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Asia Immersion Program wins International Student Award

UOW's cultural outreach with Shoalhaven school students comes up trumps.

The University of Wollongong (UOW) and Bomaderry High School Asia Immersion Program has been named a winner at the NSW International Student Awards.

The awards organised by Study NSW and hosted at Government House in Sydney on Friday (22 September), celebrated the outstanding contributions international students make to their communities and the State.

A team of UOW international students were recognised following the success of their regional Asia Immersion Program with Bomaderry High School in the Community Engagement category by an Education Provider.

The students from a diverse range of Asian countries, deliver the outreach program across six schools in the Shoalhaven area. The Program’s aim is to foster intercultural respect, understanding and communication between young regional Australians and international students from Asia.

Each year, groups of UOW international students of Asian descent spend three full days with staff and students at Bomaderry High and Bomaderry Public School, Kangaroo Valley Public School, Cambewarra Public School, Berry Public School and Shoalhaven Heads Public School.

The international students provide the school students and teaching staff with insights into the language, society, economy, historical and political backgrounds of their countries, as well as interactive cultural experiences such as food tasting, origami, calligraphy, painting, dance and language. In return, the international students gain exposure to the Australian education system and society.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Joe Chicharo, congratulated the international student team for the significant impact they have had on the Shoalhaven community.

“It’s wonderful to see our international students going out into these schools and sharing their wealth of knowledge with students who would never otherwise have any exposure to such a broad range of Asian cultural practices.

“The presentation of this accolade highlights the importance of making and strengthening these community connections. Immersion into new cultures is such an enriching opportunity and it’s important to broaden the younger generation’s perspective and open their eyes to global educational and work opportunities available,” Professor Chicharo said.

The Asia Immersion Program is a successful mutually beneficial partnership with Bomaderry High School and has broken down barriers, nurtured new relationships and helped cultivate positive attitudes between international students, the local community and our Asian neighbours.

As a result of this program, students who attend these partner schools in the Shoalhaven now study an Asian culture each year.

The NSW International Student Awards were hosted by His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d), Governor of NSW at Government House who is pictured with the UOW Asia Immersion Project team.

Image courtesy of: @SaltyDingoMedia