Postgraduate life at Josephine Butler College

Ritu Anand

My decision to enrol at Durham University was motivated by its distinguished reputation and the unique collegiate system.

An enriching experience

Residing in a college here is an enriching experience, offering a vibrant social tapestry woven with activities and events facilitated by the Junior Common Room (JCR for undergraduates) and Middle Common Room (MCR for postgraduates). The spectrum of engagement, from college language rooms to Harry Potter movie nights, is diverse. Celebrating various festivals, from Diwali to Pongal to Christmas, adds a delightful cultural dimension.

Why Josephine Butler

My choice of Josephine Butler College, nestled on a picturesque hill next to the Botanic Gardens, has proven wise. Two distinguishing factors guided my selection: the college’s exclusive provision of ensuite and self-catered accommodation and its favourable proximity to the teaching and learning centre, the business school, and the university library.

Life at Butler

Life at Butler College is marked by an abundance of events and activities. Formal dinners, deeply rooted in Durham University’s traditions, provide opportunities for elegant attire, sumptuous meals, and engaging conversations with fellow residents. Our first traditional dinner during freshers’ week was the perfect opportunity for me to get to know every student living in Butler and make connections so early on in my Durham journey. Our postgraduate community arranged casual hangouts such as pizza night in the standard room, a fun night with chats, games, and just unwinding with peers whilst watching Harry Potter.
Throughout term time, activities like the language room – where people from diverse cultures get together to help one another learn a new language – were enjoyable and educational, comprised of undergraduates and postgraduates.


During major festivals, every major celebration is included! I attended ‘Mound Diwali’ at Stephenson College, Butler Diwali, and Garba Night for Navratri, all of which had some excellent music bonding over delicious Indian food and everything dancing some niche, cultural choreographies irrespective of their distinguished background. Not only did these events give us a chance to meet more people, but they also gave students a great insight into how people celebrate these occasions back in their hometowns, and it was indeed an experience to see all these festivities be celebrated under one roof in the most authentic
way possible.


The sense of community at Butler is remarkably close-knit, mitigating feelings of homesickness or isolation. This environment facilitates connections with peers in the same program and undergraduates and PhD students. The collegiate structure also accentuates the prominence of sports, with inter-collegiate events fostering healthy competition and a sense of pride.

Academic life

Study spaces within the college premises, including an in-house library with a diverse collection, cater to academic and leisure pursuits. For days, I need a calm ambience. The quiet study room serves perfectly, and for group assignments, the group study room is well equipped for everyone to brainstorm on a project. These study spaces have proven incredibly convenient on days I cannot visit the university library or if I need to pull an allnighter in a study space close by.

Feeling safe

Concerning safety and security, the presence of attentive and supportive porters around the clock, readily addressing maintenance, administration, and other queries, contributes to a secure and conducive living environment. From assistance during move-in to showing up for every minor and significant inconvenience throughout the academic year, porters are just a call away or right under my block.

Home from home

Colleges at Durham offer a dynamic, enjoyable, and secure space for all residents, fostering an atmosphere conducive to studying, dining, socialising, and leisurely strolls. While each college maintains its distinct character and facilities, the comprehensive support and guidance from the college staff and student council ensure a seamless integration for every student.

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Ritu Anand

Greetngs everyone! I am Ritu, an international postgraduate student pursuing an MSc in Management at Durham University. My academic journey began with a degree in English Literature, and I am thrilled to have transitioned to a new and excting study phase here at Durham.

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