The first term as the international student officer has been an amazing experience for one’s self and for a few others too. I truly believe that we at the Student Union have pioneered something that will go a long way as far as the enrichment of the student experience at Cardiff Metropolitan University is concerned for both international and home students. Following is a brief summary of this eventful term by your friendly neighborhood international student officer.
Initially I tried my best to ensure that the new and returning students were aware of their international student officer’s existence and what they should expect from him. The student union was very commendable in this task as there were profiles of all part time officers including the international student officer on the website well before the start of the term. I also used many social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to promote the awareness of this post. The international office also helped with this endeavor. There have been many activities for the international students this term, including multiple trips, social gatherings and meet and greets, with a lot more about to happen next term.
I started the pilot project of the Breakfast Club. The Breakfast Club is a fortnightly hour long session where new and returning international students can socialize and network with each other and home students over some refreshments on campus. The concept behind the Breakfast Club is to ensure that international students don’t go through isolation and/or social anxiety which are real issues when studying abroad. From the feedback that I received it was evident that mingling with the home students also helped with issues like culture shocks. Simultaneously it proved to be a good intercultural learning experience for the participating home students. The breakfast club took some time to take off as many students had busy schedules but once we had a couple of sessions it blossomed into multiple social circles. Now the participants of The Breakfast Club plan excursions off campus as well, like a trip to Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland which everyone including myself enjoyed. It is a project that I have been trying to promote for a couple of years at Cardiff Metropolitan University and now through my position I have finally set it up and its proving to make a positive impact on international and home students. I am sure The Breakfast Club will continue for a long time.
I majorly liaised with the international office during this term and will continue to do so in the future as they are great at providing support and are the first point of contact for the international students. Through their help and the help of their team of international student ambassadors I was able to reach a wide range of new and returning international students.
I have also received tremendous support from the student union, particularly from the president of the Student Union who I have the pleasure of calling a friend Will Fuller, he has always put his trust in me and has supported me in all the activities I have planned for international students this term. The vice president Ieaun Gardiner has also been exceptionally supportive during this time. My dear colleagues, other part time officers and student representatives have also been available if I needed their help, support and guidance. I truly feel blessed to be part of such a positive and friendly team.
Finally I’d like to thank all the international students who chose Cardiff Metropolitan University, it gives me great pleasure to see their number rising every year. I will try my best to be completely available in providing any kind of support that they need in the coming term and make sure that they get the best student experience that Cardiff Met has to offer.