Madeleine's mission to help fellow international students feel at home


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The opportunities available at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) are helping international student Madeleine Shimata 'to excel'.

The second-year Business Entrepreneurship and Innovation student is a brand ambassador, course representative, president of a society and the recently elected international students' representative.

Madeleine main

She also achieved a First in her first year and has continued to maintain her grades - which is why she wants to do everything possible to help her classmates and, in particular, new international students.

Madeleine said: "This is significant because I did all this after suddenly losing my father during exam season in my first year. I also did this as a girl coming from a completely different culture, alone in a new country.

"It helped me to make use of support on campus and from friends and family and take time out when I needed.

"I'm grateful that DMU has provided a platform for me to excel, despite my circumstances, with assignments, societies and the countless opportunities there are on campus to get involved with.

"I hope that my story inspires international students."

Born in Tanzania, Madeleine had always wanted to come to the UK to study, picking DMU because of its location, diverse community and Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework.

"It was my dream to come here," she said. "I chose Entrepreneurship because I want to own a business one day and it covers everything I need to know."

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Madeleine was nervous about this new adventure, but her parents encouraged her to 'face the world'. Attending events on campus and at her accommodation helped Madeleine get used to the different culture.

"It helps to be open and have good relationship with peers, teachers and people around campus because you never know where opportunities will come from," she said.

The 20-year-old now feels fully settled into the UK lifestyle and is enjoying her course.

"It can be challenging but I'm really happy with the quality of education," said Madeleine, who has thrown herself into university life. She is helping to bring about change through her role as a course representative, improving her skillset as a brand ambassador and giving something back as president of the Enactus society, which encourages students to make a difference in their communities.

Madeleine will start her part-time role as the international representative with De Montfort Students' Union this summer.

"It took time for me to be comfortable here but I was able to emerge in a good place and I would like to help newcomers do the same," said Madeleine, whose plans include opening a drop-in centre for international students to discuss any issues they face.

This will make for a busy last year at DMU but Madeleine isn't fazed. "I like the opportunity to serve and it doesn't bother me if I'm busy if it's for a better cause," she added.

Posted on Wednesday 29th May 2019

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