As one of very few UK universities to have a full-time sabbatical Students' Union officer for international students, and with an experienced International Welfare Officer, the University of Leicester has long shown its concern for the welfare of its international students.
Now the support network is being extended even further with the appointment of an International Chaplain, jointly funded by the churches and the University.
As the latest member of the University's Chaplaincy, The Reverend David Betts is already getting to know the various members of the international community on campus. With the increasing numbers of international students entering the University he sees a growing opportunity for the Chaplaincy to play its part in supporting them during their stay at Leicester.
He is keen to mingle with the students, get to know them and make them feel welcome, and sees his role as complementing that of their personal tutors. As part of the Christian community at the University, he appreciates that he may not be the obvious port of call for students from other faiths. But he stresses that he is there for all international students and can direct then to a counsellor within other faiths when this would be helpful.
"I want the international students to know I have an open ear, open heart and open door," he said, "but I am not na´ve enough to think there will be hundreds of people coming to see me. If at the end of the year there are just a dozen students who feel I made a difference to their lives here then I shall be well satisfied."
A member of the Baptist Church, David Betts was originally from Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, and worked at Bostik, before spending much of the past 22 years combining social work with Baptist Ministry in Scotland, where he met his wife, Christine.
He divides his time now between the University of Leicester and the Leicester Royal Infirmary, where he is also a Free Church Chaplain.
Note to editors: Further information is available from The Reverend David Betts, University of Leicester Chaplaincy, telephone +44 (0)116 285 6493.
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