The Intercultural Ambassadors programme offers both UK and International students the opportunity to volunteer and bring intercultural awareness to the university’s campus and community. It is an initiative taken by the University of Leeds with several success stories of students joining every year and representing their nations at the University by bringing out the colours of their own home town ranging from food, culture, dance and tradition. Students selected for the programme received training and support to create intercultural projects, and worked together to inspire and connect people from different backgrounds and enriching their experience.
On the 25th of April, our ambassadors Abhinav and Ahmad got the chance to experience the “Intercultural Ambassadors Showcase” which is an event that celebrates the achievements and projects of the Intercultural Ambassadors who have dedicated their time, skills, and enthusiasm in helping others benefit from being at a multicultural international university.
The event took place at the university’s Great Hall (One of the most elegant buildings in the University) and showcased 9 exciting intercultural projects of 50 ambassadors from 23 different countries, along with 8 students from Southwest Jiaotong University. (Leeds Joint School). The event also highlighted how the partnership between the ambassadors and their staff mentors, enabled students to gain global and cultural insight and how through the programme they developed cross-cultural and employability skills.
Before the main presentation began, guests had the opportunity to observe the project posters presented and socialize with some complimentary drinks and snacks. Guests also enjoyed the games being played. Srika ( an Indian Intercultural Ambassador) left no stone unturned to teach a few Indian dance steps to the guests along with me and Ahmad. It was a great networking opportunity as we got the chance to meet student ambassadors studying various majors and several staff working at the international office, educational engagement, language Centre, and other university departments.
When it was time to start the main show, guests were invited to be seated upstairs and the showcase began with an introduction from 2 intercultural ambassadors. (One of them was Ulfah from link to leeds!) The Pro-Vice Chancellor: Professor. Hai-Sui Yu started off the showcase with an opening speech stating the university’s commitment to staying truly international and supporting international students and staff. Afterwards, the 9 teams presented short presentations of their work and got the opportunity to share how this wonderful experience helped them improve themselves, gave them the opportunity to make a difference, and expand their confidence and skills.
In the middle of the showcase, we were surprised with an excellent Indian dance performance by 3 ambassadors. (One of them was Daniela from link to Leeds!) It was very lovely, and afterwards the guests took a break and were treated to a scrumptious and delicious dinner. One of the ambassadors on Ahmad’s table loved the dessert so much, that she said it was the “best dessert she’s had in the UK”.
Guests were thrilled with the amazing presentations presented by the Intercultural Ambassadors covering different projects. The following are the projects that were presented at the showcase:
In collaboration with Research for Excellence team, these ambassadors created two interactive workshops for 16-17 year old school students, raising awareness of the diverse environment and opportunities at the university, and offering advice on how to overcome fears and boundaries before and during their time at the University.
Intercultural Ambassadors into Schools
In collaboration with the Students into Schools team, these ambassadors, working in two teams, delivered sessions in local primary schools to inspire children to broaden their understanding of different cultures and enjoy meeting people from different places.
World Unite Food Festival
These ambassadors organized a fantastic intercultural food festival, in partnership with LUU societies, including fun activities to encourage guests to meet different people and challenge stereotypes.
Intercultural Activities for Older People
These ambassadors organized sessions with older people in Moor Allerton Elderly Care, co-creating memories and reflecting on their experiences of childhood, life in leeds and travel.
Journey to the West
These ambassadors told the story of the famous Chinese folklore ‘Journey to the West’, in collaboration with the Business Confucius Institute, by organizing a night full of creative cultural performances, which celebrate the talent and diversity of our students.
Intercultural Photographers in Leeds and Chengdu
Five ambassadors studying at Leeds worked with 8 Southwest Jiaotong University (Leeds Joint School students based in Chengdu) on an exhibition and event showcasing photos taken by students in Chengdu and Leeds.
Working with the Language Centre, these ambassadors created an opportunity for international students on English courses in the Language Centre to interact with students from other courses, by putting on stage representations of folklore stories from around the world.
Intercultural Amazing Race
These ambassadors organized a treasure hunt on campus, with the help of Get Out, Get Active, bringing together international and UK students, in order to prove that sport and physical activity can also create great camaraderie between people from different cultures.
It was a great experience for us to participate in such an event. We would like to thank and congratulate all the Intercultural Ambassadors and their mentors for their hard work on these amazing projects, we would also like to congratulate Iulian on organizing such a successful showcase, and finally we would like to thank the International Student Office for giving us the opportunity to participate in such a delightful and inspiring event.