University launches football sticker campaign to celebrate international students

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University of Sheffield launches football sticker campaign to show support for international students
Staff and students create and share their own custom-made football stickers telling stories of international friendships at UK universities
Initiative part of #WeAreInternational campaign which celebrates huge contribution international students bring to the UK

Staff and students from the University of Sheffield are demonstrating their support for international students by creating their own football stickers as part of a new campaign launched this week.

The campaign, called Sticking Together, is seeing people from across the University create and share their own custom-made football stickers with each one displaying a story about their closest international friendships.

The stories shared on the stickers illustrate the diverse range of strong global friendships that exist throughout the University and the positive impact these friendships have on the lives of people studying and working in higher education.

Staff and students at universities across the UK are also demonstrating their support for international students by creating their own stickers for the campaign.

The campaign’s stickers are being shared on social media using the hashtag #WeAreInternational. Anyone interested in sharing their own story of international friendship can create their own sticker by visiting: http://www.weareinternational.org.uk/sticking-together/

The initiative has been launched as part of the #WeAreInternational campaign, which celebrates the huge contribution that international students bring to the UK and urges the UK’s government to reinforce this in word and deed through positive policies and rhetoric

Launched by the two Presidents of the University of Sheffield and its Students’ Union in 2013, the #WeAreInternational campaign is now supported by more than 160 universities and organisations across the UK and highlights the importance of diverse international student and staff communities in higher education.

Peggy Lim, #WeAreInternational Project Officer, said: “Sport is a great way of uniting people from different walks of life. The FIFA World Cup brings together the greatest footballing talent from across the globe and, in a similar way, our universities unite some of the sharpest minds from around the world.

“To celebrate the fact that our universities remain diverse and inclusive communities of international scholarships, open to students and staff from across the world, we want to show how we are ‘sticking together’ by sharing our stories of international friendship and collaboration.”

She added: “International students and staff are not only crucial to this country’s economy and growth but they add cultural value and long lasting friendships which make this country and the rest of the world a better place.

“The #WeAreInternational campaign allows universities, students, businesses and partner organisations to say what must be heard – and amplified – around the world and we urge the UK government to recognise the vital economic, cultural and social contributions international students bring to our country both in word and deed.”

The #WeAreInternational Sticking Together campaign is set to run for the duration of the FIFA World Cup 2018 and celebrates the global friendships that are showcased at universities across the UK. The initiative also recognises the contributions that international students and staff make to the UK.

Vivienne Stern, Director of Universities UK International, said: “The UK has benefitted from the positive contributions made by international students to our campuses and our country since the middle ages

“For students, learning and living alongside others from across the world develops the intercultural awareness, confidence and adaptability which mean that they graduate with so much more than a degree. Our research and learning are made stronger through the diversity of ideas brought to us by our international student body. The connections formed when a student comes to study in the UK help our country to maintain strong international relationships.

“I am immensely proud to support #WeAreInternational. The campaign continues to draw attention to the contributions of our international students and to send a positive and welcoming message to those considering studying in the UK.”

Riddi Viswanathan, Diversity Officer and the First Full-Time International Students’ Officer Elect at the University of Manchester Students’ Union, said: “Today, when we talk about international students, conversation often revolves around expensive tuition fees, immigration issues and English language competency. But, it is campaigns like #WeAreInternational and #StudentsOfTheWorld which highlight that international students are the ones who contribute to the diversity through sports, food, culture and language.”

Riddi, who is also a member of the NUS Society and Citizenship Committee, NUS International Students’ Committee and NUS NEC, and Executive Officer of Policy Making for the National Indian Students and Alumni Union (NISAU), added: “Coming from India, I share the same enthusiasm for cricket like my friends in Britain do – there is so much diversity in the way we celebrate our wins yet a sense of commonality in how crazy we are about cricket. Diversity is what makes Britain, the ‘Great’ Britain and I am extremely happy to be involved in campaigns like #WeAreInternational and #StudentsOfTheWorld which promote and celebrate diversity.”

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