A Warm Welcome to our International Students!
The Great Hall, Aberystwyth Arts Centre was the place to be for the new intake of international students on Sunday, 25th September at our International Welcome morning. Students from over 68 countries, and honoured guests, were greeted by the sound of the Welsh harp as they entered the Great Hall, played beautifully by 14-year-old Medi Evans who is a pupil at one of the local secondary schools in Aberystwyth.
Master of Ceremonies was Murtza Ali Ghaznavi (Middle East Manager, International Office) who introduced the first speaker, Prof April McMahon, Vice-Chancellor. After warmly greeting students, she gave a brief lesson on how to say “Good morning Vice-Chancellor” in Welsh – “Bore da Is-Ganghellor”. Prof McMahon spoke about the history of the University, of the different support networks available, and of the close relationship the Institution and town of Aberystwyth had with one another.
Jonathan Richards, Director of International, also extended a very warm welcome to all our undergraduate, postgraduate, Exchange & Study Abroad, International English Centre and Institutional Partner students and spoke about the importance of having a diverse range of students which helps to strengthen the University’s academic profile and enrich the student experience. He also mentioned that we would be celebrating some of the students’ successes by holding an International Scholarship and Awards Evening which would be taking place in due course.
Jonathan introduced other members of the International team including Ruth Owen, International Officer, who reiterated the welcome that had already been given as well as mentioning briefly the countries that she was responsible for; Chris Neville, International Officer who greeted the Chinese students in fluent Mandarin; Susan Jenkins, International Administrator and Rex Berridge, Head of International English Centre who emphasised the important role of the Centre in developing students' skills.
Other speakers included Nia Jones, International Student Advisor, who also helped co-ordinate the “Meet & Greet” service at the airports along with Iona Hopkins, Study Abroad Officer. Beverley Herring, from Job Link, outlined how the Careers Service could help international students, and Tom Burmeister, Student Support Officer from the Guild of Students, spoke about the Guild’s services and outlined the exciting week of activities which has been arranged for newcomers.
Honoured guests at the Welcome morning included Father Deiniol; Sonia Dobson, Chairman and Hywel Wyn Jones, Vice President of Aberystwyth Rotary Club; Ron Houghton and Roger Malvern, Llandrindod Rotary Club; and Carol Edwards, Head of Reader Services, National Library of Wales, being one of only five copyright libraries in the UK which we are fortunate to have on our doorstep.
To round off the Welcome morning, a buffet lunch was held with the chance to mingle and relax in the sunshine to the sound of a band playing in the grounds of the Arts Centre.