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University of Chester students, staff and representatives of the community came together to celebrate the achievements of our students at the Chester Difference Awards last evening (14th June).

The awards, now in their fifth year, recognised the extra-curricular and volunteering activities our students engage in during their time with us. There were a significant amount of international students receiving awards with Chakshudaa Masih (India) and Hassan Zubair (Pakistan) both delivering inspiring and poignant speeches to a large audience.

The celebrations were held at St Mary’s Creative Space in Chester city centre, a stone’s throw away from our Riverside Campus on the banks of the River Dee.

Students can qualify for an award by picking up points for engaging in activities outside of their regular academic practice. This includes part-time work, volunteering, employability training, additional short courses or being a captain or committee member of a Chester Students’ Union club or society.

As well as giving students recognition for their involvement, the Chester Difference Awards encourage students to make the most of their time here in order to enhance their future employability prospects.

There are three levels to the Chester Difference Awards: The Chester Difference Award; The Plus Award; and The Excellence Award. Each level demonstrates a huge commitment as students balance their studies with a varying amount of hours dedicated to making themselves stand out.

International students are always keen participants in the award due to the wealth of benefits associated with involvement. These include:

  • Getting involved in a wide range of activities across and outside of the University
  • Gaining and developing a wide range of skills useful to employers
  • Enhancing their CV
  • Meeting new people
  • Gaining recognition for the positive impact they make

You can find out more about the Chester Difference Award by contacting

Hassan Zubair, recipient of the Chester Difference Excellence Award said:

When I first came to the University, I wanted to really engage in the practical aspect of life in Chester as well as the academic. The Chester Difference Award gave me the perfect opportunity to boost my career prospects and make the most of my time here. I am an International Student Ambassador and this involves welcoming new students, helping them settle in and contributing to the positive experience they have at university which is really rewarding.

Chakshudaa Masih who also received a Chester Difference Excellence Award said:

Back home in India I never got the chance to get involved in extra-curricular activities, which is why I jumped at the opportunity to take part in the awards.  I’ve taken part in the Chester Internship Programme, focus groups, open days and general support activities. As an international student, taking part in all these activities helped me settle in and feel at home because I met so many friendly people who genuinely want to help and enhance my skillset.


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