Sessions B

Thursday 4 July, 9.30-10.45am

B1 Working and communicating effectively with Chinese students

Category: Student experience

This practical, interactive session is designed for anyone who wants to get a better insight into Chinese culture and to have a greater understanding of Chinese students. It will also show you how to use different Chinese social media platforms to engage with Chinese students prior to their arrival, and give a taste of Mandarin. It will cover a few basics about the Chinese education system, and highlight the differences between university life in China and in the UK.

The session will touch on the issue of culture shock and the challenges Chinese students may face during their transition to life in UK universities as well as communication issues that can arise when working with Chinese students. A short, fun Mandarin lesson will help you to greet your Chinese students and introduce yourself. You will have an opportunity to learn the pronunciation of 20 common used Chinese names.

Presenter:  Vicky Li, International Student Advisor, City, University of London

Vicky has been co-designing and co-delivering cross-cultural and Chinese culture training to staff in a number of universities in the UK since 2010. She has an in-depth and current knowledge of China, Chinese cultures and Chinese students, as well as an international experience of living, studying and working in a different cultural context. She has studied and worked in China, UK and US. Vicky has completed her undergraduate and postgraduate studies in the UK where she started her journey as an international student and as such experienced different stages of student life in a new culture and environment and its related challenges. She has been working in higher education sector for over 10 years. Her personal interest in culture and language has led her to become a qualified Chinese language teacher in the UK in 2008.

B2 Working together to support international students in residences

Category: Student experience

Working Together to Support International Students in Halls: Wardens’ Perspectives on Life in Residences

Focussing on both rewarding and challenging situations, this interactive session will raise awareness of life for international students in residences and the relationship this has with their wider student experience.

Aimed at all staff with an interest in gaining an insight into life in halls, it focusses on how different teams across the institution can work together to support our international students.

The presenters will draw on their own experiences both as wardens and Student Services staff at LSE. Through case studies, for example how an incident in halls may impact on a student’s immigration status, participants will be encouraged to share their own observations and knowledge.

Presenters:  Bethan Ovens, International Student Visa Advice Manager and LSE Warden, London School of Economics and Political Science; Lydia Halls, Communication and Orientation Officer and LSE Warden, London School of Economics & Political Science

Bethan began working as a Warden in a postgraduate only hall in 2017, alongside her main role as International Student Visa Advice Manager at LSE. She manages a team of four sub-wardens and is responsible for wellbeing and pastoral issues for approx 450 residents. Her residence has a high volume of international students, particularly scholarship students, as it is the most economical hall available at LSE. Whilst students have tenancy contracts with LSE, the building is owned by a third-party accommodation provider.

Bethan became a Warden to expand her experience of working with students in a pastoral role and in a non-immigration setting to assist with career development.

Lydia has experience in several residential life roles, both on campus and in halls of residence. She began working as a Residential Support Assistant whilst an undergraduate student at Royal Holloway before becoming the Residential Life Officer at LSE post-graduation. As the LSE School Representative in a third-party managed hall since 2017, she is responsible for wellbeing and pastoral issues for approximately 500 residents. Her residence has a high volume of international students but they are not exclusively from LSE. It is also one of the most expensive accommodation options at LSE.

Lydia's substantive role is as the Communication and Orientation Officer in LSE's Student Services Centre. She became a Warden to take on more responsibility and help enhance the student experience from a different perspective.

B3 An inspector calls – a view of Home Office inspections from both sides of the table

Category: Immigration compliance

If you’ve ever had sleepless nights over Home Office inspections, this is a not-to-be-missed session. Xian Rodgers, one of two HEAT inspectors from the Home Office, will be presenting alongside Francesca Smith, Eversheds Sutherland LLP, to explain everything you need to know about a Home Office inspection, from start to finish.

This session will prepare you in all elements, ranging from inspection preparation; policy review; practical arrangements and timings; staff interviews; monitoring systems; file review; and right to study checks for sponsored and non-sponsored migrants. We will take a focused look on attendance monitoring processes and the new changes we expect to take effect later this year.

Whether you have been recently inspected, are expecting an imminent inspection or have no idea when the Home Office will come knocking, this session is for you.

Presenters:  Francesca Smith, Associate, Eversheds Sutherland LLP; Xian Rodgers, HEAT Inspector, Home Office/UKVI

Francesca Smith has significant experience in advising clients predominantly in the education sector in relation to a wide range of immigration matters including Right to Work, Brexit and Settled Status, and sponsor licence issues under Tiers 2, 4 and 5. Francesca has assisted a number of institutions during their inspections and also regularly undertakes mock inspection audits in preparation for Home Office compliance visits and has been successful in negotiating with the Home Office positive outcomes for clients following revocation letters and action plans. Francesca’s recent experience involves advising clients in relation to Interim Relief and Judicial Review proceedings in the High Court of Justice.

Xian Rodgers has been involved with immigration compliance within the education sector since 2007, initially responsible for compliance within the private sector before specialising in the HEI sector. Xian has dealt exclusively with University compliance under Tier 4 since the commencement of the Higher Education Assurance Team in 2013. Xian is highly experienced in compliance within all University types and has a deep understanding of the HEI sector and it’s complexities

B4 The power of presenting: the whys and how

Category: Staff support

Presenting to an audience can be a daunting task for many of us – whether at a meeting or a conference session or a training event. This session will explore why it is important to build confidence in presenting, how you can try to achieve that and will also give some practical considerations that you can take away to use when planning to present as part of your job. If you are thinking of presenting at the UKCISA conference in the future, this is ideal for you.

Presenters:  Duncan Lane, Director of Advice & Training, UKCISA; Lizzie Huckle, Head of International Student Support, Imperial College, London

Duncan Lane is Director of Advice and Training at UKCISA.

Lizzie Huckle is Head of International Student Support at Imperial College, London.

Lizzie and Duncan have both delivered presentations and training events relating to international student advice and beyond for, between them, several decades!

B5 Taking intercultural training institution-wide

Category: Student experience

How do you get students and academics from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds to take the development of intercultural skills seriously?

Join us in this session as we share the story and lessons learned of the development and expansion of Warwick’s intercultural training programme from a handful of students preparing to study abroad to more than 1000 students (both mobile and staying on campus) participating this academic year, with a desire to expand the programme to all.

This session would be most useful for those seeking to help students make the most of internationalisation at home opportunities, and those seeking to foster relationships with academic departments and professional services to improve the student experience.

There will be opportunity for both discussion and Q&A during the session.

Presenters:  Simon Brown, Internationalisation Officer, University of Warwick; Claire O'Leary, Assistant Director International Student Office (Head of Student Experience and Internationalisation), University of Warwick

Simon Brown works as an Internationalisation Officer at the University of Warwick, joining the institution in 2016 after several years working in Cambodia. Simon has overseen the growth and development of Warwick’s intercultural training programme which has been taken up by more than 1000 students this academic year as part of Warwick’s wider Education Strategy.

With over 20 years’ experience in international student support, advice and management, Claire O’Leary leads the Student Experience team at Warwick which comprises Immigration; Tier 4 compliance; Student Internationalisation; all student Welcome and International Student Support. A passionate advocate for internationalisation of the student experience and for integration, Claire is Vice-Chair of the EAIE expert community, Mobility Advising. She regularly presents at EAIE conferences and is an EAIE academy trainer. Claire leads on Tier 4 immigration compliance strategy and policy for Warwick and is co-chair of the Immigration Compliance Network, a sector organisation for colleagues working in compliance, which Claire co-founded. Claire has served two terms of office as a trustee on the board of the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA). She delivers a course on running Orientation programmes for international students on UKCISA’s national training programme. Claire has recently completed her Master’s degree in Intercultural Communication at the University of Warwick.

B6 Celebrating the ability in disability: supporting international disabled students to achieve their full potential

Category: Student experience

Making the decision to study in the UK is a major step for disabled students who face a number of obstacles both ahead of and during their period of study. Universities are often their first port of call as they start to think about the challenges that lie ahead, but how can universities best support international students?

This panel session brings together experts from UK universities and disabled peoples organisations to talk about disability and overcoming barriers to study. It looks at specific challenges for international students and takes a lifecycle approach from application, preparation for arrival, reasonable adjustments and issues to consider during study.

The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission is hosting this panel in support of its pledge to increase the number of scholarships holders with disabilities hosted by UK universities and its commitment to the rights of people with disabilities around the world.

Presenters:  Susie Burpee, ACU; Dr Ola Abu Alghaib, Director of Global Influencing and Research, Leonard Cheshire Disability; Vivek Pachpande, CSC PhD Scholar, University of Edinburgh; Martin Hall, Support Worker Team Manager, University of Leeds Disability Services


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