International and local students feast on friendship
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More than 100 overseas exchange, mainland and local students attended a high-table farewell dinner organised by the International and Non-local Students Office (INSO) and CityU Buddy Scheme at the Multi-function Hall of Student Residence on 24 April. Typifying the international character of the campus, they bid farewell to those who will soon leave for their respective home towns.
The sartorially elegant students shared stories and experiences from their time spent studying at CityU. In addition to an award presentation to the winning teams of the first 5 on 5 Soccer League for International and Non-local Students, exchange students staged a spirited talent show. While there was sadness at parting, the night ended in joyful spirit.
Jade Law, an exchange student from San José State University in the US, andKitty Gondek, from Canada’s McGill University, organised the dinner. “This is the first time CityU has hosted a high-table farewell dinner for exchange students but there has been a long tradition of this in western countries. We would like to introduce this culture to CityU,” said Jade.
In addition to organising the farewell dinner, Jade also participated in various activities hosted by INSO. She was one of 20 exchange students who introduced her alma mater to CityU students planning to pursue overseas studies, and she was also involved in the preparation of CityU’s first American Thanksgiving Night, held last November. After completing her studies at CityU this semester, she will retain her ties to the University by working at the English Language Centre.
Besides the overseas exchange students, mainland students are also enthusiasticabout organising student activities. The first 5 on 5 Soccer League for International and Non-local Students was organised by a group of mainland soccer enthusiasts. They formed the Chinese Students and Scholars Association of City University of Hong Kong football club and hosted the soccer competition this year. The contest enjoyed an overwhelming response, with 80 students participating in eight teams. Gao Jiabei, one of the students organising the event, expressed gratitude for INSO’s assistance. “CityU is an internationalised university and I wish to have more chances to play soccer with overseas and local students in the future and make friends with them,” said Gao.
Chen Zixiang, another mainland student, conducted a series of Cantonese workshops for overseas exchange students and mainland students. He even compiled a set of learning materials to help overseas and mainland students who have difficulty in adapting to local university life due to their unfamiliarity with Cantonese. The number of participants jumped from 20 to 300 within one year, reflecting a high demand for Cantonese lessons on campus.
Ms Helen Lam, Director of INSO, said CityUalways encouraged overseas exchange students and mainland students to take the lead in organising student activities, thereby helping nurture their whole-person development and allowing them to develop friendships and a sense of belonging.
“We offer support to exchange students and help them to process all the documentation needed to enter Hong Kong. After their arrival, we continue providing support so they can enjoy their campus life without undue worries,” said Ms Lam. “We hope to build a strong international student network, and the exchange students are our best ambassadors.”