DUELI (Deakin University English Language Institute) turns 21 this year, and on Friday 6 September they celebrated the exciting milestone with a festival of music, art and food from across the globe.
DUELI provides Deakin’s English language services, as well as an important pathway into Deakin award courses and a unique internship program that has provided a paid internship to over 120 students over the past three years.
Deakin Burwood Campus’ Central Precinct was transformed into a global showcase of colourful decorations, artwork and flags for Friday’s celebration. Guests were treated to music and dance performances from around the world, with audience participation encouraged and enjoyed.
Stalls representing different countries and regions surrounded the performances, offering games and activities, delicious snacks and the chance to engage in unique cultural experiences. Whether it was learning origami or the chance to receive unique henna hand art, the large crowd were spoilt for choice.
DUELI Director Ben Stubbs has seen the institute grow impressively in both size and reach during his time there.
“Currently, DUELI has 6000+ enrolments a year; by comparison, back in 2004 we had around 800,” said Ben, reflecting on his time with DUELI.
“DUELI now has students from over 80 countries, with 86% of all commencements going on to a Deakin degree,” he continued.
Yuki Maeda is a former DUELI student and is now working at DUELI.
“There’s been performances from places like Africa, Japan and Korea. And booths from all over the world,” Yuki said of the event.
What is immediately evident is that this event is as much a celebration of the bonds that people form through DUELI as it is the longevity of the Institute itself.
“Of course, we can practice English there. But there’s also many events where we can make friends from foreign countries. Every day is fun, and every teacher is so kind,” continued Yuki.
Yuki’s sentiment was further reflected by Hiruni Rashmika – a current DUELI student – who also spoke of the friendships she has found through DUELI.
“It’s been a great experience [at DUELI]. I’ve made a lot of friends from different countries. They’re so friendly, and so are DUELI staff,” said Hiruni.
“I’d definitely recommend DUELI to my friends,” added Hiruni, who was also volunteering at the 21st birthday celebration.