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Meeting International Students at Heathrow

  • 350 booklets distributed
  • Programme in its 17th year
  • 10 new volunteers
During September arriving international students were aided by the Meet and Greet programme at Heathrow, in association with the Heathrow Chaplaincy.
Although the situation now is very different from when we began the Meet & Greet programme in 2001, it is clear that we still have a much needed ministry at Heathrow.
This year, having obtained information about the dates for Fresher weeks in advance, we were able to organise our programme to ensure that we covered the period when international students were arriving.
In total we handed out around 350 LIFEUK booklets, which give arriving students a practical guide to living in the UK. It was most encouraging to have 10 new volunteers this year, all of whom were helpfully able to attend the training on the first Saturday.
Members of the Heathrow Chaplaincy were so helpful and supportive. We are so grateful for their sponsorship in providing the parking concession for those volunteers who need to drive to Heathrow.
Some volunteers reported needing to use their mobiles more than in previous years, as people arrived without a UK compatible sim in their phone. It was so satisfying to be able to make contact to chase up booked cabs or enable new meeting arrangements to be made.
The first week...
was very busy, and on the Monday volunteers were vital as university groups were seriously delayed by diversions necessitated by an accident on the M4. The university reps were relieved to see our volunteers.
The second week...
continued in a similarly busy vein, with a variety of opportunities to escort students to the bus station, help some connect with their drivers, or just provide reassurance that the university groups would arrive as advertised.
The third week...
was slightly less busy, but with plenty of opportunities to give assistance. One university was not meeting students until very late in the morning, to the dismay of some of the students who had been arriving since before 6am! On these occasions our volunteers stayed longer in order to provide much needed reassurance to the students.
A number of the university staff were most appreciative of our help. Some of them were very pleased to see us again and renew contact. Some of them spoke warmly to their own teams of the contribution we are able to make.
Thank you so much to all our volunteers who have given their time to serve arriving international students.
— Sheila Arthur, Meet & Greet Coordinator

 

 

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