Hundreds of students from around the globe were treated to their own little slice of the English countryside as they arrived at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) this week.
The Venue@DMU was transformed into an idyllic country scene complete with picnic tables covered in gingham tablecloths, fabric bunting, strings of lights, trees and the sound of birdsong to mark the start of International Welcome Week.
The students, who had jetted in from all corners of the globe over the weekend, then had picnic hampers delivered to their tables full of treats such as sandwiches, sausage rolls, scones, carrot cake and lemon curd-filled shortbread.
Thousands of international students arrive at DMU each summer to start their studies and the university organises a week of activities to welcome them in their new surroundings including social events, tours of the city, a day trip to Shakespeare country and advice sessions covering everything from registering with a doctor to opening a bank account.
They then join with the rest of the new starters for Freshers’ Week which kicks-off this year on September 22.
Sarah Badibanga and Ida Nyang arrived in Leicester from Norway on Sunday and are looking forward to the start of term. They met up on DMU’s Facebook page a few weeks earlier.
Sarah, who is studying Software Engineering, said: “I had heard about Leicester and how good DMU was so I wanted to come here for sure. I arrived yesterday so I have not had the chance to see too much yet, but I’m really looking forward to Freshers’ Week.”
Ida, who is studying Fashion Buying and Marketing, added: “I’m looking forward to Freshers’ of course but I am also looking forward to starting the course, getting to know the city and making new friends.”
Catherine Cheng, from Liaoning, China, is spending the next two years studying Business Management and Law.
She said: “I like Leicester. I need to buy lots of things for our house and Wilko was the first place I went to! What do I think so far? I think the cakes in England are delicious.”
Her friend from Liaoning, Jazmine Shi, who is on the same course, said laughing: “There are so many other Chinese here! But there are lots of other people from all over the world too. I think Leicester is a really good place to live.
“I know the course is going to be a lot of hard work but I really want to get a first.”
Ike Mwithiga, from Nairobi, Kenya, is studying Architecture for the next three years. He said: “I like Leicester because it is not predominantly white and not predominantly Asian. It is a perfect balance. I have done a bit of exploring and I think I will feel at home for the next three years.
“I am studying Architecture and I want to explore the cultural influences on building design and I am interested in how it is implemented in Leicester. The city is good because it is not all modern and it is not all old so it has the perfect mix of buildings to study."
Mia Lappalainen, from Finland, is studying Contour Fashion. She said: “They do not offer a course like this in Finland and I have come to Leicester because I think there are so many more opportunities for me here. Finland is so tiny.
“I have heard that the course is a lot of hard work but when I was at school I studied for 12 hours a day so I am used to it.”
Serena Strok, from Amsterdam in The Netherlands, is looking forward to starting her Arts and Festivals Management course. She said: “I’ve always wanted to come to the UK and the campus here is lovely. When I get my degree I either want to organise my own festival or become a wedding planner.”
Ranice Mah, from Malaysia, is studying Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Science. She said: “I must admit it is a bit confusing at the moment as I only arrived on Saturday - and it is quite cold. It was about 30-plus degrees in Malaysia. Leicester is a lot cheaper than I expected. I am looking forward to joining societies and meeting lots of new friends.”
Posted on Tuesday 17th September 2019