We here at UFS are a not for profit community enterprise with a long history in Bendigo and we have been a big part of the community and it’s the nature of the pharmacy industry we have been very fortunate to have a culturally diverse…people who work and study in the industry. Obviously there is a lot of value to be added in that cultural diversity space by supporting the international and local students that come through the university and work and study here in Bendigo. I guess they can contribute so much to the community and having that cultural diversity is something we should be celebrated and something we can all enjoy exploring different cultures through food and seeing different things so. We see it as adding value, it’s important to Bendigo and it’s important to us. We enjoyed supporting the festival last year, enjoyed our time seeing all the events and seeing everyone mixing and having a good time together. We will have a presence at Family Fun Day this year and we have our marquee there with health professionals there talking to people, giving advice and balloons and fun things for the kids.

We have two intern pharmacy students this year. One who is a mature age student from Egypt who worked as a pharmacist. She married had children and is now getting back into the industry so it a bit of a transition for her. And also we have another Egyptian student who had a different path, went to Canada and completed high school there and then found herself and her family here in Australia so she is completing her internship as well. So there is quite a big Coptic Christian Egyptian community in the pharmacy space here in Bendigo and I think they have a big presence here in regards to a community so they can celebrate their faith so that comfort in numbers and there seems to be quite a few of them here so maybe that’s why they choose to live here because of those connections. We offer two internships per year but we have three this year and we offered a part time one as well. And we wanted to offer that opportunity to someone who may not have had that opportunity.

Many of our former students are great at keeping in contact with us. They’ll send you an email asking how things are going and let us know how they are going. Yong, our Sudanese intern from last year who is completing his internship in Melbourne is enjoying it and doing really well. It’s always really nice to hear that they are doing well and kicking on with their career. He misses the Bendigo friendships he created but his family is in Melbourne so obviously it makes sense for him. We had a Syrian student who said she preferred to stay here and loved her time in Bendigo and made some really great friends but her mother wanted her home and wanted her to be part of that support network and I think particularly when you look at the older and younger generation we probably underestimate the support they provide that family network