Over 260 students have returned after representing the University of Newcastle at the Australian University Games and Australian University Rowing Championships.
The games were held on the Gold Coast last month and involved some of the best Australian university athletes, including 2012 World Junior Hurdles Champion, Michelle Jenneke (Sydney University), and London Olympic Gold Medallist (Swimming), Melanie Schlanger (Bond University).
A number of our international students chose to participate in the Games this year, with the Beach Volleyball and Badminton teams made up entirely of international students.
Aileen Pohl, a software engineering student on exchange from Germany, said taking part in the games was the best experience she has had while studying in Australia.
“We don’t have anything like this at home.
“In Germany volleyball is a popular sport, but it was fantastic to be able to come here and play it on the beach,” Aileen said.
She especially enjoyed the opportunity to represent the University, make new friends and learn about other Australian sports.
Aileen and her teammate Leandra Savonije from The Netherlands (pictured) brought home gold.
Fritz Lai, a PhD student, also took part in the games for the second year as part of the Badminton team, one of the favourite sports in Malaysia where he comes from.
Fritz was already playing at the local Hunter Badminton Club a few nights a week when he heard about the University Games and jumped at the chance to play a sport he loves and represent the University.
He believes it is a great opportunity for international students to make new friends and that it can easily be balanced with study.
“Joining these clubs help to get us all involved as a team together.
“For some of the students [on the team] it was their first time at the Uni Games. We bonded and showed support for one another both on and off the court.
“I would definitely encourage more international students to get involved,” Fritz said.
For more information about the University Games, visit www.unisport.com.au