Clare College Cambridge

Anglo Saxon, Norse and Celtic

Clare Bristow

Comprehensive School Oxford

I’m a Clare ASNaC (as we Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celticists like to call ourselves) and I consider myself lucky to have found a great subject and a very good college.

I have to admit that I applied to Clare mainly because it has the same name as me, but since coming here I’ve liked what I’ve found. The college is old and beautiful without being big and scary. The first-year accommodation, Memorial Court, is without doubt the best in Cambridge, and is about five minutes’ walk from lectures, the town centre, and all the libraries you’ll ever need. The facilities are great: for example, we have a punt, squash courts, music practice rooms, and the Forbes Mellon Library, which will order any book we need. Most of all, though, the people here are lovely. There seems to be a good relationship between students and staff, and I love the fact that everyone is willing to try something new. In my first year my year-mates and I have gone from being nervous freshers to forming bands, organising the May Ball, writing for college and university publications, taking up rowing and learning to cook, to name but a few things.

There are usually about four ASNaCs at Clare, spread across three years. This works well, because we all know each other and look out for each other, but we don’t all take the same papers, so there is not too much fighting over library books. Clare also has fellows in ASNaC, which not all colleges do; this is a real advantage.

As for ASNaC, I love it. I was originally intending to change to another subject for Part II, but over this year I’ve been converted. I think a lot of ASNaCs discover a new interest while they are here, and the course encourages this by offering a broad choice of papers, so you can be a linguist and a historian, or a Celticist and a Germanicist. I’ve also found there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ ASNaC: some of us do grow beards and quaff mead, but it’s fine to express your interest in more refined ways. I like the fact that the department is small and close-knit, as it makes it easy to get to know students from all years, and staff, and it means that ASNaCs tend to do more socialising with other colleges than most students. This includes going to formal dinners, day- and weekend-trips (this year we’ve been to West Stow, Ely and Dublin), picnics, weekly pub sessions and guest lectures from top academics (besides the ones already here!). Equally, my friends at Clare all take other subjects, so I have got to know a very wide range of people. So come to Clare and study ASNaC in beautiful, central, friendly surroundings!