Meet Dunya Al-Ruhaimi. Dunya is from Iraq and was awarded an International Student Award in 2015. She came in to Australia in 2013 and studied a Master in Education at the University of New England, Armidale. When she moved to Australia with her husband and her two kids, she was warmly welcomed by her university’s international student office. She is now working as the Project Officer at the International Student Hub, University of New England.
Dunya recently won the international alumni pie award of 2017 and the study hub got the study NSW international student award of 2017
I was proud to meet Dunya at the CISA 2017 conference and approached her on sharing her story. One of the things that struck me with Dunya’s story and her journey as an International postgraduate student is her zealous attitude towards caring for the international community even whilst studying and her tenacious efforts at making the International community in Armidale feel welcomed and involved with Australian culture. Hopefully this inspires you.
Dunya Al-Ruhaimi is influenced by her mum’s perspective on the importance of education as it is a powerful tool for everyone especially women and their families. She feels education is a passport for living a good life. Unfortunately, Dunya’s mum passed away in her fourth year as an undergrad. Dunya was inspired by her mum especially with community engagement and helping others. She was very much interested with the women community in Armidale, NSW and she sought diverse ways to create a safe space for these women, children and their family.
Volunteering Activities as a Student
While being a student, Dunya was interested in international women in the community especially those who were not students and could not access the community because of cultural barriers and language limitations. As a mother and wife, she understood the possible challenges women face. She sought ways to provide a platform for the women and their families to engage with the community and interact with other women in the community. She established an International ladies group for students’ spouses where they meet and interact. Dunya volunteered as an interpreter with Arabic women in many doctor appointments, child care consultations and a host of many other needs. Dunya devoted her time in the Arabic community by assisting Arabic speakers to cope with the ELC learning system (essay writing). Dunya was not just interested in helping those from her own community, she also helped new international students settle down in Australia. In 2014, Dunya helped parents to be able to understand the Australian School system through a programme called HIPPY Australia. she is always glad to put a smile on people’s faces.
ABC also captured her inspiring story as part of a series of short films about international students studying in NSW which can be found here http://www.abc.net.au/local/audio/2015/09/23/4318339.htm
Activities as the Project Officer at the International Student Hub
Even after graduation, Dunya has been community focus and driven. Through the International Student Hub, she has offered three free driving lessons for International students and their families living in Armidale. For those living in a small city as Armidale, with limited choices of public transport, owning a car and getting your licence is very essential. Dunya feels that driving lessons are very essential as the road rules are a lot different in many countries.
Also, through the International Hub, Dunya has engaged in offering a weekly english lesson classes for International Students, positive parenting programs, water awareness programs for mums and kids, closed fitness classes for International ladies and mix aerobics class for men and women amongst many others.