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Students’ perspectives

Cambridge Geography department is an incredibly welcoming place. I was amazed, as a first year, by the extent to which students of all years interact in the department, and by how approachable and helpful the lecturers and supervisors are, no matter your concerns. I think it is particularly special that geographers are able to informally drop in to the Head of Department’s office to chat about interests or issues, any time his door is open. Second year student

I like the broad range of topics – every subject is covered in Geography, almost. I wanted to know what shapes what I was taught in school- not just the facts. I also wanted to have fieldwork or practical application of what we are learning. Specific to Cambridge, I wanted to study a geography course where I did not have to specialise early on. I like that there is a range in first year of human/physical so you have a better idea of what those strands of geography are about before narrowing down. Also, supervisions are help to make sure you’re on the right track and get the fundamental concepts which are often hard to tweeze out of literature. First year student

Studying during a pandemic

Perhaps surprisingly, I’ve felt more connected than ever to the geography department during the pandemic. Through frequent Q&A sessions for each paper, we have had the chance to interact directly with our lecturers and the rest of our course-mates. One of my favourite things about 2nd and 3rd year is being able to have supervisions with geographers from any college – meaning that you get to know so many different people! Everyone looks out for each other – we frequently share readings, supervision essays, and we all love a good group presentation! Third year student

Cambridge adapted quickly and creatively to virtual student life. From weekly Cambridge Women in Business podcast clubs, to Zoom quizzes with my friends, to virtual consulting projects, online JCR socials, and CUGS (Cambridge University Geographical Society) talks, I’ve continued to remain connected to Cambridge life via my screen! Third year student

I’d say that ironically I have actually worked more since the pandemic – this is probably mostly due to the fact that fewer things have been happening, but also the lack of travel time to/from the department has definitely contributed! I generally watch one or two pre-recorded lectures a day, and then spend the afternoon doing readings for my next essay. The other major change has been having supervisions online. I don’t mind online supervisions, and actually have found online lectures really helpful in that I can pause and rewind if I don’t understand things. Second year student

In my opinion, the Geography department have handled the pandemic brilliantly. The Head of Department (HoD) has kept us well-informed with (at least) weekly updates. The department has done a great job of balancing pre-recorded and live sessions which helps us to structure our time when working remotely. I have also found that the lecturers and supervisors in the department have made a genuine effort to be as available and understanding as possible in this period, and the HoD has continued to keep his virtual door open via Teams for the informal conversations that we used to have in his office. Third year student

Studying remotely and starting university during the pandemic has definitely been very challenging. It is hard enough getting to grips with the transition from school to university work, however, this year both the staff and especially the students at college have been extremely friendly and sociable and happy to do any form of socialising e.g. going for a walk or having a kick about, rather than a much more drinking- orientated freshers week which I think allowed me to make close friends faster and easier. First year student