Today we speak to a Jinal Shah who is currently is BCUSU’s Vice President Equity & Inclusion. They have made the most of every opportunity given to them whilst at university…Let’s go and meet Jinal Shah!
Hi Jinal, it’s awesome getting to chat with you today! Please tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi, I am an international student from India and it’s been 2 amazing years studying with Birmingham City University. I started my journey by doing a foundation in Birmingham City University International College in 2018.
As an international student, I had no idea about anything at all, but BCUIC staff members have been my backbone. I was a student representative at BCUIC. My role was to figure out what kind of issue students are facing in our campus and taking that issues to the authorities to solve the problems, after this role my life changed.
I have also actively handled @bcuic_students Instagram page, helping students to engage in university’s activities by updating students about the activities going on our campus.
When I was handling social media of BCUIC official page, I also gained so much knowledge about our university, as well as I, was exploring other campuses as well just to update students what is happening in which campus.
I discovered that whatever voluntary work I am doing; I had proof that besides studies I have actively taken part in extra curriculum activities by registering to Graduate+.
Graduate+ has helped me to develop skills which will stick with me lifelong.
How many of our award levels have you completed & how long did it take for you to complete these?
Graduate+ have 4 stages Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. I completed my Graduate+ Platinum award in my 1st year and 1st semester of university.
We heard that you were a student ambassador and created a society for international students. Tell us more about your experience?
I started getting more involved to distract myself to feel less homesick as well as to freshen up my mind from studies. I became student ambassador, where I helped our new international students during orientation by showing them around campus as well as helping them throughout the week if they get stuck. Also, during the orientation week, I have actively helped staff members to enrol students of BCUIC.
At this stage I already achieved my Bronze award from Graduate+. Furthermore being a foundation student, I figured out that we have lack of knowledge about what is happening in the university and what services we get from university and student union so, I decided to have our own society so that we can engage our foundation students in the university.
Our society is educational society as foundation students struggle to upload assignments as most of the student are international students hence, they have different style and methods in their home country.
We launched our society in September 2019, through the students vote I became the first President of BCUIC society as well as I was Secretary of Italian Society.
Also, I was part of a campaign team where I was representing a student who was standing for student union election which gave me an opportunity to apply for a silver award from Graduate+.
You spoke to us about volunteering at BCU. What experiences did you have & what did you gain from undertaking it?
Getting involved in volunteering work have always helped me to grow and improve myself as an individual. I gain confidence in public speaking when I hosted One World day at BCU, it made me realize that even though English is not my first language all I need is passion and confidence.
It’s up to each and every individual to decide how their student experience should be at university and I choose to be proactive and a student which I have achieved by balancing my studies and extra curriculum activities which is reflecting in my CV.
My aim was always to achieve Platinum award from Graduate+ so I decided to take as many opportunities I can. In January 2020, I was Buddy Captain of the blue team. My role was to work closely with staff members and update them regarding international orientation week as well as leading the whole team. According to International office, from last 4 years yellow team was the winning team but this time blue the team was the winning team as well.
I got awarded by our Lord Mayor of Birmingham and Professor Clare Mackie who is our Deputy Vice-Chancellor as Buddy’s buddy award and Buddy of the year award.
Finally, you are now officially the Vice President Equity and Inclusion, what does the role entail?
I got elected in the Student Union as a Vice President Equity and Inclusion. In this role, a student can take a year off from their studies and become a sabbatical officer for the one whom year as it is a full-time job.
I choose to be proactive in university so that when I graduate from BCU I don’t have any regrets that I have missed anything.
Jinal is a true example of the incredible and life changing experiences you can have when you begin your journey at BCU. We wish her good luck for his future endeavours. If you’d like to tell us about your journey you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to chat with us further!