Maybe it’s because he’s an adopted Londoner: Shine! winner is ‘lucky’

A Chinese student with a passion for volunteering and London life has been named the British Council’s international student of the year.

April 14, 2011

Credit: British Council

James Xi Xu, an Italian and management studies undergraduate at University College London, was one of 12 regional finalists chosen from among 1,220 entrants from 118 different countries in this year’s International Student Awards competition, known as Shine!

Mr Xu, 23, has been a volunteering officer at UCLU, the University College London students’ union. He has also encouraged other students to set up their own projects and has undertaken summer internships for the British Red Cross, and he will help the London Olympic Organising Committee select volunteers for the 2012 games.

His “letter home” describing his experiences of living and studying in the UK was judged to be the best and the most inspiring by a panel made up of representatives from the British Council, media partner Times Higher Education, and Stephanie Tiew, a previous International Student Awards winner.

Mr Xu’s letter recounts how his time in the UK had inspired his passion for the third sector and voluntary work. “I feel really lucky to have chosen London,” he writes.

The judges’ decision was announced yesterday at an awards ceremony in London. The winners and runners-up were handed their awards by TV and radio presenter Angelica Bell, British Council chief executive Martin Davidson and BBC Radio 1 DJ Nihal.

The event was attended by all the finalists, along with representatives of their universities, further and higher education colleges and schools.

Accepting a trophy and £2,000 prize, Mr Xu said: “When I came to the UK, I found volunteering is such a big thing and that has really inspired me to help other people.

“I never expected to win tonight. When I see the achievements of the other regional finalists it makes me feel humble – I am in awe of them.”

Mr Davidson said Mr Xu had “immersed himself in life in the UK and has made a huge contribution not just to his university but to the wider community”.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Recruitment - Human Resources Office

University Of Nottingham Ningbo China

Outreach Officer

Gsm London

Professorship in Geomatics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Professor of European History

Newcastle University

Head of Department

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

As the country succeeds in attracting even more students from overseas, a mixture of demographics, ‘soft power’ concerns and local politics help explain its policy