Can Durham students find Durham on a map?

We asked some Durham students what they know about the world outside the bubble

Durham University students are sometimes stereotyped as being ‘posh’, ‘rahs’ or even ‘out of touch’. To put this to the test we asked them a few questions about the place they’re spending 3 years.

Where is Durham?

Kat – 2nd Year – English

Pretty decent first attempt (though by the looks of things a lucky guess)


Alice – 3rd Year – English

Far too far north. Alice think’s Durham’s in Scotland. It isn’t.


She did have a confession to make though… ‘I didn’t realise Durham existed as a place until I applied. My Uncle was in Darlington so I knew that was a place. I didn’t realise Durham was a place as I’m an ignorant cretin’.

Andrew – 4th Year – Languages

Bit too far in land and bit too far South. Come on, Andrew this isn’t Bishop Auckland.



Pip – 4th Year – Languages

Again closer to Scotland than to Durham. Weak.



While many students sometimes seem to treat Durham as if it is in some kind of wilderness far away from civilisation, it is not – as another student once told me – ‘practically in Scotland’. That isn’t quite the case, with a quick internet search revealing that Durham is around a two hour drive from the border.

Simon – Erasmus Student

Erasmus student Simon, from France, can be excused for misplacing Durham on a map. Ironically, his attempt looks like it may be just closer than those of people who are originally from the UK. SimonMap

Callum – 3rd Year – Law

Nailed it.


He did admit though that he has a ‘little bit of an advantage’ as he is from Chester-le-Street… Isn’t that cheating?

% of children in the North East are in poverty?


Okay, this question blindsided them a little but when one stereotype is that Durham students are too oblivious in their privileged and have no concept of the troubles faced by locals, it seemed a fair one.

Kat – 3rd Year – English

Kat debated what her answer would be for while, ultimately overestimating with 38% after reflecting on the way in which the North East is ‘neglected’ by the government.


Alice – 3rd Year – English

Alice’s guess for this question was a little closer to home


Andrew – 4th Year – Languages

All respondents were reluctant to answer. After all, as fourth year Andrew remarked, ‘wherever I put it, it’ll be wrong’ — either too high or too low. He hazarded a guess at 5%. He was right, that is wrong.


Simon – Erasmus Student

Exchange student Simon estimated that the level of child poverty in the North East was 15%. Again, an underestimate.IMG_0292

Callum – 3rd Year – Law

Finally, local student Callum had a think and put it at 23%. Pretty much bang on.


The true figure? According to the North East Child Poverty Commission, approximately 24% of children in the North East are in poverty. Callum said that ‘I was going to put 24%’ but changed his mind, reacting rather stoically to the figure.

The response of the other Durham students surveyed was less muted. When asked how it made her feel that her guess of 7% was so far out, Pip said that she felt ‘really sad and depressed’. Andrew, whose estimate of 5% was the furthest from the truth, said: ‘Oh my word… Bloody hell… I feel I should probably have went higher than 5%, 5% was a conservative guess.’

While the levels of child poverty in the local area might not be at the forefront of student’s minds, it was interesting to see their response to the reality of the difficulties faced by around one in four children in the region.

For students who may perhaps not be aware of the high levels of deprivation in this region outside of the ‘Durham bubble’ it is clear that the reality was a bit of a shock.

Does this mean they’re out of touch? You decide.