The University of New England celebrated the achievements of its international students at a ceremony last week during which 22 of them were presented with certificates marking the completion of their studies.
While a total of 79 overseas students will be completing their studies at UNE in Semester 2 this year, those honoured at the ceremony on Thursday 28 October are about to return to their home countries: Austria, Canada, China, Fiji, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan and Saudi Arabia.
“We have valued your time in our community,” said UNE’s Chief Development Officer, Mr Chris Patton, in his address to the departing students. He congratulated them on their perseverance in completing their studies, and said they had laid the foundation for a lifetime’s “journey of success”.
Dr Vernon Crew, UNE’s Director of English Language and International Services, pointed out that international students accounted for a significant 15 per cent of the University’s on-campus student population. Dr Crew emphasised the importance of the “cultural exchange” that they brought to the University, saying: “We value your insights into our culture – and the world.”
In responding on behalf of the departing students, Sami Alghamdi said that they had been given “a great opportunity” to acquire “precious knowledge and experience” – and, consequently, “a chance to make this a better world”.
Mr Alghamdi (pictured here), who is returning home to Saudi Arabia in December after the completion of his Master of Education degree program, is an English language teacher at Saudi Arabia’s Al Baha University. He said he greatly appreciated the educational opportunity and the multicultural experience that UNE had provided.
Mr Alghamdi acknowledged the invaluable support of his wife Hala, who is completing a course at UNE’s English Language Centre before returning to Saudi Arabia with her husband in December. Hala will be back at UNE next year to begin her own studies towards a Master’s degree. (Clicking on the image displayed here reveals a photograph of Sami Alghamdi and his wife Hala at the farewell ceremony.)
UNE currently has about 600 international students on campus. They come from 54 countries around the world.