IRO holds first International Mobility Leaver’s Party after lockdown

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The International Relations Office (IRO) has successfully held the first International Mobility Leaver’s Party since the lockdown. The Leavers’ Party, which had been postponed for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, took place on 27th April 2022 at one of Bath’s most beautiful historic venues - The Roman Baths - and brought together students, staff and the Student Union.

The event, which is held annually, was organised to celebrate the end of stay at Bath for international visiting and exchange students and mark the start of study abroad preparations for University of Bath outgoing students for 2022-2023.

Opening the event, the International Mobility Coordinator for Outgoing students, Rockhill Focho, who hosted the night said that the Leaver’s Party is an exciting opportunity for international visiting and exchange students to socialise with other international students, reflect on their experiences at Bath and get to know University of Bath outgoing students planning to study at their home university. He added that it is also an opportunity for the outgoing students to meet with other students and make friends with international visiting and exchange students currently studying at Bath who will be returning to their home institutions in the forthcoming academic year.

The evening was marked by speeches which, amongst other things, touched on the great achievements of the international mobility programme at Bath and the importance of fostering global connections.

In her welcome remarks, the Director of International Relations, Lily Rumsey, said “As we emerge out of the pandemic and the UK Government Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted, it is so wonderful to be able to host an in-person event that enables us to celebrate with students, academic and professional service colleagues our vibrant global opportunities that are so pivotal to the transcultural fibre of University of Bath degree.” She expressed hope that the international visiting and exchange students have enjoyed their time in Bath, and wished good luck to the University of Bath students leaving for their year abroad in the months to come. “We hope to hear all about your international mobility experience”, added Lily.

On his part, the Departmental Exchanges and Assistantships Director, Steve Wharton, exalted the students by saying the fact that “you are all here is testament to your desire to be international: to go beyond, to engage with different cultures and learning experiences as part of your programmes.” Dr. Wharton also said that despite Brexit, the University remains committed to the principles of cooperation, understanding and exchange between nations exemplified by the students’ participation in our partnerships across the globe.

Speaking to incoming students, the Student Union President, Annie Willingham said “I hope you have created some wonderful memories, made friends for life and have enjoyed your time here. I wish you all a safe return to your home countries and please do stay in touch as you will always been members of the University of Bath community.” To the outgoing study students, the SU President reminded them of the exciting times that lie ahead. “I hope you will have a wonderful time, take the opportunity to embrace a new culture, make new friends and engage with your host universities” she added. She also reminded the students not to forget the amazing support systems at Bath and their host universities that are there to help them.

Photo competition

A major highlight of the evening was the annual Photo Competition for Erasmus+, Exchange and Visiting Students wherein students were invited to submit photos that represented their semester abroad in the UK and at Bath. The theme for this year’s competition was “My time at Bath”.

The International Mobility Coordinator for incoming students, Florencia Migone, who organised the photo competition said “we had some lovely submissions of historical landmarks at Bath, travel photos and some funny group photos of our students. All of them were amazing and showed the wonderful time our students had at Bath.” Out of the 87 photos submitted, five were preselected and displayed for final voting during the Leaver’s Party. Amidst rousing applause from students, Florencia Migone announced the winners of the Photo Competition who received awesome prizes specifically selected to remind them of their semester abroad at Bath.

Top winners

1st Prize - Javiera Díaz (from Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Chile)

2nd Prize - Juliette Carroué (from Universite Lumiere Lyon 2, France)

3rd Prize - Tea Giraldo (from Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain)

Javiera Díaz won the first prize in the Photo Competition

Students and staff enjoyed complimentary drinks and canapés during the two-hour event, whilst interacting with each other and voting for their favourite photo in the photo competition.

One outgoing student said “I quizzed the students from Singapore on what life is like in their home country and we have arranged to meet up when I begin my study abroad. It should be a great start to my study abroad in Singapore!”

Incoming student from ISC Paris, Baptiste, said he has made some good friends at Bath and “this (Leavers’ Party) was one of the best activities during my stay at the University. I have had such a great time in the UK.”

The event was a brilliant reminder of the University of Bath’s commitment to internationalisation and putting students at the centre of opportunities.

Commendations to Rockhill Focho and the rest of the IRO Mobility Team for organising and running the event, giving students and staff a fantastic evening to mark the occasion in a beautiful setting.

Finally, the IRO team would like to thank all of those who attended and made the event such a wonderful and exciting evening and the brilliant staff at the Roman Baths and Searcy.

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