Published on 30 May 2023
The UMCS Welcome Centre is the first point of contact for international students at the University and is intended to provide a welcoming and supportive environment for students from all over the world. The celebration was a chance to reflect on the significant achievements during the first year, and to recognise the hard work of everyone involved.
Dr. Dawid Kostecki, Director of the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange, the institution that funds this type of project under the ‘Welcome to Poland’ programme, was one of the specially invited guests at the event. Representatives from the University included Dr. Arkadiusz Bereza, Prof. UMCS – Vice-Rector for General Affairs, and Prof. Wieslaw Gruszecki – Vice-Rector for Science and International Cooperation. They were joined by representatives from the City of Lublin, heads of institutes and faculties at UMCS and, most importantly by some of the international students who have been the main beneficiaries.
Prof. Gruszecki highlighted the fact that the Centre had been effective from day one, providing a genuinely warm, kind and open environment for foreign students, and making a tangible difference to the lives of those students
NAWA Director Dr. Dawid Kostecki expressed his delight at being able to participate in the first anniversary of the Centre at UMCS and talked about the national Welcome to Poland programme which supports this type of project. Only two provinces in Poland currently do not have a facility like the Welcome Centre and there will be a further call for projects in the autumn with the hope of developing more successful centres like the one established by Dr. Ewelina Panas and her team at the University.
Wiktoria Herun, head of the division for cooperation with the academic community spoke on behalf of Lublin’s city authorities. As a former student, she congratulated the University on having the vision and commitment to establish the Centre and expressed her hope that it would help to further increase internationalisation rates for UMCS.
Dr. Ewelina Panas listed some of the notable achievements during the Centre’s first year, including organising more than a dozen educational and information events for foreign students and staff, as well as a series of meetings called “Business Mentoring Sessions” – which won the European Commission’s “European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2022”.
A mobile App has also been developed which is a UMCS guide to make it easier for international students and academics to settle in Lublin. In addition, a guide for foreign researchers has been created, over 30 language workshops have been held, almost a thousand pages of documents have been translated into English, and the second conference on internationalisation at UMCS has been organised. Hundreds of students and international researchers have already benefitted from the Centre and the activities associated with its establishment.
As part of the event, international students who had played an active role within the Centre received certificates to celebrate their contribution. There were also music and dance performances showcasing international culture and talent. To round off the event, a specially commissioned anniversary cake was brought into the library accompanied by the popular song “Celebration.”