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The immense value of building an inclusive International Community

Written by: Tonari Arikekpar, UPSU President


As the President of the University of Plymouth Students' Union, it gives me immense joy to reflect on the enriching experience of our International Students Meet-up event series. Over the last two months, we brought together new international students to help them adjust to life on our campus. 

The ethos behind this initiative stems from a fundamental belief - that diversity is our strength. When students from various cultural, ethnic, and national backgrounds come together, the intermingling of perspectives, ideas, and experiences creates a vibrant ecosystem of learning and growth.  

The meet-up enabled us to practically live by this belief. Whether it was the insightful information sessions, fun icebreakers, or lively cultural exchange evenings, the interactions shaped the beginnings of a thriving international community. What stood out prominently was the eagerness among students to learn about each other's cultures. 

Beyond forging social bonds, the meet-up also equipped students with valuable skills to excel academically and adjust to everyday life in Plymouth. By providing essential information and a space to voice concerns, we empowered students to navigate their academic journey. Students particularly appreciated the chance to learn about university resources, gain insight from peers, and bond over shared experiences. The workshops boosted their confidence to access campus services for academic, career and mental wellbeing needs. 


‘The international students' meet-up is a vibrant and diverse gathering that fosters cultural exchange and friendship among students from around the world. For me it felt like a melting pot of ideas, languages, and traditions, creating a unique atmosphere of unity, and understanding which fosters a sense of global community within the university campus.’ – Zeinur Bimukhan, attendee


The highlight for me was witnessing intercultural bonds blossom through the sharing of experiences, perspectives, and traditions. From orientation icebreakers to farewell celebrations, the meet-up paved the way for lasting connections.  

The success of this meet-up illustrates that when we work together, we have the power to profoundly impact the lives of our fellow students. I am honoured to have established this event that will now become a legacy for building an inclusive home for international students, each year. 

We hope the International Meet-up serves as a shining example and inspires each of you to find ways to enact the change you wish to see. Together, let us make our university community more vibrant, collaborative, and welcoming for all. 



Are you an international student at Plymouth and want to make a difference to your university experience? Do you want to be kept in the loop with news, events and campaigns that are relevant to you? Would you like to meet and mingle with other international students and build a strong international community at the University of Plymouth? 

If you answered yes to any of the above then check out the International Students Network