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Graduate lands three book deal

A Sunderland Journalism graduate has signed a three book deal with major publisher, Headline.

Since 2007 Glenda Young has run two Coronation Street fan websites, and has authored a number of books based on the soap. She graduated BA Journalism Studies in 2001, and recently made history when she created the first ever soap opera 'Riverside' for weekly The People's Friend.

In Glenda's first novel, Belle of the Back Streets, 15-year-old Meg finds herself taking on the rag and bone business in Ryhope to protect her family from an unscrupulous rent collector. Headline will publish in paperback in March 2019.

Glenda says: "Ever since I was a girl all I have ever wanted to do was write and tell my own stories. I am extremely grateful to Headline for finally making that dream come true and I am very excited to be working with them."

Senior commissioning editor at Headline Kate Byrne said: "I knew Belle of the Back Streets was something very special right away. Glenda has a gift for portraying a fantastic sense of period with vivid historical detail and creating engaging, nuanced characters – Meg is a wonderfully strong and resourceful heroine and I know readers will be rooting for her amidst the drama, tragedy and romance of her page-turning story."

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Glenda Young in Ryhope, where her new novels will be set - photo by Emily Pentland 

Due to urgent works, High Street West will be closed from Monday 19 February for approximately one week.

During the closure, Service 700 will be diverted via Bedford Street and John Street. 

These buses will temporarily use the Service 23 stop at Joplings and the bus stop at the end of John Street, opposite the County Court.

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Student Mentor scheme gives current students the opportunity to make a difference to young people in local schools. Your job will be to help students in Years 9-11 make informed choices about continuing their education and strive to achieve their best - in return you will receive:

  • Paid casual work
  • Flexibility of working hours to suit your timetable
  • Gain experience of working with young people
  • Personal development training (and payment for time during training
  • Free t-shirt and hoodie!

Apply now - closing date Monday 26 March

For more information contact: student.mentor@sunderland.ac.uk

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Lord David Puttnam, former Government education advisor, and Oscar winning producer of films including Chariots of Fire, The Mission, The Killing Fields and Midnight Express, has launched a unique mentoring scheme with the University of Sunderland.

The Labour peer has helped select six students he will work with over an intensive six-month period. The ‘Puttnam Scholars’ programme will involve the students in a series of interactive seminars in the course of which Lord Puttnam will set them a project to be completed in time for a special ceremony in Sunderland in July.

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Lord Puttnam commented: “For the past six years I’ve enjoyed delivering seminars at Sunderland and at other universities around the world; but I’ve always been left wondering what might have been the benefit of focusing on a much smaller group, one which I might establish closer individual relationships.

“I hope through this new scholars programme I can use my experience in film, education and politics to inform, shape and help underpin the futures of these extraordinarily bright young people. When they graduate in the summer, I’ll hope to be in a position to assist in the next stage of what I trust will be a group of glittering careers.”

The six students are:

Greg Bampalas – studying BA Photography Video and Digital Imaging

Adnan Shroufi - MSC in Data Science

Kyle Chisholm – BA Digital Film Production

Kay Donnelly - MA Photography

Noura Petridi - BA Photography Video and Digital Imaging

Arnoldas Ilgevicius - BA Photography Video and Digital Imaging

The group met with Lord Puttnam to discuss and launch the programme this week at the House of Lords.

Pro Vice-Chancellor Graeme Thompson said: “This is an amazing opportunity for our students and I know how excited they are to have been selected. Lord Puttnam has been a tremendous supporter of our university and we are delighted he has chosen to trial this new approach with us. We will be looking very carefully at the programme and monitoring the impacts this kind of mentoring has on the students and how it shapes their studies and career choices.”

Lord Puttnam was the first Chancellor of the University of Sunderland (1997-2007), and is currently working on two new film and television projects. 

L-R: Adnan Shroufi, Kyle Chisholm, Kay Donnelly, Lord Puttnam, Noura Petridi, Greg Bampalas, Arnoldas Ilgevicius

Sunderland Creative Writing Festival returns to the city in March. The Festival Director (and the University’s Academic Registrar) is Iain Rowan – he gives us a taste of some of the literary treats available from 1-29 March.

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We have headline events on writing for the stage, with Gez Casey who was Live Theatre’s Literary Manager for ten years and now teaches playwriting and works for Arts Council England. You can also discover more on turning fact into fiction with crime novelist David Mark.

An insight into writing young adult fiction is provided by Dylan Thomas Prize and Carnegie Medal nominee Matthew Crow, and author of the Half Bad trilogy Sally Green, who crashed into the Guinness Book of Records when her first novel sold into 45 different languages before it was even published. We have a workshop on writing poetry for performance with Jess Green, an all day workshop on turning ideas into plot with Laura and James from Writers’ Block, and a panel discussion on writing comedy with four great comedians.

We’re also running smaller workshops on writing dystopian fiction, writing (and recording audio drama), building character, editing, writing haiku, developing performance skills for writers, writing interactive fiction, writing for women’s magazines, writing haiku, and a ‘walkshop’ on the poetry of place.

Crime writers will be reading their work at Noir at the Bar Sunderland in the Peacock, and following the performance poetry workshop Jess Green is headlining a night at The Peacock celebrating the spoken word, with invited guests and an open mic.

The University’s talented graduates are well-represented throughout the festival, including former undergraduate and postgraduate student and New York Radio Awards gold winner –now teaching at the University – Jay Sykes, and  PhD Creative Writing student and 2017 Northern Writers’ Award winner Heather Askwith who presents ‘Writing Dystopian Fiction: No Votes for Women’ inspired by the #Vote100 events celebrating the centenary of women gaining the right to vote.

Find out more at http://sunderlandwritingfestival.co.uk – follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/@SunCWFestival.

Maths takes centre stage

Children aged five to seven years enjoyed a very unusual maths lesson this week, when dance and performing arts students brought numbers to life in performance, with their latest project, Numberbods.

The Sunderland students’ months of hard work came to fruition this week when they took to the stage at the University’s dance studio in front of an audience of children and teachers.

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Numberbods is an interactive learning experience using dance, poetry, original music and narration to engage Key Stage 1 children (aged five to seven years) with maths in a fun and memorable way.

Rachel Emms-Hobbins, Programme Leader for Dance and senior lecturer at the University, has been liaising with teachers at local primary schools, and says that the feedback from parents and teachers has been overwhelmingly positive. Numberbods follows the success of Sciencebods and is part of Learningbods – a concept which forms the basis of Rachel’s research with colleague Sarah Riach.

“Schools have told us that this model has really developed confidence in the lower end achievers with their maths skills,” says Rachel. “They’ve even told us that some of the activities our students have created in the performance, such as using their bodies to create sums using multiplication and addition signs, have translated directly in their teaching in the classroom.

“Our workshops provide teachers with warm ups and creative ideas to enhance learning.”

Students work as a professional dance company, DUSC (Dance University of Sunderland Company), in order to learn key career skills such as working as an ambassador with outside agencies, marketing their company and performances, transport and logistics, and working as a collective group.

“Schools pay for the performances and workshops, so students must learn to operate professionally, as they will in their careers beyond university,” says Rachel. “Our graduates have high levels of employment due in part to the skills they learn working as a professional company.”

In fact the schools have been so impressed by the students, that one school offered a teacher training post to one of the young dancers.

“A number of the students had never worked with children before,” added Rachel. “This experience has really brought out skills and career options many had never even considered.”


A PhD student from Sichuan University China, Jie Su, is to study in Sunderland for 12 months after becoming one of only 70 top students to win a highly competitive scholarship.

Jie is currently studying in the Joint Lab for Research and Innovation in Data Science - a collaboration between the University of Sunderland and Sichuan University - and was awarded a scholarship as part of the UK-China joint PhD Research and Innovation programme, which is funded by the British Council Newton Fund and the China Scholarship Council.

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Prof Xiaohai He, who is the PhD supervisor of Ms Jie Su at the Sichuan University and the co-director of Joint Lab for Research and Innovation in Data Science said: "I am delighted that Jie has been awarded this prestigious scholarship and has the opportunity to study under the joint supervision of Prof Peng at Sunderland. I believe that the joint supervision Jie will receive will provide her with excellent opportunities for building international collaborations and producing high-quality research."

Prof Yonghong Peng, who is the supervisor for Ms Jie Su in the University of Sunderland and the co-director of JLRI-DS, added: "It is great to hear that Jie successfully received the support from the UK-China Joint Research and Innovation Partnership Fund (Newton Fund). This will provide us with an excellent opportunity to enhance our collaboration around research and innovation as well as enable growth of long-term and sustainable partnerships between the Sichuan University and the University of Sunderland." 

Dr Linbo Qing, the deputy director of Joint Lab for Research and Innovation in Data Science concluded: "This is great news for the rapidly growing joint lab. This opportunity will enable Jie Su to build valuable international collaborations through her research. I wish her congratulations on her achievement and every success during her time at Sunderland."

Since its launch in August 2017 the Joint Lab for Research and Innovation in Data Science has so far attracted three PhD students and five MPhil students.

Twelve media and broadcast journalism students have been nominated in the this year's prestigious Royal Television Society regional awards. And with all three nominations in one category being from the University of Sunderland we're guaranteed at least one winner!

The glittering awards dinner, which annually celebrates excellence in production across all platforms, will be held at the Hilton Hotel in Gateshead on Saturday February 24. 

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Broadcast Journalism students Theofanis Pegkas, Bianca Brateanu and a group comprising Ryan Smith, Beth Smith, Masuma Begum and Elizabeth Kazibure have all been nominated in the Best News Student category. It’s a category Sunderland has previously done well in with Alice Winney winning last year.

In total the twelve Sunderland students have been nominated in three categories.

Jessica Nunn and Rebecca Gallagher will be competing against Teesside University and Stockton Sixth Form College in the ‘Best Comedy/Entertainment’ category while Jennifer Hutton, Daniel Hepple, Jacob Steele and Eric Garside will be up against Teesside and the University of Cumbria in the ‘Best Drama’ category.

Broadcast Journalism Programme Leader Andrew Glover, said: “Yet again media and journalism students here at Sunderland have proved that the content they produce is among the best around. From a broadcast journalism perspective it’s great to see some of the more experimental work recognised – a benefit of having made space in modules for students to test out new tools and storytelling methods.”

Best Comedy/Entertainment

The Dating Game (University of Sunderland)

Jessica Nunn, Rebecca Gallagher

Best Drama

Feed Me to the Wolves (University of Sunderland) 

Jennifer Hutton, Daniel Hepple, Jacob Steele, Eric Garside

Best News

Newcastle Trump Demo (University of Sunderland)

Theofanis Pegkas

One Armed Anthony the Gym Motivator (University of Sunderland) 

Bianca Brateanu

Discover YouTube Channel (University of Sunderland) 

Ryan Smith, Beth Smith, Masuma Begum, Elizabeth Kazibure 

You still have time to catch To The Sea at Priestman Building until 16 February.

The exhibition showcases second year BA Hons Fashion Product and Promotion students' project based on Sunderland’s maritime history, from the romantic tall ships  to the iron ships and the industrial revolution.

Inspired by the clothes shipbuilders were wearing, the Tall Ships’ billowing sails and the clear lines of the masts and rigging and the textures of ropes, chains and metals.

Each student has designed an 8 piece collection and made an outfits which will form part of this exhibition and will also be featured in the annual fundraiser fashion show on 3 May.

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Photos by William Ang'awa

Donate a toy or gift with ISOC

All this month, the ISOC society are collecting toys and gifts to give to sick children at the Sunderland Royal Hospital - and they need your support.

Quality used or new toys are needed. Donations can be big or small and can be handed in to be collected across campus at both Students’ Union offices and at the Shackleton House prayer centre.

Contact Jack Woodhouse for larger collections of items, bg72fa@student.sunderland.ac.uk

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New Dean is ready for Business

Professor Lawrence Bellamy has been appointed as Academic Dean to the Faculty of Business, Law and Tourism at the University of Sunderland. He joins the University as former Deputy Provost and Associate Dean at the University of Chester and prior to that as Head of Strategy and Economics at Leeds Business School.

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A Chartered Engineer, Professor Bellamy started his career in manufacturing - in the area of thermoplastics, composites and thermosets - before moving into Higher Education.

Professor Bellamy noted: “I am passionate about business education and excited about working for Sunderland. The University is a great institution with fantastic international networks and a real commitment to serving the region. The ethos of the Faculty is very much about applied learning, making sure that graduates are work-ready with the essential knowledge and skills to make a difference to any organisation they join from day one. There are exceptional staff in the Faculty, highly committed to ensuring that students reach their potential.”

With expertise in areas including enterprise and supply chain, Professor Bellamy has continued to support business throughout his academic career, working with SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises), as Chair for a North West networking organisation and in supporting the set-up of a University Technical College.

Professor Michael Young, the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor added: “We’re delighted to welcome Professor Bellamy to the University of Sunderland, he brings extensive academic leadership experience across the business and management curriculum, international and partnership development and a strong track record in external stakeholder engagement.

Professor Bellamy concluded: “I have been privileged in my career to travel widely to work with some great organisations, however nothing has been a greater privilege than to take on this role, with a University which is making such a life-changing difference to its students and graduates. Making sure that these students get the best opportunities will be my top priority and I’m looking forward to meeting with business leaders who want to work with us to develop and recruit some great talent.”

The University of Sunderland’s Faculty of Business, Law and Tourism includes the Sunderland Business School and the Sunderland Law School, offering undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes and degree apprenticeships.

In Sunderland the Faculty is based in the Reg Vardy building, on the Sir Town Cowie Campus at St Peter’s. Many of the Faculty’s programmes can also be studied at the University of Sunderland in London.



Two Sunderland graduates  have had their work chosen to be part of an exhibition of the best postgraduate artwork in the UK.

Angela Kennedy from Sunderland and Kathleen Calder from Whitley Bay have had their art chosen to appear in the prestigious ‘MA & Other Postgraduates Exhibition 2018’ at the Atkinson Gallery in Somerset.

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Angela Kennedy, 56, graduated in 2017 from the University of Sunderland with a Masters degree in Fine Art. Her remarkable large scale artwork was inspired by the experiences of growing up with her mother.

“The work, ‘Vein’, was inspired by a visit to Hendon in Sunderland, where I discovered my 87 year old mother was born,” says Angela. “The work is, in part, a response to the site, to my amazing mother and my experiences of growing up with, and surviving, domestic violence.”

'Vein' is an 11-metre tall transparent roll of text. It will go on show at the Atkinson Gallery from Monday, 19 February.

Angela Kennedy

Fellow artist Kathleen Calder, 53, was born in South Shields, and now lives in Whitley Bay – moving there via Scotland, Leeds, and Italy.

Kathleen worked in financial services for 18 years after leaving school, returning to education in 2014 to study for an HND in Fine Art at TyneMet College. Just three years later, in November 2017, Kathleen graduated from the University of Sunderland with an MA in Fine Art

Her work, ‘Blossom Gallion', will go on display alongside Angela’s in the Atkinson Gallery.

“I have always been interested in abstract and representational art from the past, such as Van Gogh's blossoms, and Fiona Rae’s paintings.

“My time at Sunderland was a positive experience which helped me to develop into a more confident painter and to pursue my ambition to be a freelance artist.”


Kathleen Calder

This week marks the 100th anniversary of the passing of the Representation of the People Act, giving the vote to women over the age of 30 – and both women say that they have been inspired by the women who have come before them.

Kathleen says: “After bringing up my family I wanted to do something for me. I have no regrets and enjoyed the experience of going to university.

“Don't be afraid to follow your dreams and believe that anything is possible with a positive outlook. The words of Emmeline Pankhurst, 'Deeds, not words', always make me remember to actually go out and do that something - not just daydream about it.”

Angela added: “I feel that at times coming from a working class background and being female means you don't feel part of what can sometimes be an elitist art world, particularly when you start speaking, and people make assumptions about your intelligence and ability based purely on your accent or gender. 

“Many ordinary older women friends and colleagues inspire me, have supported and more importantly really encouraged me. They taught me: believe in yourself, aim high and arm yourself with as much knowledge and skills as you can.”

Programme Leader for MA Fine Art at the University of Sunderland James Hutchinson nominated Angela and Kathleen for the exhibition. He said: “The Atkinson Gallery exhibition is a snapshot of postgraduate excellence from 25 universities, and I am very pleased for Angela and Kath. It’s great to see recent Fine Art graduates from Sunderland exhibiting nationally.”

The ‘MA & Other Postgraduates Exhibition 2018’ showcases the work of the UK’s most exciting new postgraduate artist, and is at the Atkinson Gallery in Somerset from 19 February to 17 March 2018.


The Royal Television Society (RTS) has launched its Undergraduate Bursary schemes for 2018, investing over £75,000 to support UK students from lower income backgrounds.

The RTS is offering 20 bursaries to students studying accredited Television Production and Broadcast Journalism degree courses. A further five technology bursaries, aimed at encouraging some of the most talented students to consider a career in television, are available to students studying Computing and Engineering.

In addition, RTS bursary applicants studying on Broadcast Journalism Courses will automatically be considered for the Steve Hewlett Scholarship, which was set up in 2017 in memory of the celebrated broadcaster.

The RTS bursaries are aimed at students in less affluent circumstances with the goal of helping to widen participation and skills in media and its related industries.


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Bursary recipients will receive £1,000 per year of their studies, as well as free membership of both the RTS and affiliate membership of The Hospital Club – a private members club for those in the creative industries – while studying and one year’s free membership of the RTS post-graduation. They will also have access to mentoring from RTS members as well as partners including BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky.

Theresa Wise, RTS CEO, says: “As an educational charity, the Royal Television Society is committed to helping young people from diverse and low income backgrounds, particularly those who display a real passion to work in TV, to realise their potential and get a foothold on the careers ladder. We are keen to hear from students wishing to pursue careers in all areas of the television industry – from researcher and producer to camera operators, sound recordists and script-writers to news reporters and potential directors.”

She continued: “In the four years since we launched the bursary programme we have had the honour of supporting over 100 talented and ambitious students. Our first cohort have now graduated and we are delighted to see them beginning their careers in the industry.”

Graeme Thompson, Chair of the RTS Education Committee and Pro Vice Chancellor at University of Sunderland, adds: “The scheme gives students a real advantage in the jobs market. It offers them unparalleled access to industry leaders and employers, which means they gain a great contacts book and invaluable insights into the industry by the time they graduate. We currently have almost 60 students on the production bursary scheme and we are looking forward to our second cohort graduating in the summer.”

Simon Pitts, Chair of the RTS Technology Bursaries and Managing Director, Online, Pay TV, Interactive and Technology, ITV, says: "Competition to recruit highly skilled graduates in the fields of computer sciences and engineering is strong and many students are unaware of the career opportunities that television has to offer young technologists. Our Technology Bursary programme provides a unique opportunity for them to learn more about the world of television whilst studying – with some of the top companies in the industry offering placements and support to recipients to encourage them to consider a career in TV."

Kyle Shiels, RTS production bursary recipient and graduate of the University of Leeds Broadcast Journalism B.A. Hons course commented“The Bursary is easily one of the best choices I’ve ever made. From the dinners and masterclasses to mentoring and event access, it gave me access to a world into which I never would have had a look-in otherwise.”

The RTS Undergraduate Bursary Programme launched in 2014, with its first cohort of students graduating in 2017. To date, all of the graduates of the bursary programme who have looked for work have successfully found jobs and begun careers in the TV industry.

For details of the accredited courses eligible for the scheme, bursary guidance notes or to submit your application visit: https://rts.org.uk/education-training/rts-bursaries. The deadline for submitting applications is 30 June 2018.

About the Steve Hewlett Scholarship

The Royal Television Society and The Media Society have come together with a number of British broadcasters and media organisations to launch the Steve Hewlett scholarship for young journalists to celebrate the life of Steve Hewlett.

Steve, who died on February 20th 2017, inspired the nation with his candid accounts of his fight against cancer, charted through his columns in The Observer and interviews with Eddie Mair on BBC Radio Four’s PM.

The Fund supports a scholarship initiative run by the RTS and The Media Society which will be presented each year to one recipient from a lower income family studying an undergraduate broadcast journalism course in the UK. The recipient will be chosen by a panel including Steve’s widow Rachel.

The Scholarship recognises Steve’s ongoing commitment to improving access for all to careers in the media and improving social mobility.

Each Hewlett Scholarship recipient will receive £2000 per year for three years to fund their living expenses, as well as membership of the RTS and affiliate Hospital Club membership while studying. They will also receive mentoring from industry professionals to help them make the strongest possible start to their career.

Steve was a vehement campaigner for improving access to the media industry for those with geographically diverse and low-income backgrounds to benefit both the media industries and the public more generally.

The scholarship will be funded on a long-term basis as part of the RTS’ annual Undergraduate Bursary scheme. The Media Society is leading a major fund-raising appeal to grow the Bursary funds. This Steve Hewlett Memorial Fund will be used for Steve Hewlett Scholarship recipients as well as other activities, which support Steve’s legacy. 

Organisations backing the initiative and committing to support the Fund include: BBC Radio Four, Brunel University, Channel 4, Google UK, ITN, ITV, Sky News, The London Press Club, Women in Journalism; and individuals including: Trevor Phillips OBE, Roger Bolton, Peter Taylor OBE, Fiona Chesterton, Alex Graham and the former CEO of News and Regions at ITV and now Chair of the Disasters Emergency Committee Clive Jones CBE, who chairs the appeal.

About The Royal Television Society:

From glamorous award ceremonies to lively debates, the RTS embraces all aspects of television, and is open to anyone with an interest in the medium.

As an educational charity, we encourage and celebrate work in television and its related fields, from finding out how the nation’s favourite shows are made in our Anatomy of a Hit series, to celebrating burgeoning talent at our annual Student Awards.

The industry’s most talented individuals give us an insight into the work that goes into making cutting edge contemporary TV. From Government ministers and CEO's to workshops with great runners, our events look at every part of the business. 

Our annual Television Journalism, Programme, Craft and Design and Student Awards, celebrate achievements across the broadcasting industry. 

Education is key to what the RTS does. Each year, we offer Television Production and Technology bursaries to help those from less affluent backgrounds get a foothold in the industry and Masterclass sessions bring together students, academics and industry heads.

RTS Futures, which is aimed at those in their first two years of employment, organises an exciting roster of discussion, training and social occasions. Recent events have included workshops on learning to format shows and how to survive as a freelancer, and expert panels explaining how to be the best researcher and how to make it on-screen.

Each year global television leaders gather to discuss what the future holds for television at our London Conference or the RTS Cambridge Convention.

Alongside our engaged community of over 4,500 full members, the Society is supported by Britain and the world's biggest broadcasters, producers and consultants, including Principle Patrons BBC, Channel 4, ITV and Sky.

Originally founded as the Television Society in 1927, the Society was granted its Royal title in 1966 and HRH The Prince of Wales became Patron of the RTS in 1997.

Today, 14 regional and national groups curate lively events and awards around the UK and Ireland, from Glasgow to Galway. 

Report it! Get supported!

Sometimes you may feel vulnerable and have concerns about how you have been treated verbally or physically by others on or off-campus.

We all have a responsibility to report inappropriate behaviour.

The University is committed to helping our students stay safe and making sure that you can find help quickly when you need it.

If in doubt – report it!

Visit our new website to find out more:


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University Language Scheme

Interested in German, Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese or Arabic?

We are currently registering for classes starting in Semester 2. There are no classes for beginners, but if you have some knowledge of the languages above, and would like to enrol on a course, please contact us at the email address below.


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