They say charity starts at home, but Notre Dame’s international students have brightened the lives of total strangers in a country they are only visiting to study.
At the end of each academic year, we ask those students who are heading back home overseas to pass on any clothes, books or other items they no longer need, so that we can re-distribute or recycle them. In the past we’ve had clothes, text books, calculators and even a bicycle! But this year has been different because these students have left us much earlier than expected, and because the need for food items has never been greater.
The response of our international students has been fantastic, with some spreading the word and collecting from other students in their halls. In addition to an overwhelming amount of food, we’ve also received clothing, toiletries and books, all of which can be passed on to support people in our community. These donations have been sent to St George’s Crypt, and have also swelled the collections at supermarkets including Tesco and Sainsbury’s.
One of our students has even offered to donate FFP3 and a FFP2 masks to the NHS because her mother in Shanghai has read about how scarce resources are here.
Ms Rose Lou, Head of International Students said, ‘I wanted to give these students a thumbs up and thank them for showing the spirit of Stella Maris! In a time when many people are struggling, the generosity of these young men and women is a wonderful thing to see.’
Ms Lou also pointed out that some of the same students who’ve shown such kindness are now struggling to get home because of flight cancellations and border closures. The International Students Department has been trying to help but there are a few students who are still in Leeds, far from their family and friends. To support them, Ms Lou will be dropping off essential supplies, such as noodles, fruit, and – very importantly – Easter eggs. She asks, ‘If an international student was in your class, please take the time to reach out and send a message or email to say hello. Let them know they are still part of our college community and that we are thinking of them.’