As you may know, we are always excited to celebrate our students’ achievements and 2019 brings us happy tidings of further success. Two of our fabulous students have been awarded the Ede and Ravenscroft Anniversary Student Prize 2017/2018 for outstanding contribution to student life, building on the previous winners of our prize for 2016/2017 who you can read about here.
Each prize is worth £250, and is given in recognition of students’ outstanding contributions to student life.
The students are: Ellie McHugh and Yue Cheng
Nominated by Dr Alexia Bowler, Ellie has been a constant positive presence in Applied Linguistics at Swansea, involving herself in promoting not only our courses and the university, as one of our friendliest and most reliable ambassadors, but also the cultural life of the department: organising events, volunteering to help with organisation of trips and talks. Here’s what she had to say.
‘My name is Ellie McHugh and I am currently finishing up my postgraduate degree in TESOL. I have been a Swansea student for four years and have loved all of the experience I’ve had at the university. I was extremely surprised and grateful to have won the Ede and Ravenscroft Anniversary Student Prize for outstanding contribution. I am humbled by the award and would like to thank Alexia Bowler for nominating me.
Whilst being a Swansea University student I have tried to take every opportunity I could to gain some work experience and take on new challenges. One of the challenges I took was the creation and development of a new society. The Applied Linguistics department did not have a student society which meant that students interested or studying subjects such as English Language and TEFL/TESOL did not have a student society to participate in. I found this quite disheartening for the first two years as our course would have loved the opportunity for organised events and a platform for different year groups to mingle.
In the autumn term of 2017, a group of English Language students, Izzy Montgomery, Ellie Mahoney, Georgie Winters and myself decided to create the Applied Linguistics Society. The society has since been running for almost two years and we hope it will be taken over by a new set of students when myself and some other final year students, leave. The Applied Linguistics Society is a great way to connect the students and provides staff the opportunity to raise awareness for fantastic employability events and workshops running in the department.
Lastly, thank you very much for the award. I am very grateful to have received it after knowing some of the recent winners, Gita Kalnina and their tremendous efforts working with the university. The £250 cash prize isn’t too bad either….;)’
Yue (Sunny) Cheng (graduate of Swansea’s MA TESOL, 2017-18) is a student from Beijing in China. Sunny was nominated by Dr Federica Barbieri because of her work volunteering for Unity in Diversity (UID), a Swansea charity which offers free tuition to asylum seekers and refugees.
Sunny volunteered for the whole academic year, working 2-3 hours per week as a Teaching Assistant. She was even a Lead Teacher for classes of 10-20 students. Sunny designed and delivered lessons aimed at enabling students to have successful daily communication. She also helped in the kitchen and played with refugees’ children, completed a custom training course and became a member of Discovery (Swansea University’s student-led charity).
Sunny looks back at her volunteer experience as ‘a great decision’, and feels that she ‘got more than [she] expected when [she] first joined the charity’s teaching team’. She felt that she gained ‘a deeper understanding of the English teaching practice’ while also begin able to practise and improve her own English through her newly acquired friends (other teachers at UID). Sunny also says that through her work she became more open-minded. She said: ‘I opened my mind. People attending UID come from different countries. Through chatting with them and teaching the refugees English, I also learned about their culture. This experience makes my life colourful. In my deep heart, what I got from the volunteer activity is much more than I expected.’