Gonville and Caius College

Everything you are about to read has been written by current and recently graduated students at the University of Cambridge, to give you honest information about what it’s like to be a student at Cambridge.

Gonville and Caius, commonly referred to as just Caius (pronounced ‘keys’) is a beautiful, traditional college right in the city centre, tucked compactly in between King’s and Trinity.

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GonvilleCredit: Cambridge University

Key facts

  • Distance to Sports Pitch
    10-20 minute walk from Old Courts, Barton Rd sports ground about 5 mins from Harvey Court
  • Gym
    Yes, on Harvey Court site
  • Music Practice Rooms
    Yes
  • Special Diets Main Meal
    Vegetarian: Yes Vegan: Yes
  • Special Diets Main Meal
    Other dietary requirements: Yes
  • Undergraduates / Year
    166

What is your favourite thing about Gonville & Cauis?

Sophie, Gonville and Cauis, Natural Sciences, 1st year
Sophie
Natural Sciences, 1st year

The best bit about Caius is the Minimum Dining Requirement as it means that everyone goes down to eat in hall at the same time. It is the place where you make friends and where you can catch up with people who may not live near you or do the same course as you. it’s also great for inter-year socialising. I also love the location of Caius because it is right in the centre yet there are not many tourists as they are too distracted by King’s College next door. Everything you will ever need is within a 10-15 minute walk of the college (Sainsbury’s, lectures (both the Sidgwick and Downing sites), clubs, shopping centre). Never underestimate the value of location when picking a college because what doesn’t seem very far now will seem really far once you are a student!

Describe your College’s atmosphere

Sophie, Gonville and Cauis, Natural Sciences, 1st year
Sophie
Natural Sciences, 1st year
Atmosphere

Alison: Really friendly - we have a bigger than average year (about 170) but the fact that all first-years live in the same place encourages a strong sense of community, and the hall system (discussed below) really helps bring everyone together after what can be a long day in Cambridge!

Sophie: Eating in hall means that everyone gets to know each other really well. The porters are also really great - they know your name by the end of week 1 so it really is like a family away from home.

What is the accommodation like?

Gonville & Cauis, Law, 2nd year
Hephzibah
Law, 2nd year

Alison: First-years are guaranteed an en-suite room in either Harvey Court or the ultra-modern Stephen Hawking Building - although the rooms are randomly allocated, they arguably make up some of the best accommodation in Cambridge, and the fact that you all live together on the West Road site makes it a lot easier to make friends during your first few weeks!

For second-year you can choose to ballot with a group of friends, and your order on the ballot is completely random. You get to choose where you want to live - from the really central houses in Rose Crescent or Green Street, or the huge rooms in Mortimer Road just across Parker’s Piece. In third year the ballot order is reversed (taking into account choral scholars and people who achieved firsts in first year, who are then put at the top automatically). Third-years usually choose rooms in Caius’ old courts or St Mike’s/St Mary’s which is just opposite the main college site in town.

Hephzibah: I’m in second year and I live in Rose Crescent. The location is so ideal. I am a minute away from College, Sainsbury’s and only about 7 mins away from lectures in Sidgwick Site.

How good is the food?

Gonville & Cauis, Law, 2nd year
Hephzibah
Law, 2nd year
How good is the Food

Alison: For some reason Caius has an antiquated reputation for bad food - but this is not the case anymore! Caius is unique in having a Minimum Dining Requirement (MDR), where each student must dine in Hall 36 times a term. To encourage this, most of the gyps (kitchens) don’t have hobs - but again, this is changing and people have managed to produce whole Thanksgiving dinners out of the microwave anyway! I personally love the hall system - it gives you an excuse to wind down at the end of the day with all your friends and enjoy being served a three-course meal in Caius’ candlelit hall. You can choose whether you want the vegetarian option on a daily basis simply by indicating so on the online booking system for hall, since all the menus are usually published about a week in advance. Vegan, kosher, halal and gluten-free diets are also accommodated for.

Hephzibah: Also, hall is very cheap. It’s only about £4 for a three-course meal.

What about entertainment and extra-curricular activities?

Gonville & Cauis, Law, 2nd year
Hephzibah
Law, 2nd year
Activities

Hephzibah: Caius has so many different societies you can take part in. We’re a sporty college and the college offers grants for those who take part in competitive sport. We also have college bops and pub quizzes organised by the ents team which anyone can take part in.

What welfare support is there?

Gonville & Cauis, Law, 2nd year
Hephzibah
Law, 2nd year

Hephzibah: Welfare support is not taken lightly at Caius. We have male and female welfare officers on our student union who are available to speak to anyone. We also have welfare tea every week (and everyday in Week 5).

Alison: The college nurse, counsellor and chapel dean are also available to offer guidance and help to any pupil, regardless of religious background.

What about your College would you change?

Gonville & Cauis, Law, 2nd year
Hephzibah
Law, 2nd year

Hephzibah: Better kitchens but I think this is on the agenda for change.

Alison: Our college formal meals aren’t a big deal compared to other colleges, since we have them so often...which means that sometimes the food can be a bit questionable! Having said this, Caius’ Mexican Night and chocolate brownie with salted caramel ice cream hold a special place in my heart, and we have a lavish Superhall once a term to make up for this!

What has been going on at Gonville & Caius College?

- Recent Events -

Dinner Party: International Women’s Day

Caius hosted an International Women’s Day dinner party and art exhibition to celebrate female academic achievement at the college. The menu was themed: ‘Lady Russian Cake’ was dessert and the vegetarian was a vegan burrito to highlight Vegan Feminism.

Britten Sinfonia: Composers’ Workshop

Five shortlisted composers from across the undergraduate, Master’s and PhD programmes attended intensive rehearsals of their music; one will receive a professional commission from the orchestra.

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