I ran for Officer as I've always been a big believer in if you want something to be great, you need to put it into it yourself.
I am an International Student and I've lived abroad my whole life. Even though my Mum is British, coming to the UK was one of the scariest experiences of my whole life. I nearly dropped out in my first year and the Students' Union had a massive impact on my decision to stay. I was part of Endcliffe Community Development Committee (CDC) and I felt I'd be letting people down if I walked away. I then got involved in lots of sports clubs like swimming, waterpolo and cycling so I met lots of new people and made friends.
I'd followed from a far what previous Officer teams have done and it was inspiring to see that you could go from being a student to being somebody who was listening and making decisions. We do some great stuff at the Students' Union and the University to help International students integrate and I wanted to play my part.
Campaigning was tough. I made t-shirts and banners and spent every day campaigning. It was really important to talk to people and it helped me form my policies. I campaigned mostly on my own as my friends and flatmates were so busy. They did give me support though by feeding me and doing my washing! But I spent two weeks campaigning solidly and I missed my lectures - I'm still catching up now!
On Election Night, me and my friends found a quiet spot in Bar One, had some food and tried to relax. I was nervous but I felt acceptance. I'd put a lot of time and energy into campaigning but I couldn't change it now. I didn't think I was going to win as the race for International Students' Officer was so strong this year. When they called my name, I choked a little bit and then I can't remember anything! I've seen the video back and I gave a little speech and opened the champagne but it's just a blank! It eventually sunk in and we had a really good night celebrating with the winners and current Officer team.
There's so much to look forward next year. The Students' Union Strategic Plan is well underway and Internationalisation is massive part of that - I'm really looking forward to see what I can do it help. International Students' Committee (ISC) is a really strong committee and that will be brilliant to get involved in.
The Students' Union has helped me massively, there's always something to do. From going down to Bar One, to trying a Give it a Go, to seeing a play - just having these opportunities and this welcoming community has been so important as an International Student.