International students shine in British Council’s Annual Awards

Their inspirational accounts of student life in the UK have secured two students from the University top accolades in the UK’s biggest competition for international students.

Hong Kong student Alex Leung has been named Wales’ International Student of the Year 2009 in the prestigious competition from the British Council. Alex Leung, who is studying in the Welsh School of Pharmacy, was one of 12 regional winners who gathered in London to have their extraordinary achievements honoured in a national awards ceremony.

Kenyan student Gregory Akall, who studies International Journalism at the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, was a regional runner-up in the competition.

Alex Leung and Gregory Akall were two of more than 1,500 students, from 118 countries to enter the seventh annual International Student Awards – a major initiative from the British Council that shines the spotlight on international students and their contributions to life in the UK.

In a bid to take home a prize, students studying at universities, colleges of further and higher education, schools and English language institutions across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales shared stories about the extra-curricular achievements that illustrate how they are making the most of their time in the UK.

To enter, each student was asked to write a personal ‘letter home’ in English, detailing the out-of-class achievements that help make their time in the UK so rewarding.

Alex Leung’s letter was judged to be Wales’ most impressive, receiving a £1,000 prize. Alex explained how his experience at Cardiff will help him reach his goal of working for the World Health Organisation. He said: “In Cardiff I found the ultimate goal in my life and my path to my dream. I have gained huge confidence and personal growth by the opportunities, and an international vision and a heart to serve children globally.”

Gregory Akall said: “My greatest desire is to influence people’s lives positively because a social justice move, no matter how small, makes a significant difference. The learning opportunity and social experience at Cardiff University has prepared me to embrace change and become a more resilient human being and a more competent global citizen.”

Sandra Elliott, Director of Communications and International Relations Division said: “We’re very proud of the achievements of all of our international students at Cardiff and the way in which they make the most of every opportunity here. Having both a finalist and a runner-up in the competition is a fantastic reflection on both the talent of our international students and on the University as a whole”

(SOURCE: CARDIFF UNIVERSITY NEWS CENTRE, 28th April 2009)

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