About us

Small World Cafe is an organisation in Reading comprised of university students, staff and friends. It is a partnership between the Student Christian Union International Team and some local churches. Our purpose is to provide social events, hospitality and sightseeing trips for international students. Our hope is that students will develop friendships and have an enjoyable, beneficial and positive experience during their stay in this country.


History

We keep getting asked how it all started so here is a brief history.

In 1993, some University of Reading students asked an alumni family who had recently returned from teaching English overseas, to help them book coaches to take international students on day trips to local places of interest. Together they discovered a small family bus company in Caversham who were delighted to oblige and were flexible with the bookings!

Fortnightly trips during term time were then arranged, a name and a website were set up, and since then Focus International took many students (sometimes 3 coaches at one trip) from Cadbury's World Birmingham in the north, to the Isle of Wight in the south, to Cardiff in the west and London and Cambridge to the east.

Later, in addition to trips, Focus International students and friends arranged cultural evenings, coffee mornings, Sunday teas and English classes for mothers and toddlers, even holidays!

During this time Focus International joined forces with International Friends to become International Focus but continued along the same lines.

More recently, part of the student team set up the 'Small World cafe' as a further way of extending friendship to international students. This originally operated on Wednesday evenings but now runs in partnership with the I-team of the university Christian Union on Friday evenings. We generally run trips on a monthly basis now.

This is what one of our recent team leaders Priscilla said, "As a foreign student adapting to a new country, I will always be grateful towards Small World Cafe for welcoming me with open arms. My university life was enriched by the multi-cultural exposure and valuable friendships gained through the Cafe. Coming from such different backgrounds means we all have so much to offer and share with each other! Be brave and take the opportunities to discover- it is all part of our educational experience! I hope you will also greatly enjoy your time here as I have."

And one of last year's students (Camille), "If you want to find a nice place to have a wonderful time by chatting, distracting yourself, sharing experiences, playing games, laughing with amazing people and building beautiful memories, don't hesitate...join the Small World Cafe! You will always feel welcome!"