Saturday, March 20, 2010

Welcome to International Students

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As part of Harmony Day, Geelong City Council/Diversitat/Geelong Interfaith Network put on a welcome ceremony and lunch for international students to the local university and TAFE colleges and also to welcome new skilled migrants. As part of the Interfaith Network and Diversitat Peceli and I were invited to join with a host of local people and international students at City Hall from 11.30 a.m. today. As we arrived boys from St Joseph's College band were playing. As usual in Geelong, the start of the formal program included an Aboriginal speaker and recognition that we are on Wathaurang land.

It was a lovely occasion with warm welcoming speeches, good food and the chance to greet and talk with many new students who have come from diverse cultural groups and countries - China, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, England, Uganda, Sudan, and even two girls from Mexico. I asked the Mexican girls why they came so far away from their homes, and the response was that the world expert in their topic of study is at Deakin in Geelong! One consistent response to my questions was about learning the English language as many of the new students either had English as their second language, or not even that, so had to learn 'academic' English to write their papers! Here are some of the photos Peceli and I took today.

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