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INTO GCU students turn out for presidential election

INTO GCU Elections
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INTO GCU students turn out for presidential election

When INTO Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) announced its first election for a student president and vice president, there was a fantastic response from the students, who participated in both the campaign and voting process with enthusiasm.

When INTO Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) announced its first election for a student president and vice president, there was a fantastic response from the students, who participated in both the campaign and voting process with enthusiasm. In September, INTO GCU students were given a week to nominate themselves as candidates for the upcoming election, followed by two weeks to orchestrate and execute their campaigns. During nomination week, three pairs of students, comprising six nationalities, put themselves forward. Throughout the campaign, the nominees worked hard to gain the support of their peers. Campaign posters and flyers adorned hallways and communal areas, and candidates rolled out their manifestos and collared potential… Read the full article
When INTO Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) announced its first election for a student president and vice president, there was a fantastic response from the students, who participated in both the campaign and voting process with enthusiasm.

In September, INTO GCU students were given a week to nominate themselves as candidates for the upcoming election, followed by two weeks to orchestrate and execute their campaigns. During nomination week, three pairs of students, comprising six nationalities, put themselves forward.

Throughout the campaign, the nominees worked hard to gain the support of their peers. Campaign posters and flyers adorned hallways and communal areas, and candidates rolled out their manifestos and collared potential voters during classes and at break times.

The campaign reached its climax between noon and 1pm on Thursday, October 6, when the polling station opened and nominees clustered near the ballot box in a last-ditch attempt to persuade ‘floating voters’ to put a cross next to their name.

The turnout was amazing – a grand total of 81 students voted, and the result was incredibly close, with Foundation Computing programme students Areez Allana from Pakistan and Ikeoluwa Odukudu from Nigeria winning the election by just one vote.

Newly-elected INTO GCU president Areez graciously shared his ‘moment’ with the assembled press (aka INTO News): “I am very happy to have won and I look forward to making a difference. I took the election very seriously and I’m glad it has paid off!” he said. Vice-president Ike shared his enthusiasm. “It’s very cool that we have won,” she said. “The elections were a lot of fun and I’m glad that I took part.”

The roles of INTO GCU president and vice president carry a number of responsibilities directly relating to the student experience within the Centre. They act as a bridge between the student body and Centre staff and attend bi-weekly meetings with the centre director, head of student services and head of academic support, during which they raise any issues that have been brought to their attention by students. They also get involved in student social activities, help organise and plan events and trips and liaise with GCU Student Association.’

Over the past month, Areez and Ike have hit the ground running and got stuck in to their new roles. They have already begun to organise a staff and student table tennis tournament, the proceeds from which will go to INTO Giving, and are in the process of arranging a weekly drop-in clinic where students will be able to stop by and discuss any issues with them.

“We were delighted by our students’ response to the election campaign, and overwhelmed by the fantastic turnout on polling day!” said INTO GCU centre director Ian Butchart. “It was a real learning curve for the nominees, and resulted in the election of two candidates who are already making a significant contribution to the the high levels of student satisfaction in our Centre.”

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UAB’s International Mentors join forces with INTO UAB staff

As more than 100 international students arrived for INTO The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s inaugural fall intake, they were greeted by warm Alabama temperatures, southern accents and an excited INTO UAB staff. They also were welcomed by the UAB International Mentors, an enthusiastic group of students who assist their newly arrived peers through the transition of living and studying in the US. The International Mentors, or IMs, are globally-minded students who help build a supportive and inclusive campus culture. The program, which existed before INTO UAB was established, demonstrates how the INTO UAB partnership is elevating existing international student support services on campus. Together both INTO UAB and IMs help students get the most out of their education and what Birmingham has to offer. “Our partnership with INTO UAB has been a great experience for our mentors,” said Sharifa… Read the full article
As more than 100 international students arrived for INTO The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s inaugural fall intake, they were greeted by warm Alabama temperatures, southern accents and an excited INTO UAB staff. They also were welcomed by the UAB International Mentors, an enthusiastic group of students who assist their newly arrived peers through the transition of living and studying in the US.

The International Mentors, or IMs, are globally-minded students who help build a supportive and inclusive campus culture. The program, which existed before INTO UAB was established, demonstrates how the INTO UAB partnership is elevating existing international student support services on campus. Together both INTO UAB and IMs help students get the most out of their education and what Birmingham has to offer.

“Our partnership with INTO UAB has been a great experience for our mentors,” said Sharifa Wip, mentor coordinator of UAB’s Student Multicultural and Diversity Programs. “Our program has seen an increase in everything from the number of mentors needed to work with students to the expectations of the quality of service our mentors provide.”

The IMs are selected through a highly competitive application process assessing their knowledge of UAB and Birmingham, passion for service, cultural sensitivity and academic success. The majority are first-generation Americans or international students themselves. They are matched with five students to work with per academic year based on their common home countries, languages, majors and interests.

When choosing mentors, Sharifa looks for students who will ensure their mentee has a wonderful experience at UAB and in the US. “Mentors actively seek activities, programs and resources for their mentees, so they must be willing to serve as a guide for one year for incoming students,” she explained.

IMs worked through the summer making special preparations for a warm welcome. The flag of every international student’s home country lined UAB’s main road into campus, and IMs wore shirts embroidered with the flags of their mentee’s home countries.

INTO UAB’s four-day Orientation was a great opportunity for the mentors to build closer relationships than previous schedules allowed. “With this being our inaugural intake, the mentors have been a tremendous asset to our staff and students in so many ways,” said Jamie McNally, director of student experience at INTO UAB. “They helped us to implement the summer Orientation program, planned several outstanding student activities and continue to serve as a vital resource for their mentees to ease their transition to campus.”

The IMs also hosted an International Student Welcome Party as an official rite of passage for their international peers. More than 600 students attended, reflecting the impact of this program on international and domestic students alike.

“The mentors wanted this to be both a taste of home and a taste of Birmingham for all international students,” said Sharifa. “A DJ played a special mix of music featuring styles from every country represented at UAB this year and we made sure to have foods from both their countries and food you would find in Birmingham, such as sweet tea and barbeque. It allowed students to network with domestic and international students, learn about student organizations and relax after the busy first weeks of school.”

However, the IM’s work doesn’t end after Welcome Week. Mentors plan a monthly weekend activity and coordinate weekly meetings with mentees to assess performance and progress in their academic classes and overall transition to the US.

“A mentor’s purpose is to set their mentee up for success,” said Sharifa, emphasizing that this year mentors are implementing more contact time than in previous years. Instead of just telling a mentee where their class is, mentors now walk to class with them. Some serve as translators for classes. Most importantly they work together to set both short- and long-term goals for the year, from building their English skills to learning to navigate campus or the Birmingham area.

The mentor’s overall objective is to produce future mentors. “Some of our best International Mentors were previous international students themselves,” said Sharifa. “They’re able to pass along the lessons they’ve learned and experiences they’ve made to other international students to ensure their time at UAB and in the US is successful.”

Watch the video from this fall’s UAB International Student Welcome Party.

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International Mentors 1

London INTO staff throw GOLD welcome party!

In mid-October, International Foundation students at INTO City, University of London and INTO London World Education Centre were invited to a traditional English tea party organised by staff to welcome them to the London GOLD study community. Over 20 students from the September intake at both London centres enjoyed tea and scones as they chatted to each other and staff involved in both the development and delivery of the online study options. Forty students have been invited to join the GOLD community, and the idea of the party was for those who attended to feel part of a community, and to build awareness of what GOLD can do for them. Director of Online Learning, David Rowson was delighted to hear of this initiative, as he saw it as… Read the full article
In mid-October, International Foundation students at INTO City, University of London and INTO London World Education Centre were invited to a traditional English tea party organised by staff to welcome them to the London GOLD study community.

Over 20 students from the September intake at both London centres enjoyed tea and scones as they chatted to each other and staff involved in both the development and delivery of the online study options. Forty students have been invited to join the GOLD community, and the idea of the party was for those who attended to feel part of a community, and to build awareness of what GOLD can do for them.

Director of Online Learning, David Rowson was delighted to hear of this initiative, as he saw it as a great opportunity for people to learn about GOLD and flag up its many benefits and features. 

“GOLD has been implemented across EUS and Extended programmes to over 500 students this autumn to offer additional online support to help students succeed and improve their English levels,” he said.

“GOLD is a free, 40-hour, tutored online course delivered to students over 6 weeks, which helps students improve their chances of meeting their English language entry requirements to progress onto an INTO Pathway Programme or a partner university programme.

“The course helps students understand their level in listening, speaking, reading and writing through a combination of feedback from our online academic teachers and instant online system feedback. It allows students greater flexibility to study in their own time, so they can fit this around their other study commitments” he added.

Poh Leng Wendelkin Director of Studies (English) for INTO City, University of London was a key organizer behind the event and is heavily involved with the GOLD programme within the centre. “We hope that that through meeting each other at the party, students will feel more motivated about being part of the online GOLD community,” she said

Rosie Gerrard-Wright Academic Director for INTO London World Education Centre has also been involved in the implementation of the London GOLD community. “GOLD gives the students not only the chance to work on their language development. The classic English tea-party gave the students a taste of UK culture, with language development as the icing on the cake!’ 

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GOLD Party

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