Students celebrate diverse cultures and challenge government on net migration figures

  • Students celebrated diverse backgrounds and cultures at International Cultural Evening 2018
  • Celebrations marked the 50th anniversary of the International Students Committee (ISC) at Sheffield Students’ Union
  • The University of Sheffield and its Students' Union called again on UK government to remove international students from net migration figures

Wanlin dance school presenting a traditional dance

Students at the University of Sheffield have celebrated their diverse backgrounds and cultures at an event to mark the 50th anniversary of the International Students’ Committee (ISC) at Sheffield Students’ Union.

At the International Cultural Evening, held at Sheffield City Hall last weekend (10 March 2018), the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Students’ Union urged the UK government to remove international students from net migration figures.

They joined together to call on the government to recognise in word and deed the vital economic, cultural and social contributions that international students bring to the UK.

During the International Cultural Evening, students brought their cultures to life through dance, music and drama with the theme ‘Embracing Our Place in the World. The concert finished with a solidarity parade, which featured students waving flags from their home countries and cultures.

Santhana Gopalakrishnan, International Students’ Officer at the University of Sheffield Students’ Union, said: “The International Cultural Evening has been running for 46 years, and it is a very important event in our calendar where our international students are given the opportunity to showcase their cultures.

“In the current political climate, there are many things said out there about us as international students studying in this country - cash cows, immigrants etc. But events such as the International Cultural Evening show to everyone that we are just human beings with a colourful history, human beings who work in the UK’s hospitals, universities and businesses. We have volunteered for more than 140 Sheffield charities, add new perspectives, food and cultural opportunities to this country."

Tamil Society collecting their Best Performance award

To mark the end of the evening, the Tamil Society at Sheffield Students’ Union was awarded ‘Best Performance’ while the Indian Society was also honoured for its performance.

Congratulating the students and staff who were involved in the event, Professor Gill Valentine, Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sheffield said: “I was honoured to be involved in the International Cultural Evening and to see the energy and talents of our students. The University of Sheffield has always been proud to welcome international students and all around the world you will find our graduates who made Sheffield their home for a while. I am very proud that the University has worked so closely with the Sheffield Students’ Union to continue speaking up for our international students and staff in public, and to work for them behind the scenes, because the University of Sheffield is international to its core, #WeAreInternational.”

A report, published earlier this year, revealed spending by international students has become a major factor in supporting cities across the country and that the Sheffield Central constituency is the area that benefits most.
The analysis found the 2,456 international students who started their studies in the Sheffield Central constituency in 2015/16 will contribute £226 million each year to the economy during their studies - equivalent to £1,961 per constituent per annum in the constituency.

International students also make huge contributions to the diversity of higher education in the UK and can enhance the experience that British students have at university. The International Students Committee at the University of Sheffield’s Students’ Union represent the welfare issues of international students and their dependents. Students involved in the committee organise activities that promote and celebrate international culture at the University of Sheffield including annual events including an World Food Festival, World Week and the International Cultural Evening. It also works to integrate home and international students into one student community.

Additional Information

The University of Sheffield

With almost 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2017 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


For further information please contact:

Sean Barton
Junior Media Relations Officer
The University of Sheffield
0114 222 9852