AIA Buddy Program (AIABP) has been an active group within the UNE community since 2010. For over three years, our dedicated founder Sewa Emojong has been working tirelessly in developing and organising social events, and connecting students from all over the world together in Armidale. This has positively enhanced both the university and the local community.From its humble beginning, the Buddy Program has taken many leaps and bounds and started to become bigger and better as the years went on. Our array of events include: International Food and Dance Party (2011), Armidale Amazing Race (2012), AIABP Talent Showcase (2012), Rollin’ in the ‘Dale (2012), Courtyard Cooking Show (2013), Future Leaders Workshop (2013), and the highly successful ‘I Love Culture Festival’ which was held in March this year. With over 400 people in attendance, it was the biggest event we’ve had so far in the history of the Buddy Program.
With the desire to focus on her studies, Sewa (together with Prashanth Van Houten, another highly committed member of the AIABP Committee) have decided to step down from the committee as of this trimester. Despite this, she will always be someone who we can turn to for mentorship and guidance.
Though under a new leadership, our goal still remains the same. We will still thrive to create a cultural understanding between international and local students through various social events. Our present committee itself is very international, comprising of students from five different countries studying five different majors. Diversity starts with us, and it has always been interesting to have members from different backgrounds working together towards a common goal. The new committee has already had its first success organising the ‘Dinner Club’: a feast for everyone to experience international food here in Armidale. Our first Dinner Club (titled ‘Sawasdee Thailand’) was held at Happy Thai Restaurant on July 19. It was a great night with everyone trying out the scrumptious and exotic cuisine from the Land of Smile, and Happy Thai was indeed the land full of smiling faces that night. The authentic cuisine sure made everyone happy and some of us have now become their regular customers.
AIABP has come a long way since 2010, thanks largely to the support of the university, the Armidale community, and the hard work of dedicated students wanting to make a difference. We are looking forward to the next chapter of this exciting journey and things certainly look bright for us.
Keep an eye on us because we have great things in store for everyone. For more information and updates on our latest events and more, visit http://www.facebook.com/AIABuddyProgram. We can’t wait to see you all at our events in the weeks to come!