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There are over 130 clubs and societies at the University of Chester – and because of that I won’t be able to talk about all of them! Instead I will be going into more detail about two clubs and two societies which I am involved in myself.

I have found that clubs and societies are one of the most important parts of university life. Yes, of course there’s all the studying, volunteering and everything else that comes with going to university for the first time – but down time is always needed and so are new friends! Personally, joining Kung Fu (the first club I went to) kept me in university. Meeting so many new people from all across the university – some undergraduate like me, some postgraduates and some Alumni – doing so many different courses, some of which I didn’t even know existed, made me realise how different university is to school. It’s also a brilliant way to make friends outside of your course and house.

Kung Fu is one of our martial arts which is always taught by a black belt, one of which is a 10th dan. Many members in the club have competed in the annual Hung Kuen tournament (the style of Kung Fu we do) held in Manchester at the beginning of every December. We work on flexibility, fitness and sparring as well as working towards ‘forms’ for each grading to the next belt; gradings which happen about three times each academic year. We keep a good up-to-date Facebook group as well as a load of information on the Chester Students’ Union Kung Fu page.

The other club I am a part of is Yoga. This year we have had a mix of meditation, relaxing classes as well as fitness ones. In both of them we work on our breath – working through balance, core, back and strength positions while working on keeping our pranayama breath (basically keeping a good steady and even breath all the way through the exercises). One of the main things we make sure to do in yoga is to always have a few socials –we always have one going out drinking social closely followed by a non-alcohol related social, normally meaning a nice breakfast or late dinner after sessions, along with a good cup of tea!

Now onto the societies. First, Swing Dance! Most people, me included, sometimes forget that Swing Dance is a society and not a club because as the name suggests we do a lot of dance! Swing comes from the 1920s and we have all learned to enjoy a good shim-sham, lindy hop and Charleston along with learning new moves and routines every session! Afterwards we make our way to one of the nearby pubs for food, drink and a good natter.

And lastly, LGBT+. I’m sure that a good number of you reading this knows what the letters mean, and we strive to be as inclusive as possible. Be it allies, questioning or anyone else under the LGBT+ umbrella. We hold movie, games and bowling nights out, as well as the occasional trip outside of Chester to meet up with other LGBT+ groups close by. A few times a year we have people from originations such as Body Positive and the police to name a couple.

If you have a glance at our Students’ Union website, you’re bound to find something you’ll enjoy. Don’t spend all of your university years just studying – make sure to get out there and have some fun, meet new people and try something you never thought you would!

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