International Services Director makes Australia home

Published 29 May 2008

vernon_flag.jpgThe man charged with ensuring that overseas students at the University of New England have a rewarding educational experience in Australia has himself become an Australian citizen in a ceremony held earlier this month in Armidale.

Dr Vernon Crew, the Director of English Language and International Services at UNE, comes from the UK but has spent the majority of his working life in other countries: 10 years in Zambia and 18 years in Hong Kong.

“When I decided to leave my employment in Hong Kong, Australia was the natural place for me to look for a job,” he said. “I’d made many work and holiday visits to places all over Australia, and liked it a lot – a young nation with a great climate and friendly people.

“I had no idea what Armidale was like, however. So, after securing my current position at UNE, I made a flying visit from Hong Kong to check it out – and loved the place. I’ve never looked back! I officially landed in Australia on the 16th of September 2005 as a Sponsored Migrant, arriving in Armidale and starting work at UNE three days later.”

Dr Crew leads the team that provides English language courses for visiting students from overseas colleges and universities, and English tutelage, academic referral, administrative support and pastoral care for UNE’s own body of international students. As a focus of educational and cultural relationships with communities abroad, the English Language Centre plays a significant role in the life of Armidale.

“Wherever I’ve been I’ve tried hard to become a constructive part of that country and to make an active contribution to its society,” Dr Crew said. “If you live somewhere and accept all the advantages and benefits that that country offers, then the least you should do is show that you really appreciate it. And one of the best ways of doing that is to become a citizen.”

Dr Crew was presented with his citizenship certificate by Armidale Dumaresq Mayor Peter Ducat during a ceremony at the Council Chambers. He was one of about 20 people who became Australian citizens that day.

The photograph of Dr Vernon Crew displayed here is by Bill Tucker.