International College

Celebrating Ramadan while studying: Tiba's story

Posted 26 April 2021
House decorated for Ramadan, with lanterns, hanging flowers and crescent moons on strings

Tiba from Iraq is studying the International Foundation Year in Business, Social Sciences and Humanities.

Light has once again stood before the doors of our hearts, bringing along joy and grace for families that have been apart for quite some time. It’s that time of the year, when all seats around the table are never empty, with warm soup and traditional food prepared by even warmer hands as giggles can be heard from across the living room. It’s that time of the year, when children rush to hang the strings of vibrantly blinking lights, mesmerised how hope can be found in such little bulbs and through all colours. It’s that time of the year when strained souls all year long can finally find ease as we raise our hands praying away the burdens of our souls. What shall I say besides, Welcome back Ramadan!

Studying my pathway programme at the University of Sheffield International College this year has left Ramadan to be a significantly different experience; yet, one that I am forever grateful for. It’s no doubt that our daily schedules tend to vary vastly during this special month; however, this major change is merely another aspect of Ramadan which we long for just as equally. I force the curtains apart at 11am BST for a brand new day and get ready for my online sessions commencing shortly. Once I complete my classes, I rush for a quick nap before it's time for Iftar, which is when we can break our fast and unite around the table, precisely where most of our memories we will be taking from home as we travel to pursuing our dreams and futures, will always be. Right after Iftar, it is a tradition in almost all Arabic households for the family to move to the living room for some tea and Arabic desserts either bought from a much trusted bakery or made with as much love only a few steps away from the living room and freshly baked right out of a homely oven.

After I gain much motivation from the Iraqi tea made specially by my Aunt, it's time I escape to my room and dedicate the rest of my day to my studies, until shortly before dawn when we have Suhoor, a meal before we start fasting for a new day, and make a prayer before a long, well-deserved rest.

Furthermore, some advice I would like to share with fellow students who as well are celebrating Ramadan would be, wherever you are and even when Ramadan’s spirit may not be as you recall it due to distance that has left you longing for the flavours of your home and the presence of your folks and people, may you always remember how to celebrate Ramadan how you always learned to, for somethings must never change.

Ramadan Mubarak, beautiful people!

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