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Bangor University student shines in International Student Awards 2011.


German student Ilka Johanna Illers, who is in her second year of a BSc Ocean Science degree at Bangor University, has been named Wales’ International Student of the Year 2011 in a prestigious competition organised by the British Council.  

Johanna in the student community garden which she helped establish in BangorJohanna in the student community garden which she helped establish in BangorJohanna won the title having shared her inspirational story about life as a student in the UK and will now prepare to challenge for the title of overall International Student of the Year 2011. She is one of 12 regional winners who will gather in London in April to meet a final judging panel, before going on to have her achievements honoured in a national awards ceremony.

She said: "I was very surprised when I was notified because I had almost forgotten about the award, but I am absolutely thrilled! It is great honour to be the regional winner for Wales and it means a lot to me, especially as my entry letter was about a topic that has been important to me for quite some time. I'm looking forward to the Awards Ceremony in London, meeting other international students living in the UK."

Johanna was one of more than 1,200 students, from 118 countries to enter the International Student Awards – an initiative from the British Council that shines the spotlight on international students and their contributions to life in the UK.  To enter, each student was asked to write a personal ‘letter home’, detailing the extra-curricular achievements, including volunteering and involvement in community projects, that illustrate how they are making the most of their time in the UK. 

In her letter, Johanna gave details of her volunteering work as a Project Leader for Bangor University’s ‘Big Give’, which collected over 80 bags of clothing, food and household items last year and donated them to homeless shelters and charity shops. She also explains her part in founding a society to create an organic student community garden in Bangor as well as her role as a Nationality Equality Senator for the Students’ Union.

Johanna will receive a £1,000 prize. The ultimate winner of the International Student of the Year 2011 title will receive a £2,000 prize at the competition final, to be held in London next month.

Martin Davidson Chief Executive of the British Council, said the letters home written by the entrants were both poignant and inspiring '“The students have immersed themselves in life in the UK and are making a huge contribution not just to their campuses but to the wider community. The British Council is delighted to recognise their considerable achievements.”

Publication date: 25 March 2011