Undergraduate, Rose Melissa Ilboudo 24, has been announced winner of the British Councils International Student Awards, ‘Shine! 2010’. The awards, were hosted in London on April 21 by BBC presenter Konnie Huq, and saw Melissa presented with her prize. Melissa was one of 1,300 students, from 120 countries who entered the prestigious awards. Her time at the University of East Anglia has seen her help raise more than £200,000 for her home country alongside Christian Aid, attend the Copenhagen Conference as a delegate for Burkina Faso, and even meet President Obama. Melissa; who is in her third year of a degree in International Development, was shortlisted for the final stage of the awards after submitting a letter to her uncle which described her time as a UEA student.
Christine Bateman who represented the British Council on the final judging panel said: “All of the judges were inspired by Melissa’s story. It is always humbling to hear how students have used the opportunities presented to them by their time studying in the UK to help bring about positive benefits for their communities, either here in the UK or back home. Melissa’s own story is particularly so, having arrived in the UK with very little English and having worked so hard to campaign successfully for Burkina Faso . She is justly proud of her country, and her country has reason to be equally proud of her. She is a shining ambassador.”
When asked of the influence the award had on her, Melissa said it “highly influenced my life, I am even more determined today to continue. When something unexpected happens it makes you realise that indeed nothing is impossible”. Ben Jones, Melissa’s academic advisor spoke about her achievements and what it meant for the DEV: “What struck me most about the awards ceremony was the modesty, thoughtfulness and generosity of spirit with which Melissa accepted the award. Melissa is a real credit to the school, the university and the community of international students who choose to study in the UK.
Melissa is an example of an international student who has truly embraced her experience in the UK. The recognition gained through the Shine! award is well deserved and shows the importance of international students contributions within the UK. Well done and keep up the great work Mel :).