh flag’ by Matthew Wilkinson is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

 

 

Do League Tables Really Matter? – UEA’s rise and fall

By Tim Jones

On the 26th of April, the Complete University Guide (CUG) realised their 2017 rankings with UEA rising two places to 12th. However, do these rankings mean anything? In my opinion, no.

When I first heard that we had achieved the title of 12th best university in the UK, I felt how I imagine every other UEA student felt. Proud. Proud that the hard work of staff and students is continually being recognised. Even when I applied to university, all that seemed to matter to my friends and I was where our university of choice was in the leagues. Nonetheless, after thinking about what these rankings mean regarding the status of the university, I began to question their importance.

There is no question that scoring high in the national rankings is a great achievement, a special mention must go to the soaring levels of student satisfaction achieved at UEA, receiving one of the highest scores for a university within the top 20. However, what the rankings don’t include is a score on prestige. I can confidently say that Red Brick and Russell Group universities, such as: Leeds, Birmingham, and Newcastle (all of which were ranked overall lower than UEA) seem to be looked upon much more favourably by employers and the public than just your ‘standard university.’ The guide even has a category that highlights this belief, the ‘graduate prospects’ category.

Looking on the Complete University Guide UEA’s graduate prospective are ranked significantly low when compared to those of more prestigious universities which have a lower overall rank. Take Sheffield for example, it ranks 31st and scores below UEA in the majority of categories, so why do they score 81.2 in graduate prospects compared to our 73.9?

The answer is that there is clearly still an uppish attitude when it comes to universities. There is the obvious elitism and advantages of going to Oxbridge which don’t need to be mentioned, but I believe the prestige of going to a Russell Group university also puts an individual at a greater advantage in terms of employment prospects.

The Times Higher Education Guide published a list of 25 universities with the best graduate employment rate for 2016. What I found was that the majority of universities above us in these rankings were on the list, however so were those who scored lower; whilst UEA was completely left out. The overall score for UEA on the Complete University Guide is 853, whilst Exeter ranks 14th, scoring 850 points, just 3 points between these two universities. However, Exeter is in joint position with Warwick (ranks 8th on the CUG) for graduate employability. The reasons for UEAs exclusion are bound to be varied, perhaps its due to the fact we specialise in more arty subjects with less traditional forms of graduate employment? More likely is the less historically renowned name of our university and the stigma that seems to be instilled, when selecting your choices, that plate glass universities are not good enough for high achieving students.

Despite all the problems with the ranking system, there is no doubt that an improved ranking will generate more interest in the university, attracting more high achieving students, as well as researchers. This influx of new blood will hopefully allow UEA to take its rightful position as a highly regarded and prestigious institution.

 

Featured image credit: N Chadwick

How to Learn German – Useful Tips and Resources

by David Winlo

So, you’ve been to Berlin on holiday, tried some bratwurst while there, come back and listened to some Rammstein, and now you’re intrigued – perhaps you could learn this language, and get more out of these things. Maybe find out what more the German-speaking world has to offer.

Continue reading How to Learn German – Useful Tips and Resources

On the edge or cutting edge? What does UEA think of the new library statue?

By Natalie Froome

UEA have hit the headlines with the controversial placing of a new Anthony Gormley statue.

The art installation is a human statue, which has been placed on the very edge of the library roof. Some are calling the statue ‘edgy’ and think it a great addition to UEA’s sculpture trail, while others have berated the University for their bad taste.

We talked to UEA Students to get the picture of what students think about it… Continue reading On the edge or cutting edge? What does UEA think of the new library statue?

Surviving the Easter Holidays – a memoir

by Cassie Waters

This Easter it took roughly fifteen minutes of hugs and smiles and “it’s so nice to have you back” before my family descended into their usual madness. This time it was an argument over what take away we were getting. The war between fish and chips and Indian lasted twice as long as the happy homecoming. It left me questioning: how on earth was I going to survive four weeks in this madhouse?

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family. By the end of term I really look forward to coming home and seeing them and the dogs and the beautiful Suffolk landscape (although I’m still waiting to see one of these “mountain hills” Ed Sheeran’s been talking about). Before I came to UEA I was terrified of leaving home, I couldn’t imagine life away from my family but it didn’t take long before I grew to love my newfound independence. When I went home for the first time after starting uni I was amazed to discover that living in a flat of twelve with all the drama that entailed was more chill than my home with four of us.

 I come from a family of strong characters. We’re all opinionated, mick-takers who don’t shy away from confrontation. It must have been a shock for my sister’s boyfriend, a guy who’s so laid back he’s almost in a permanent state of limbo, to come round for the first time and be confronted by the constant winding up from my dad, my mum insisting on him having third helpings of tea and my sister and I shouting over the top of each other to be heard. I spent all of first year entertaining my flat with stories about my family like how my aunt believes in fairies and lives in a spiritual commune in Brazil or our Christmas tradition of everyone buying someone a joke present to wear. Meaning we have a vast array of awful family photos where my aunts are wearing thongs made out of sweets, my dad’s wearing a mullet wig and a medallion and, even more horrifyingly, my uncle has a woollen willy warmer. The best anecdote is the time my mum pretended to be dead as a prank on my dad. That’s a story for another day.

Returning to your family after a semester of only having to answer to yourself is always going to be a challenge. During the first week I was irritated by the questioning about my love life (it’s like being Bridget Jones, only they aren’t yet concerned about my fertility), my future career plans (non- existent) and my driving skills (my parents seemingly believe that 3 months without driving means I’m only capable of driving after long lectures. Yes Mum, I will ring the AA if I break down. Yes Mum, I will take photos if I crash). It’s a week of lots of petty arguments and long dog walks to get away from it all. After that I just embrace the different way of living because it won’t be long before I’m sat in the UEA library procrastinating and missing it all.  After all it is a month of having meals made for me, my washing done and the wonders of Sky TV.

 

image courtesy of I’m Priscilla at https://unsplash.com/@artographybyp

It’s Easy Being Green

Last month saw the annual Go Green Week take place at UEA. Tony Allen looks back on the event and we hear from Students’ Union Environment Officer Veronica White to gauge her reaction to the week.

From 13th to 17th February, UEA’s Students’ Union took part in People and Planet’s tenth national Go Green Week. The idea is that various local groups take action and spread awareness around matters to do with conservation and protecting the environment.

The SU, working with University team Sustainable UEA, put on a busy programme of events to promote sustainability at UEA and attempt to gain suggestions on how to better protect the environment on campus and further afield.

On Monday, the main event was a Vegetarian and Vegan market, where hungry students could try food that is better for the planet and their bodies. The first day of events also saw a quiz run by the Environmental Sciences Society and the first in a series of relaxing biodiversity walks around campus, led by UEA wardens.

SU Environment Officer Veronica White told The Broad: “I felt that the Vegan & Vegetarian Fair on Monday was my biggest accomplishment with regards to organisation. It was the event that stressed me the most and the one that I was most pleased to see was successful. I’m happy that students got to try various vegan and vegetarian foods and I hope it opened people’s eyes to the possibilities these diets offer.”

On Tuesday, before an evening screening of Avatar, Go Green Week took over the Hive for a second day in a row, this time for a green consultation where students and staff members could learn about what is already being done and have their say, giving the SU their views and ideas about conservation and reducing environmental impact on campus.

Veronica said: “we got some great suggestions from students with regards to making the university and Union more sustainable.

“These suggestions we’re collating into themes which we can use to lobby the university to make changes – from introducing more water fountains on campus to making better use of our beautiful environment in our learning and teaching services.”

Wednesday saw a tour of sustainable labs at UEA, before on Thursday, students who missed out earlier in the week were treated to another wave of guided nature walks around the lake, and there was a zero-waste workshop in the Hive- part of the Union’s self-professed ‘Green Action Day’.

The week was rounded off on Friday by a trip to Swaffham, and up to the panoramic viewing platform of the area’s imposing wind turbine. This gave participants the opportunity to take in the views while also learning about renewable energy in the UK.

Veronica named this as her favourite event of the week, continuing: “The event which I had the most fun at was the Panoramic Wind Turbine Tour at the Green Britain Centre. I had initially suggested we organise an event there as a bit of a joke, so it felt surreal to be climbing up the turbine with a large group of students whose interests align with mine.”

Veronica spoke of her hopes that the event would continue as a fixture at UEA in future years, adding: “I hope that it is even more successful with each coming year. I believe this year was significant because I feel like Amy [Rust, Campaigns and Democracy Officer] and I really created a relationship with Sustainable UEA and members of staff on the University side of things. I hope this relationship continues to strengthen and we as a Union can work effectively with the university to create engaging events which reach a large number of students.”

She reflected on the week as a whole, saying: “People who know me well will know that I’m glad the week is over. It was a lot of work to organise and some of the logistics got confusing in the days leading up to various events, however overall I believe it was a successful week.”

Judging by the widespread positive reactions to the latest Go Green Week, it looks set to remain a mainstay of the UEA calendar.

Image courtesy of UEA SU

Is UEA’s ‘green’ status over?

by Rob Klim

The UEA campus has always been famous for its green space, environmental innovation and especially, the rabbits residing across the grounds. However, as the university’s green credentials begin to emerge as more troubling than they would appear to be, it may be that UEA are not doing enough to protect this status well enough.

We have all been prospective students here once – we were all assured of the environmental conservation policies and the amounts of money and effort put into projects such as the Biomass Centre and TEC buildings. This reassurance, however, falls short as Lewis Martin of People and Planet points out, UEA are “certainly not” keeping their word.

Martin, an activist within People and Planet – an organisation emphasising the importance of environmental sustainability and conservation – highlights the hypocrisy of the university:

“How can it claim that all the time it has £250,000 invested in fossil fuel companies, which have increasingly smaller returns, and has no money invested into greener renewable energies?”

It has also been revealed that when People and Planet sought to press the university to invest in renewable energies, the university has refused to budge. Helen Redeirmann, another activist, has emphasised further how far the university goes to avoid discussing the issue. Around six months have passed since UEA had begun to consider opening up a dialogue, and since then the investment in fossil fuels has doubled.

Martin also explains how other universities are reading much further ahead in an en masse divestment from fossil fuels companies, stating that “other universities are dropping their investments and they don’t even claim to be the “number one green university in the country”.

People and Planet’s University League – a league table ranking universities by environmental and ethical performance – has places UEA in the 48th place in the country, with a total score of 45.6%, and whilst the environmental policy is ranked at a 100%, ethical divestment and carbon reduction remain at 0%.

UEA’s investment in fossil fuels comes to nearly £300,000. All this money, could perhaps be better spent on research to help, not hinder, the environment.

To get involved, join a group of people every Wednesday in either the bar or one of the bookable rooms upstairs in Union House.

 

image courtesy of freestocks, at https://unsplash.com/@freestocks

 

Do Something Different Week

by Rob Klim

From the mouth of the Undergraduate Education Officer Theo Antoniou-Phillips, “This [Do Something Different] week sets out to help out students who “work harder than students have ever worked”. This week helps to provide a break from the monotony of the tiresome balance of degrees, part-time work and looking for internships and undergraduate opportunities. It is still nonetheless painful to still feel limited in regards to the future as we all slave away in a specific field, day in, day out.

Theo expresses the “hope” that “this week gives you the platform to expand your opportunities, career, and also personal horizons”. The week’s events are there to help ease the worries about “our futures in an uncertain world”.

Don’t worry too, as for Undergraduates get access to a wide range of activities and event that will not cost you a pound out of our tiny student pockets. Exploit your 9-grand per year fees by taking full advantage of the extra-curricular activities on offer.

The week begins on Monday 27th with The Art and Science of Murder. This event is under the direction of none other than the internationally acclaimed, bestselling author – Ian Rankin. The story takes place across campus, creatively combining the real and fictional. It will make you look at a place renowned for its cute rabbits and docile lake as a crime scene for you to solve. The event will unfold throughout the week, with Dr Mark William from the School of Medicine leading an examination of how forensics can be used to capture criminals from the smallest pieces of evidence imaginable. Chapter five on Friday is a trial conducted with the UEA Law Society—where the story concludes. This too reflects the interdisciplinary nature of the events available during the week, providing and honing practical skills for students across a vast variety of subjects. This event along will draw in budding writers, future lawyers, and forensic scientists reflecting how there is something for everyone here.

Most importantly, as Theo outlined – when it comes to securing your future by developing skills outside of your curricular framework, events are available to do this. For example those who are going into teaching can attend Teaching English as a foreign language taster sessions. It aims to help explore approaches to teaching, completing a guided observation of a simulated lesson; furthermore, this workshop gives you the opportunity to be put into the shoes of a teacher, helping to hone crucial skills not necessarily available during your academic study.

Another widely applicable skills for those who want to go into any role working for museums, charity, Arts organisations or music festivals is the skills provided in the Arts Administrations Worksop. The Humanities (HUM) Team will focus on these areas such as what skills you need, and what roles to look for after graduation.

Another one applicable to pretty much anyone who wants to be noticed by potential employees would be the Brand Me event. In this event, experts teach you how to develop a positive digital profile, in this digital-centred age. This will help teach you the skills, as well as provide the know-how of how to start building the connections right now in your precious time left at university, to arm you to face the post-graduate workplace. Do Something Different Week can ease your pains in dealing with great anxieties for many humanities students in the fear of having to use the dreaded Excel on Microsoft through a workshop called Excellent Excel.

As academic study always takes centre stage in importance, Do Something Different Week also offers workshops on how to revise creatively and efficiently. For those who struggle with the age-old problem of revision this is the workshop for you. Furthermore a session is also available on how to deal with anxiety and thinking positively as an opportunity to ease your worries.

Events such as Travel the world @INTO offer the opportunity for you to break out of the confines of campus and gain knowledge on foreign cultures and cuisines from around the world. This event exemplifies the diversity offered by the opportunities available in this week, teaching you essential language and customs from China to Japan, to Nigeria or Russia.

Other workshops may be of great interest to economics students, such as: When financial markets go crazy. This workshop utilises the “General Theory” of John Maynard Keynes to understand, diagnose and cure symptoms of financial crisis. Such a workshop, like so many events on this week, is open to all. It concerns disciplines ranging from Psychology, to History and Economic sciences, which are all incorporated in understanding Keynes’ ground-breaking theory. Understanding Keynes is as important to our understanding our capitalist-centred world today, as it was when he published his major work in 1936. Bill Gates too states the importance of an understanding of economics for future employment success. I would probably listen to a man who is predicted to become the world’s first Trillionaire.

One of the ways this week can guide you into a safer and more familiar future is the Improve your Employability workshop. This workshop seeks to take account for the ever-shifting world of work, in which you need to be adaptable to survive. Like Bear Grylls, students in the workshop will be provided the skills necessary to thrive in any environment.

This week has something for everyone, and has the workshop avlaible to help you in the future career you want to pursue. Again, coming back to Theo’s inspiring words: “Do something that you wouldn’t expect to do at university. Do something different.”

 

Photo courtesy of: https://unsplash.com/@davidmarcu

UEA Society Spotlight: Egg Box

By Tony Allen and Olivia Minnock

As a society, Egg Box began in 2015 as the less intriguingly titled ‘UEA Publishers’. We started off having two distinct sections dealing with the experience of the professional publishing process, such as publishing the annual Undergraduate Creative Writing Anthology, self-publishing and the “fun” side of print, like holding Zine workshops.

So why Egg Box? Originally, Egg Box was an independent publisher as part of UEA’s publishing project, which worked in partnership with students to publish the annual anthologies among other works. It was run by UEA’s very own lecturers, Nathan Hamilton and Philip Langeskov, with the help of students in editing. However, they were keen to hand more of this over to students, to give us an opportunity and to breathe new life into the label.

And that’s exactly what we did.

We rebranded Egg Box, with a funky new logo and style, and amalgamated it with the original society so members could be part of both.

This also meant that we could work more closely as a society with both the professional side and the self-publishing side being sold together at markets, readings and on our brand new website! As the start of a new generation on an existing label, we’ve inherited a large following and the help of those more experienced than us. This pairs with the creativity and enthusiasm offered by students to balance out the original and dynamic with the established and respectable. We hope that this will enable us to organise more successful careers and publishing events as well as increase the sales and exposure for anyone who wants to get published!

As a society as well as a business, Egg Box publishing hopes to include each and every student at UEA who might be interested in the publishing industry. Whether you’re hoping to boost your CV and get an internship, or you’ve got some artwork or writing knocking about that you want to put into a booklet, we’re here to help.

So what are we up to at the moment? Tony, our new Union rep, explains why he loves being a part of Egg Box:

“Perhaps the best thing about Egg Box is the freedom to express yourself in print in whatever way you wish. The society as a whole produces a collaborative monthly zine on a broad theme (our first was on ‘maps’, we are currently putting the final touches to our Christmas edition). Under these themes, submissions are welcomed of any format, for example poetry, creative writing, illustrations, photography or any other type of art.

All are welcome in Egg Box, and the diversity of work produced by the society means that there is something that everyone can get involved with, be it contributing, editing, designing, marketing or selling.

In addition to the collaborative zine, and sessions to guide submissions organised by our brilliant workshop co-ordinator Emma, the society also assists people with any aspect of self-publishing and printing or preparation for a career in the industry. For example, help and advice is available for those wishing to create and sell their own publications. We regularly sell our wares, for example at the recent ‘student pop-up market’ in the Hive, and will be attending the Christmas market there too. As well as selling the collaborative zines, this is also a platform to sell individual society members’ own self-printed publications too!

A big part of our work is centred around the creation of chapbooks, containing the writing of students, and we have now also taken responsibility for editing and publishing the end-of-year undergraduate creative writing anthology. Submissions have just opened for this and we can’t wait to start sorting through them all!

The society organises lots of social events to inspire the would-be publishers and printers of tomorrow. For example, I recently took part in a visit to the On Paper festival which showcased some of the best printers and graphic artists in the world, right here in Norwich.

Egg Box enjoy collaborating with other societies too. We have recently completed a joint publication entitled ‘PROMPT’ with Octarine, the UEA’s creative writing periodical. In the past we have collaborated with both the Feminist and Creative Writing societies. If you are interested in finding out more, or your society is interested in working with us, please drop us an email to ueapubsoc@gmail.com!”

We hope to hear from you or see you at our office hours, 12.00-2-30pm in Unio every Wednesday.