As a respite from the end of year exams, assignments and practical placement obligations, the Student Ambassadors gathered for an informal networking on Friday evening 20th October at Uni Plaza’s Durbar Restaurant. Over the international language of food, the fellowship and fun grew.
The diverse group learnt the art of filling the crisp Nepali Pani Puri shells with potato and vegetables; learnt not to let the Dahi Puri stand too long in the sauce; how to distinguish between steamed and fried momos and how traditional customs such as using hands to eat had changed since arriving in Toowoomba.
Conversation topics ranged from the activities the students had enjoyed beyond their studies in 2023, their families, work placements, their roles as leaders in the residential colleges and community involvement. They shared information about the plans for their break and what they might experience over a Toowoomba Christmas period. Summer barbecues, Christmas lights and swimming were definitely on the list.
As well as discussing different clothing customs from feudal to colonial to contemporary times and home country language distribution with obvious pride, the group reflected on how they had carefully researched their options for studying in Australia; why they had chosen Toowoomba and whether their choice had been vindicated.
Everyone had felt a degree of trepidation about what they would encounter. An interesting observation was that the international perception that Toowoomba is more a rural centre rather than a regional city is one which could be keeping some international students from choosing this site.
Reflecting on their decision to take on a role as Ambassador for future incoming UniSQ students, the outcome for each and every one has been positive and their future holds confidence and promise in the educational embrace Toowoomba has offered.
To enhance the Study Toowoomba experience as Student Ambassadors, suggestions for 2024 were offered. The group all expressed the benefits of regular networking such as informal gatherings over a simple meal; having a calendar of community cultural and social events early in the 2024 year; working with Study Toowoomba on possible information booths or active participation in job expos and cultural festivals across the year; as well as shared costs with Study Toowoomba to explore more of the region.
With such positive contributions, the Student Ambassador program is in very good hands.