Posted on 1 May 2003
The Awards, for which 1,700 students were nominated from 300 universities and colleges, were established by the British Council, the UK's international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations.
Of the 50 international students who were Highly Commended, five were from the University of York. Only Edinburgh, which has three times as many students as York, received more awards.
The Awards recognise international students who have learned new skills, achieved personal ambitions, enjoyed new experiences, or made a contribution to their institution or community since coming to the UK. The students' experiences will be used by the British Council to encourage applications to UK universities from overseas students.
York's students are Song Wang and Xun Dong from China, Emily Price from America, Shintaro Takahishi from Japan, and Merran Toerien from South Africa.
Song Wang is taking an MA in Educational Studies and says: "Studying in a university in the UK is something exciting, fulfilling, and challenging." He said he "gained an extra hour of happiness" every day from joining an international group which met informally in his communal ground-floor kitchen. Whilst studying at York he has learned to cook, and the difference between soup and dessert spoons!
Xun Dong is studying for a BSc in Computer Science. He says: "To be a computer science student in the University of York is something to be proud of, however it is a great challenge as well." He adds: "The football league on campus is a very nice memory in my life. One of the reasons why I came to Britain is that I love playing football!"
Emily Price, studying Medieval Archaeology, says: "Fitting in socially has been much easier than I thought since I joined the University's Gilbert and Sullivan Society.... Being in 'Iolanthe' and the choir makes me feel that I'm contributing to the university community."
Shintaro Takahishi is reading for a BA in social policy. He has become webmaster of the Overseas Students' Association, and founded the official Japanese Society on campus. "I think it is important for overseas students to introduce their home country's culture," he says.
Merran Toerien is taking a PhD in the Sociology Department. She says studying at York has allowed her to realise a dream. "Coming here was my first overseas trip, and I remain enchanted by pubs and castles, patchwork fields, Stonehenge, the crazy excitement of pulling into King's Cross, York's walls and Minster, the nearness of continental Europe."
Simon Willis, Director of the International Office at York said: "We are delighted by the large number of York students whose achievements at the University have been recognised by the British Council. We have a rapidly growing international community, but they are clearly well-integrated, highly motivated and love being in York. Congratulations to all of them."