The Archive Services twitter coverage of materials to celebrate Freshers’ Week caught the eye of the International Story. The information held in the student handbooks gives only a glimpse of the many changes and shifts for students in adapting to University life. For those Freshers from overseas, the changes, shifts, not to mention some shocks (from the culture to the weather!) must have been even more challenging . The Freshers’ Camp, however, may have been an eye-opener for home and international students alike. Among the Freshers’ Camp Photos of 1949 and 1950, there was one from the Auchendennan Freshers’ Camp, September 1949, (DC382/5/1/4/3) of the President of the International Club with students from Hong Kong, USA, India, Norway and Kenya. Picking up on the student from Kenya, there was a story about a truly international man
This was Nirmal Singh Rihal’s first year at the University – he was born at Bhattian, Punjab, India, but had been educated both in India as well as Kenya, where his family moved with his father’s work in the Indian government civil service.
Rihal came to Glasgow on a Kenyan government bursary and would go on to graduate MBChB in 1955.
Upon graduation he worked in the UK, before returning to Kenya, and then pursuing further study in Toronto, where he obtained his Diploma of Public Health.
It was Canada that Rihal would make his home. He was one of the earliest Sikh immigrants to Manitoba, where he practiced as a medical officer. Rihal was said to have been an active member of the Sikh community, and was involved in Manitoba’s legal exemption in helmet laws that allows Sikhs to wear turbans rather than helmets while riding motorcycles. Manitoba became the first jurisdiction in North America to implement this exemption.