Earlier this year there was a special event that Adelaide’s international students were eagerly waiting for. The Lord Mayor’s 2012 Welcome reception for International Students was held at the iconic Adelaide Town Hall.
The event was hosted by the Lord Mayor of Adelaide, Hon. Stephen Yarwood. Incidentally, he had been an international student himself in Japan. He had also researched and/or lectured in Australia, Denmark, USA, Canada, New Zealand, India, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. So, in my personal opinion, he was the best person to talk to the international students as he also had the same experience of being away from home.
I was very excited about the event as this was the first time I was going to work with the StudyAdelaide team and the fellow student ambassadors. We arrived in the Town Hall around 2pm on that day to set up the place. By 5.30pm everything was completed and we were ready to start the event.
The international students started to arrive in the town hall one by one. Soon there were hundreds of students streaming into the town hall. In the end there were around 700 international students gathered to take part in the ceremony.
The Lord Mayor was already standing at the doorway together with Denise Won Wald, the Study Adelaide Chief Executive to welcome the students streaming into the Town Hall. Meanwhile, “Wasabi” the famous cover band was playing some popular Acoustic Rock Songs on the stage that made all the international students start tapping their toes to the rhythm.
Next there was a” Kaurna” ceremony as part of the welcome. Kaurna tribesmen are the traditional inhabitants and custodians of the Adelaide Plains. This tribal dance was performed by Mr. Karl Telfer and a group of small kids. Karl Telfer is an Adelaide born Kaurna tribesman. He is also the Chairperson of the Kaurna National Cultural Heritage Association and founder of the Paitya Dance Group in Adelaide. The troupe performed a unique tribal dance, while Karl was explaining every bit of the ritual in fluent English. That was a new experience for all the international students who learned many aspects of the Kaurna tribe and their rituals. All the international students were clicking their cameras to take photos of this Kaurna ceremony.
Next was the Lord Mayor’s welcome speech, the most waited moment of the evening. He was honest, jovial and casual when he was speaking. He told all the students that they were not alone in Adelaide as there were many events to enjoy, many people to get to know, and many reasons to love to live in Adelaide. It is amazing that the Lord Mayor of Adelaide actually spent some time to meet each one of the international students regardless his busy schedule. Then came the most exciting moment for the six international student ambassadors. We were introduced one by one and called to the stage to take photographs with the Lord Mayor.
There were also two staff members of the Gorge Wildlife Park Team present in the town hall. They were carrying two cute koalas in their arms. The koalas reminded me of my soft toys I played with when I was a kid. All the international students lined up to touch and feel their soft fur. This was an amazing experience for the international students as they had never seen koalas before, yet again they were allowed to pat them and take photos with them. Almost all the international students took the opportunity to pose for photographs with the koalas.
Finally, the StudyAdelaide team put up the photos they took throughout the day on the display. These photos will surely be the souvenirs of a memorable and a fabulous day.
At the end of the day, I was pretty sure that all the international students had met many new friends from their own countries as well as from other countries. This was a great event for all the international students as they were able to realize that they were not the only ones who were studying away from home. Now they know for sure that they are not alone. No wonder that all international students fell in love with Adelaide as soon as they come here even though it is far away from home.