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Reach Friendships: A Staff Perspective

Over the last few weeks, we’ve focussed on what wonderful friendships students can make – and have made – during their time at Reach. We’ve also looked at what friendship means in a more general sense in this global, well-connected world. We thought now would be a great time, as we bring friendship fortnight to a close, to reflect on what friendship means for us as Reach Cambridge staff. We’re very lucky and happy that so many people – senior staff, teachers, supervisors – return year on year. We all share a common goal, motivation and joy in working with young people, and therefore find the work at Reach enriching. The sense of community and support fostered amongst staff during Reach Cambridge programs is unlike any other job, and it is this uniqueness that we have chosen to celebrate.

Spot the orange t-shirt!

To do so, we asked past and present staff to reflect on what friendship at Reach means to them and any happy memories they had to share. We’re really looking forward to coming together with old and new staff for this year’s programs. We’re always working hard to provide each and every student with the experience of a lifetime!
Hannah – Supervisor, 2010 Reach Cambridge is your family for the summer and beyond… I look back fondly and remember all of the amazing friendships I saw grow and develop between students during the Reach Cambridge summer program.  There are so many opportunities for students to make friends with others from across the globe – whether it’s in the classroom during teaching time, during meals in the university dining hall, on the sports pitch during social activities or during weekend excursions to places like Stratford and London. The friendships made at Reach are ones for life – I know that some of the students I worked with in 2010 are still in touch with their peers from Reach Cambridge 8 years later and that is testament to the amazing programme of opportunities and events that are in place for students to take advantage of! 

Friendship Flashback – Reach Staff 2010

The development of life long friendships doesn’t stop with students of Reach Cambridge- as a member of Reach staff I joined the Reach team and have made friends for life! We are all united by the love of orange t-shirts! The thing I most enjoyed about Reach was seeing students grow and develop as individuals during the summer as they explored a new city and grew in confidence as independent students. I also loved talking to students as they started to develop ideas about their futures and think further about university study. 
Sam, Director of Student Life, 2010 – 2012 It was always wonderful to see how young people from different countries and cultures, often arriving with nerves, created numerous strong friendships with people they had never met before in just a matter of weeks. With opportunities to participate in fascinating classes, attend an array of lectures, explore the jewels of Cambridge and beyond, plus trying a hand at many sporting and cultural activities, students positively engage in many ways. And of course, the Reach supervisors also enjoy sharing these experiences with students and each other, and form friendships for life with many (and some even attend your wedding!!!)
Scott, Programme Co-Director, 2015 – present day Over the last 3 summers I’ve worked as a Corridor Supervisor, Head Supervisor, and Programme Director at Reach – and when I think about why I keep coming back, it’s undoubtedly all about the friendships and community that exist between all of the students and the staff. Not only have I had the chance to meet students from all over the world, learn about their backgrounds and what makes them unique (shoutout to RJ from Saudi Arabia of Summer 2016 for the outstanding ‘Reach’ themed orange friendship bracelet she made me), I’ve consistently seen groups of teenagers from all over the world go from complete strangers on day 1, to swearing they’ll keep their Whatsapp and Snapchat groups going until they come back next summer, on the final day. 

King’s College Chapel Tour – Spring 2017

We keep the Reach programs small, so that every staff member knows every student and every student knows each other, nobody gets lost in the crowd. We make sure that there are always fun things happening, whether that’s sports, drama, lessons or anything else that our supervisors can throw themselves in to. and These factors make it easy to forma a real community. I truly believe that is what makes sure that by the end of our programs, neither the students nor the staff want to leave!