February 26, 2014, by offcampus

International Family Link: Ten Years Of Links

Today we’re delighted to welcome David Pinney to the blog to talk about his experiences over ten years of being involved in the University of Nottingham International Office’s International Family Link Scheme. You can read an introductory post here.

David with Hasan and Mohammed at this year's launch event

David with Hasan and Mohammed at this year’s launch event

I have enjoyed being part of the Family Link Scheme for over ten years. Each autumn I look forward to meeting two new students and sharing activities with them over maybe one year or sometimes longer. It works well with the students being in pairs.

After the initial meeting at The University of Nottingham, I try to meet ‘my students’ fairly soon afterwards. This involves a half day visit to local places and a visit to my home. The next time we meet it’s usually for a whole day a bit further afield such as in the Derbyshire Peak District. On such a day we enjoy short walks in beautiful countryside as well as visits to different villages and places of interest. Sometimes we don’t meet again as time flies and students are busy with exams or research before they return to their home countries. In some cases we do meet again for more exploration, socializing, maybe for a meal or to meet visiting relatives or friends of students. Some students bring their families here and stay on for a Ph.D..

I am still in touch with some friends who were students in the Scheme ten years ago. It is fascinating to see what becomes of them.

Through the Scheme, I have

  • met new people from different backgrounds and with different life experiences
  • made new friends and laughed together
  • learnt about the geography and cultures of different countries
  • learned about Islam; I now carry a compass in my car for prayer times.
  • enjoyed discovering parts of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire through the eyes of visitors
  • been proud to show new friends around my own area
  • discussed topics totally new to me as well as things we have in common
  • been invited to homes in the UK and enjoyed food from new countries
  • learned about academic areas totally new to me
  • celebrated the amazing variety that exists within human experiences
  • discovered that some visitors know much more about UK history than I do
Hasan and Mohammed at Hermit's Cave, Dale Abbey

Hasan and Mohammed at Hermit’s Cave, Dale Abbey

In November this year I enjoyed exploring my home area with Mohammed and Hasan from Iraq. After coffee and mince pies at my home, we visited the picturesque village of Dale Abbey, enjoying lunch at the Carpenters Arms PH. We then walked to the Abbey Arch and the Hermit’s Cave. Later on we visited Trent College in Long Eaton before finishing with the fairground lights and sounds of the Chestnut Fair in the town. This week we have met again to catch up on news from each of our travels over the holiday period.

Posted in Guest blog