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Year 11 Theology Trip to Girton College, Cambridge - Student Review

The day began with a talk by Dr Hilary Marlow, where we all discussed and broke down the question ‘What on earth is Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion?’. It was really interesting getting to know what others’ perspectives were on the topic. We then had a talk with Annie Hoyle, who organised the event, about the benefits of studying Theology and what we could do with a Theology degree.

After a short break, we had our first of four short lectures about Buddhist mindfulness from Dr Ankur Barua. This was a particular favourite of ours, even if our heads were a bit sore afterwards!  We were then posed with the question ‘How do you tell a good friend from a bad one?’ from Dr Ruth Jackson. Here, we looked at the different types of friendships within books and films and learnt what makes a perfect friendship, according to philosophers like Aristotle.

We tucked into a tasty lunch and were treated to a tour of Girton College from a friendly student ambassador. Upon seeing the dining halls, Georgia remarked how much the college looked like Hogwarts.  This similarity was extended when we saw the library. To say it was beautiful would be an understatement.

Our afternoon began with a, quite literal, bang. Lizzie Henderson gave us another mini lecture on the question ‘Has science killed God?’. Whilst, this was a Theology taster day, our scientific knowledge was put to the test. We all watched eagerly as one girl handed over a £20 note, the tension rose as the money was placed into a glass of clear liquid that we assumed to be water. Little did we expect her to set fire to it! The fires engulfed the note, but were quickly extinguished without intervention. We weren’t quite sure how the note could have been set alight, Duke of Edinburgh had taught us that you can’t get a proper flame from a damp object! Lizzie reminded us that we were experiencing the same kind of confusion that had people turning to religion for the answers. The £20 note was perfectly intact and we learnt that the liquid contained water AND alcohol; this made a lot more sense!

The last talk of the day was on translating ancient manuscripts by Dr Jane McLarty, in which we got to try out some ancient Greek (with a little help of a key!) From doing this, we found out how errors are passed on in religious texts, which was really interesting as it encouraged us to combine our knowledge of religion and history and think about how they impact each other.

To finish off the day, we had a Q & A with Annie (who was an ex-student herself) and some undergraduates studying Theology, so we could ask them about the course and hear what it was really like from their perspective. Overall, it was a thought-provoking and enjoyable day and we will all certainly be considering Girton as a future option.

Hanna Vine, Jess Bassil, Hiruni Fernando and Georgia Want, Year 11