Sikh Students Guide

Full credit to Oxford Sikh Society and all the student volunteers that helped to put this information together.

Disclaimer: This guide has been complied by current Oxford Students and to the best of their knowledge, is accurate. However there may have been changes since publication. If you would like current advice about the information here or any welfare issue, please contact advice@oxfordsu.ox.ac.uk

Before Arriving in Oxford

It may be quite stressful before even going to university, but hopefully this section should give you a few ideas of things you may want to do to prepare.

Things you may want to bring with you:

  1. Traditional clothing for Diwali Ball and other cultural events. There will be lots of opportunities offered by different societies to wear this clothing, so definitely worth packing.
  2. Always come prepared to celebrate any religious festivals or carry on religious traditions at university as you most likely find someone to celebrate them with you! Bring anything you may need for these.
  3. Make sure to have a head covering as there will likely be a Kirtan or Gurdwara trip at some point run by Sikh Soc!

Things you can do before leaving home

  1. Reach out to Sikh Soc before freshers week and on Facebook (Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/oxfordsikhsoc ; join the Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/oxfordsikhsoc/) and follow the society’s Instagram @oxfordsikhsoc
  2. There may be online events and groups you can join through their Facebook, and these are worth getting involved with. Most events are advertised via Facebook and Instagram.

Oxford Sikh Society

The Oxford Sikh Society makes up a small community but we are super inclusive and would love to meet new Sikh freshers.

We can be found via Oxford Sikh Society on Facebook.

Sikh Soc from many student’s experiences gave students a group of friends from similar cultural backgrounds which they may not have had in college. This can help build your support network up in your transition to university, as well as talk to people who have experienced or are experiencing the same thing you are experiencing, which can be comforting.

You do not necessarily have to be a devout Sikh to join the society, because the similar upbringing, culture and language can help bind you to the community. SikhSoc is welcoming to everyone!

Stay in touch with the Sikh Society - we want to create a warm environment, even if it’s online!

Staying Connected to Sikhism

It can often be a concern, moving somewhere completely new, that you may struggle to maintain the same connection to your faith.This is some advice from Oxford Sikh students that can hopefully help you through that:

  1. There is a small gurdwara in Oxford and students sometimes make trips to it via bus. Visiting the Gurdwara is a great way to stay connected. The address is:
    Gurdwara Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji Oxford, 295-297 London Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 9HL
  2. Always come prepared to celebrate any religious festivals or carry on religious traditions at uni; there will most likely be someone in the same situation as you and would love to celebrate alongside you!
  3. Keep a schedule and put time aside in your timetable for your faith
  4. Find like minded people and maybe start practicing your faith together and attending events. This can help you keep on track.
  5. Praying can really help keep you grounded in Oxford life, and it is so important to not give it up when you come to university. It can really help with the stress, as well as keep you connected to your beliefs.

Feeling less homesick

Leaving university for the first time is daunting, and everyone at some point or another ends up missing their home. These are just a few ways that can hopefully help you manage any homesickness:

  1. Cowley is amazing if you are feeling homesick. It has lots of less mainstream food, so you are more likely to find food that can remind you of home here, especially if you are getting a bit sick of college food.
  2. There’s a Diwali night with fireworks at certain colleges (which may be virtual this year) but is super fun!
  3. It is highly recommended to join any cultural or religious society that you are even remotely connected to, as all these do is remind you of home and may make you feel less alone in the Oxford environment.

Final Pieces of Advice

  1. Although you may be in the minority at Oxford, which can feel really strange especially if you weren’t a minority where you grew up, just remember you’re not alone and that Oxford is a really welcoming place once you’re there, filled with lots of lovely people.
  2. Be open to everything, join the group chats of multiple cultural societies and don’t leave any stone unturned.
  3. Know that there are people out there going through the same thing, and will be happy to talk with you. Please don’t be afraid to reach out!