Celebrating Diversity and Achievement at Dundee & Angus College ESOL Graduation

On Wednesday 29th May, Dundee & Angus College hosted graduation ceremonies at their Arbroath and Gardyne Campuses, honouring and celebrating their exceptional ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) students that captured the heart of their remarkable achievements.

The event, marked with emotion and pride was celebrated by more than 250 students from more than 30 different nationalities as they walked across the red carpet to receive their certificates in recognition of their hard work and dedication. In addition to the end-of-year achievement certificate, 42 special recognition certificates were awarded for achievements such as 100% attendance to exceptional academic performance.

Students from all over the world, from Afghanistan to Venezuela, ranging in age from 16 to 67 years old, gathered to celebrate.  Many students have come to Scotland to seek new opportunities, whilst others have found sanctuary here.  The diversity of nationalities and cultures added a vibrant and enriching element to the ceremonies.     

Each class Group Tutor paid tribute to their students, sharing anecdotes from their year together including trips to local landmarks such as the Dundee Rep, Verdant Works, Signal Tower Museum, and the McManus Galleries, as well as a trip to Stirling Castle. They also shared laughter and excitement over the many class projects and presentations they had created.

The various projects highlighted throughout the celebration, included, creating a magazine, and hosting a Multicultural Day to raise funds for the College Thrive project.  The Thrive project supports staff and students at Dundee & Angus College through tough times with a varied and innovative support system. The classes shared presentations on topics such as crime, culture, history, and community which not only enhanced their learning but bolstered a sense of shared purpose and belonging.

As they move forward, many of our students will continue their learning as they progress onto higher-level ESOL courses, whilst others will transition from the ESOL Department into full-time College courses such as Business, Social Science, Medical Studies, and Health & Social Care.  Other students are stepping out of education to pursue full-time employment with their newfound skills and confidence.

Ruslan, ESOL student, said: “I have improved my English so much since coming here, I have met some new people who are very interesting, and I have made new friends.  The atmosphere (here at the College) and having a purpose is my favourite thing about Dundee and Angus College.”

The graduation ceremony is a testament to the sense of belonging and family within the D&A College ESOL community.  The smiles and gratitude displayed by the students and the pride on the faces of their lecturers showcase the supportive and compassionate environment that has been created at Dundee & Angus College.

Elvira, ESOL student, said: “We are a family. Everyone here has made me feel very comfortable and welcome.  I am very excited about my next year in ESOL before I go on to do a course for the future.”

Nicola Weston-Gokalp, Head of Curriculum and Quality, summed up their incredible year together, she said: “It is the end of the academic year with over 250 full-time students, that means that there has been 2,100 lessons, 850 tests, over 40 class trips, 3264 break times you have enjoyed together, and more than 17,000 free bowls of soup! 

“I know that you will want to join me in thanking every one of your teachers who have used their skills, expertise and dedication to help get you here today.”

The stars of this graduation were of course the students themselves, whose stories have touched hearts and left everyone amazed by their individual journeys. Some have faced unimaginable challenges, overcoming obstacles that once seemed insurmountable. Their stories of resilience and triumph are a testament to the determination of our students and a reminder of the boundless possibility education holds.