Ilyani Khalid is one of 65 international students from 23 countries who will be celebrated today at the University of Newcastle’s International Student Farewell Ceremony.

The bi-annual event is an opportunity for international students who are unable to attend graduation to be recognised for their achievements before leaving Newcastle to return home.

Yani’s journey began in 2004 when she received a Malaysian government scholarship and was accepted into the Bachelor of Medicine.

Eight years later, Yani has completed a Master in Educational Studies specialising in TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages).

She is now is preparing to leave what she calls her “home away from home”.

Yani said her studies inspired and challenged her to reach the best of her capability and potential.

“My formative years were shaped in Newcastle academically and personally,” she said.

“I have become a better person, ready to pay it forward to the community and the world with the values and integrity instilled in me.

“I remember being interviewed for my place at the University. It was daunting because a lot of senior people were there but they treated us as equals, which is something I really like about Australia.”

Yani said the friendly local community made a positive impact on her time in Newcastle.

“I had only just arrived and a group of us decided to explore Newcastle. We caught the bus to find the halal butcher in Wallsend, ending up at the plaza there eating halal kebabs.

“A man approached us and asked if we were new and welcomed us to Australia. That was the moment I felt like part of an extended family. “

The International Student Farewell will be held at 1pm today at Edwards Hall on the Callaghan campus.

Media contact: Benieke Treverton / International on 02 4921 6855 or 0404 624 969