Clare College Cambridge

Education with Maths



Zuzana Masarova

IB Diploma Programme, Bratislava


Somewhere at the very beginning of my application process I came across a university webpage that claimed that Cambridge accepts all sorts of people, regardless of cultural background, religion or financial situation, with important factors being only the student’s abilities and a real passion for the subject they wish to study. This sounded great but I did not believe it. I saw Cambridge as an interesting, yet extremely elitist and expensive university in an English-speaking part of the world; an inaccessible fortress for someone from Eastern Europe. I chose Clare simply because of its beautiful gardens and historical buildings. I did not believe it would be possible to study here, so my only goal was to come for interviews to be able to visit this place.

You can imagine my surprise when they offered me a place and also financial support so that I could come! Clare is indeed one of the colleges that try hard to pursue the policy mentioned above, however unbelievable it may sound. And there's even more to it. Here, I have found a very friendly and cooperative environment, among students, college staff and academics. Conditions for studying are fantastic – willing lecturers and supervisors offering you individual attention, fully equipped libraries, book and travel grants – to name but a few things. Clare also has outstanding accommodation, definitely some of the best in Cambridge, its own squash courts, music rooms and a punt. These all make studying here even more comfortable and fun.

I love my course particularly because it allows me to combine arts with sciences. We attend the same maths lectures as mathematicians, so have the opportunity to do ‘real’ maths along with our education studies. In three years, you can gradually concentrate either on your subject, or on some of the disciplines of education – psychology, philosophy, sociology or history. You do not necessarily have to become a teacher afterwards. The course is so broad that you will definitely be able to pick what interests you!

Being an education student at Clare is, however, not a typical Cambridge experience. First of all, because you are, in practice, a member of two separate faculties, you need to travel around Cambridge a lot, get used to different styles of work and, consequently, also to strange timetables! This may make things a little trickier at the beginning, but there are always people to whom you can turn if you need help. I have two Directors of Studies, one in Education and one in Maths. I appreciate that Clare is treating me and giving me exactly the same academic support in maths as it would give to any other mathematician in the college!

Thanks to my course, I also have a rich blend of friends, giving me the opportunity to discover the whole of Cambridge. It is exciting to go to formal halls in other colleges, but even better, if you can sneak in with a friend to play piano in Trinity, squash in Queens’, or just knock on a friend’s door in Christ’s for a chat. In this way I also got to know the contemporary dance society in Queens’, one in which I can pursue dancing, my biggest hobby.

If I were to choose a college again, I would definitely pick Clare: you can always visit other places, but the most important thing you need is a friendly and supporting ‘home’. Clare, with its lovely atmosphere, has always been such a place for me.