Polish graduates who travelled to De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) to study have told guests at a conference held in Warsaw how vital their international learning was to their careers.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard addresses the audience
Staff and students from DMU travelled to the Polish capital for the second in a series of events organised by the university – and supported by the GREAT Britain campaign – to show students and staff-to-be in the EU how welcome and important they are in the UK.
Professor Dominic Shellard, Vice-Chancellor of DMU, led a series of talks which stressed how, despite Britain voting to leave the EU, “nothing had changed” at UK universities and EU staff and students were not only a valuable addition to a global organisation, but that the experience offered by international study had the power to transform lives.
Lukasz Lagojda, a recent DMU graduate in Medical Science, took to the stage in a question and answer session during the conference.
He said: “The first time I came to Leicester, I noticed straight away that it was extremely multi-cultural which is very welcoming when you come from abroad. It is wonderful to see that kind of integration.
“I think DMU has responded very quickly after this referendum vote to come out and actually meet students in these countries. I think it’s very important that this message is given.”
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And he was far from alone. Another DMU alumni, Tomasz Gogol, who completed a Software Engineering degree in 2012, said he owed his current job to the skills he learnt while at the university.
The 27-year-old, who now lives and works in Poland, said: “I work as an IT professional, developing software for international stock exchange companies. This is exactly the work I wanted to do and I would not have got this without DMU – I use the skills I learnt there every day.
“But I also made a lot of friends and found the UK far more welcoming than I imagined; I had help with banking and all these things.”
These points were echoed by Professor Shellard, who outlined the ways in which DMU was building on its reputation as a global university.
He told the guests: “One of the essences of British education is being open to the world and it was interesting to me to find out that, among university students, 90% of them had voted to stay in the EU.
“At DMU, nothing has changed: we are more committed than ever to being open and welcome to students from all over the world.”
Ian Blatchford, DMU’s Chairman of Governors and the Director and Chief Executive of the Science Museum Group, which runs London’s hugely popular Science Museum, said he felt DMU students had a “real intellectual freedom”.
DMU Chair of Governors Ian Blatchford
He said: “There is wonderful expertise in the creative industries and science at DMU and many other UK universities.
“DMU has its feet in an English city but its heart and mind in the whole world.”
In another speech, Simon Gammell, Director of the British Council in Poland, said DMU was a “great example of the depth and range of higher education in the UK”.
Simon Gammell, Director of the British Council in Poland
And Vivienne Stern, Universities UK’s Director, International Unit, said that the Brexit vote did not mean universities were in any way “retreating from the world”.
She said: “Our reaction to Brexit was to put our boots on and we are doing everything we can to maintain close collaboration across universities all over the EU.
“I have a particular affection for DMU because I’m a Leicester lass. The university has transformed that part of Leicester; it’s like another world now and its student experience is outstanding.”
The Warsaw event – which was attended by numerous Polish media – follows the launch of the series last week in Cyprus, at the capital Nicosia. Further events will be held throughout the summer in Sweden, Lithuania and Germany.
Posted on Wednesday 27th July 2016