31st March 2011
Margaret shines as Northern Ireland’s International Student of the Year
A Ghanaian student at Queen’s University, who describes Belfast as ‘her second home,’ has been named Northern Ireland’s International Student of the Year.
Margaret Mary Nimoh, who is studying for a PhD in Chemical Engineering, is now preparing to challenge for the title of overall International Student of the Year 2011at the national final in London on 13 April.
She was one of more than 1,200 students from 118 countries to enter the ninth annual Shine! International Student Awards – a major initiative from the British Council that shines the spotlight on international students and their contributions to life in the UK.
Entrants were asked to write 'letters home' in English, describing their experiences, the challenges they have faced, and what they have achieved. In her letter, Margaret highlighted how coming to Queen’s has helped her to develop her leadership skills.
She said: “Some students came together to form Queen's International Students Society (QISS) and I was the founding chairperson! I have really learnt a lot from this. Apart from meeting students from practically all over the world my leadership skills have also been really developed.”
Margaret, who also carries out voluntary work for the Ulster Cancer Foundation and visits local schools as a Queen’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) ambassador, said she is having the time of her life in Belfast.
She said: “Moving away from home was a very difficult decision for me. I had to leave my mum, siblings, boyfriend and my dog behind, but I am very glad I came to Queen’s. My research is fascinating but also very challenging. I am based in the University’s world-leading Ionic Liquid Laboratories (QUILL), where the Director, Professor Ken Seddon, and researcher Dr John Holbrey were recently named the top two UK chemists in the world. It is a real honour to work alongside them.
“The facilities at Queen’s are amazing, and the McClay Library is one of my favourite places. The local people are also very welcoming. They are always curious to know where I am from and they'll always go an extra mile to help me find my way around. Belfast is definitely my second home!”
Congratulating Margaret, Cathy McEachern of Queen’s International Office said: “Margaret personifies all that is best in our international students, who do so much to enrich the university experience for all of us, and we wish her the best of luck in the national final next month.”
Queen’s has an excellent record in the Shine! competition. Last year American student Jordan Junge emerged as the Northern Ireland winner, while in 2007, Chinese student Yu Huai Zhang won the UK International Student of the Year title.
This year Queen’s students took the first two places in the Northern Ireland competition, with Kacie Smith from the United States taking the runner-up spot behind Margaret.