Celebrating Diversity

Our alumni community is made up of more than 180,000 people living in 183 countries around the world, and more than 6,000 students from outside the UK studied with us in 2018/19. We are proud to be a global institution made up of a diverse mix of students, staff and alumni.

Across our Exeter and Cornwall campuses thereare 48 international and cultural societies. They help international students stay connected to their home nations, celebrate different cultures and educate the student community.

Just a few of the groups represented include the African and Caribbean Societies, Asian Societies, Chinese Society, European Society, Ghanaian Book Connection, Japanese Society, Latin American Society, Singapore Society, South African Society and

the Turkish Society.

Societies run a range of activities throughout the academic year

including socials, educational talks and sporting events. Some are well established; the Russian Society has been meeting since 1957 for example, while others like the Arab Society in Penryn were only set-up a couple of years ago.

The Azerbaijani Society is one of the smaller international societies that was founded in 2009. Current Society President Alish Niftaliyev said: “Our aim is to represent Azerbaijan at the University of Exeter and to raise awareness about culture and history of Azerbaijan. We also want bring more people together and create an environment where everyone feels comfortable and not isolated because of differences in culture.

“Being part of the society has made my time at Exeter more

useful and enjoyable because it is great to spend your time with

people from different cultures and you get a lot of interesting

information. I particularly like it when we have a stall in the

university where people come by to learn more – I love to answer their questions on Azerbaijan.”

The Hong Kong Public Affairs and

Social Services Society (HKPASS)

was established in Exeter in 2011.

Around 100 members join each year to get involved in their events, the majority of whom are from Hong Kong.

Brian Wong, HKPASS Public Affairs

Officer, said: “Having international

societies available for people at

university is important as they

provide support to students from

their home country by helping

them to develop personal networks

far from home.

"They provide students of different nationalities with a comfort zone and mean that students know where they can get support if needed.

“On the other hand, students from

all around the globe get to know

more about that country through

conversations and socials. We, as

members of societies, can help

present the image of our homeland

to people of other nationalities

and provide more perspective of

opinions relating to situations, both

culturally and politically, back home.”

Alumna Andréa Hounto (History

and Politics, 2016) was President of

the African Caribbean Society on

the Penryn campus before going on to work as an Immigration Caseworker at a specialist law firm. She said: “Being in the society played a big part in my career. I think being in Penryn, which is so

different to London in terms of

demographics, made me realise the

importance of promoting diversity.

Being President during my second

year also significantly boosted my

confidence with regards to public


Victoria Stephens (Law, 2017) was one of the Founders of the Canadian Law Society and held the position of Vice-President, before being President of the society in her final year. She said: “Most of my classmates in the Graduate LLB program were international students, particularly from Canada. Though we actively participated in academic, social, mooting and pro bono activities organised by the law school and law society, and were warmly welcomed by these bodies, we felt that international law students could benefit from a group which focused specifically on their needs.

To fill this void, we created the Canadian Law Society as a resource and networking tool to help current Canadian students build key relationships with both their Canadian peers while at Exeter, and also with alumni who are practicing law in Canada.”

Anh Viet Huynh (MSc Accounting and Finance, 2013) was a member of the Vietnamese Society while at Exeter. He said: “Being part of the society kind of brought out a bit of the Vietnamese nature in me during the time I was there. Personally, I am more international than traditional Vietnamese. So being part of the society somehow reminded me of Tet (Vietnamese lunar new year), and other traditions that I almost forgot. I am still in touch with other members.

"Most of them are in Hanoi so we keep in contact via social media platforms, but some are in Ho Chi Minh City and we meet every now and then to catch up. Being part of the society brings me closer to other members, who turned out to be friends and business connections. A former member of the Vietnamese Society actually introduced me to teaching in Vietnam too.”

Societies are always interested in working with alumni volunteers. If you’d like to get involved with supporting a particular student society, please get in touch.