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Page last updated at 14:05 GMT, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 15:05 UK
Students add to cosmopolitan city
BBC Leicester presenter John Florance
By John Florance
Presenter, BBC Leicester

A student talking to a lecturer
University can be a culture shock for many international students

Leicester is a cosmopolitan city and every September it becomes even more so.

This is the time of the year when students from all over the world come to study at our local universities.

During Freshers' Week new students started the process of settling in to academic life.

For many foreign students, this represents a real culture shock and they need welcoming, support and a sense of belonging.

This is where the universities' chaplaincy teams come in.

Every year at the end of September the University of Leicester hosts an International Welcome Week for new international students.

The Welcome Week is an opportunity to help them, settle in and give them some of the information and skills they will need to live in the UK.

Welcoming students

Fr. Peter Hunter, Acting Chaplaincy Co-ordinator and Roman Catholic Chaplain at the University of Leicester told me about the work that he and his fellow chaplains do.

He said that for at least some of them, language could be an initial difficulty.

And whilst most could be directed to the local worship buildings of their various faiths they might have to get used to a very different style of worship or service.

For some, indeed, no faith building is available and then it's down to putting students who share a faith in touch one with another.

Someone to listen

Fr. Peter emphasised that chaplains were there for students of all faiths and none.

He worked virtually full time at the chaplaincy and was there to provide a listening ear and help of whatever kind is required whenever it is needed.

Becoming acclimatised to student life can be difficult for anyone. But for overseas students it is often doubly difficult.

It is good to know that there is a multi-faith presence at our universities ready to smooth the way and lend a helping hand!

Meanwhile, welcome to all those students who have come from abroad to make a home in the city and county for the three or more years of their courses!

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