Student View: Interfaith Community

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University of Bath student Carol shares her experiences from the first year of the Bath University Interfaith Community.

The Bath University Interfaith Community (BUIC) brings together students, staff, and local faith leaders to meet, discuss and share our experiences as both members of the university community and people of faith. Since joining the interfaith community, I have attended several events, including the community meals where we can chat over food (always a hit with students), podcasts and discussions.

There are many things I have loved about being part of the interfaith community. This includes the open discussions between those of different faiths. It is a great place to ask questions and learn about other faith traditions. These types of conversations are not high on the list of topics people want to chat about between lectures or on the bus. In addition, the university community is so large that I would not have previously crossed paths with many of the community members. Therefore, having a space where topics that are deeply important to our lives such as ‘how do we deal with loneliness?’ is unique and precious.

Through these discussions, I have learnt that many things unite us. I discovered that we all have this foundation in our faith, which helps us in our university studies. When there is a disappointing result on an assessment or a stressful week of lectures, it is our faiths which keep us grounded and support us in moving forward.

Whilst we have many things in common, talking to those of other faiths has opened my eyes to different experiences. As a Christian, I am lucky that Bath has a range of churches where I can find worship and a community. However, I learnt those of other faith traditions, such as Jews and Sikhs, have to travel to Bristol for their place of worship. The ability to find a place of worship was something I had taken for granted and now will not.

It has also been interesting to learn about what is happening in different faith societies. During our freshers week lunch, I found out about the Catholic society’s Taizé service and the Islamic society’s work with the SU to encourage non-alcoholic socials for sports teams and societies. These encouraged me that, as well as the interfaith community, there are active and vibrant communities for new freshers to get involved with and meet people who will support them in their faith and life at uni.

(MEng (hons) Mechanical Engineering with Manufacturing and Management)

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