Have a healthy and
happy Ramadan at UCA!

Ramadan has officially begun – and UCA wishes a blessed fast to all those who participate. Here are our top tips for managing your studies while observing Ramadan, and supporting people in your life who are observing it.

11 Mar 2024

What is Ramadan?

We should start by outlining what Ramadan is, and what it means to millions around the world. Ramadan is an annual fast, observed by those within the Muslim faith. The dates of Ramadan vary each year because Islam uses a calendar based on the cycles of the Moon – so this year’s Ramadan starts this week and is due to end around April 9, when the celebration of Eid ul-Fitr can begin.

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast entirely from sunrise to sunset, not even drinking water. The pre-dawn meal that precedes the daily fast is called Suhoor, and the meal that breaks the fast after sunset is called Iftar. As well as fasting, good deeds are encouraged, and it’s common for people to re-read the Qur’an and attend extra prayers. It’s a special time to reconnect with your faith and your place in the world.

Taking part in Ramadan

If you’re a UCA student taking part in Ramadan, we wish you well with your fast, and we hope these tips will help you along the way!

  • Be open with your tutors and classmates. Talking about what you need, and what you’ll be doing, will mean everyone can support you in the right way and avoid any misunderstandings or irritations.

  • Don’t pass on your Suhoor! That pre-dawn meal is crucial to help you get through the day and keep your energy levels up, so don’t miss it!

  • Eat healthily. The food you eat during Suhoor and Iftar is so important – healthy and sustaining meals will be so much better than junk. Check out TikTok for some great recipes!

  • Organise yourself. If you can, try to study around your fasting hours to optimise productivity. You may have more energy when you wake up than later in the day, or you might have a late-night surge following Iftar.

  • Take breaks. Make sure to have some rest in between classes and in between your study sessions where you can – especially in warmer weather.

  • Relax! Reduce any intense physical activity to conserve your energy.

  • Plan ahead. If you can, plan your Iftar in advance and make sure you leave enough time for beforehand to cook and prepare your meal – batch cooking may also help you if you’re budgeting.

  • Don’t forget your drink. Food might be the only thing on your mind when sun sets, but drinking plenty is vital. Make sure you stay hydrated.

  • Listen to your body.  Adjust your routine in a way that suits you. It’s important you have a positive fasting experience while maintaining your academic responsibilities.

  • Support system. Be open and seek support from friends, family and student services if you face any challenges – it’s OK to reach out for help, especially if this is your first Ramadan away from home.

  • Socialise! Be sure to look out for events around UCA and the local area. Ramadan is a social time and while you may be away from your family, there are networks of people out there who would be happy to share your experience with you.
An image of a prayer scene for Ramadan

Know someone who is taking part?

If you’re not of Muslim faith, but you want to support your friends who are, here are some general tips to help:

  • Be mindful. The first thing is to be considerate – we wouldn’t recommend you wave food under their noses at lunchtime, for example! Essentially, just think before you do something food or drink related around your friends; we promise they’ll appreciate the fact you’ve considered them.

  • Respect the new routine. Ramadan marks a very different routine for those who take part, so do respect any boundaries that your friends or peers may set out during the month.

  • Be flexible. When working together, you might find the energy levels of some of your classmates differ during this time, so talk to them about when they think they’ll be most productive and, if you can, fit in around them.

  • Organise an Iftar together! Some students may be completing their Ramadan for the first time away from home and family. So why not get involved? You could organise an Iftar with them, which will support the festivities, ease any potential loneliness – and you’ll likely learn about new customs - and maybe even recipes - too!

  • It’s a personal journey. Ramadan is an intensely personal journey for those who observe it, and each person will adhere to it in their own way. The main thing is to not judge if the way they observe is different to the way you might understand it, and to support in any way you can.

We hope these tips help you all during this month of Ramadan. Remember, if you need any additional advice or support, you can always contact the student services team, who will do all they can to help.