2019 Sessions E

Thursday 4 July, 3.45-5pm

E1 Helping students to help themselves

Category: General

At QMUL they aim to empower their students to have the confidence to make a successful visa application without advisers checking their form or supporting documents. This model works well for them because it allows advisers to use their time to focus on specialist and more complicated casework.

In this session the practicalities of this model will be considered and the different ways that they provide guidance is shared, so that their students have the best possible chance of getting it right. They appreciate the importance of maintaining a low refusal rate, both for the institution and in the interest of a positive student experience.

Some of the challenges faced with this model will be discussed and how they have addressed these challenges.

There will be a chance for you to consider whether the value of the checks that you do is proportionate to the risks of undertaking fewer checks, and to think about how you could introduce this model at your institution.

Presenters:  Rachel Hacking, International Student Adviser, Queen Mary University of London; Lizzy Pollard, Welfare Advice Manager and Deputy Head of Advice and Counselling Service, Queen Mary, University of London

Rachel Hacking is currently the International Student Adviser at Queen Mary University of London. She has worked as an International Student Adviser at different institutions for the last 8 years. Rachel has worked at universities which checked visa applications and supporting documents and used the scheme formally known as ‘Batch’ to send students’ applications for them. She can clearly see the benefits of empowering students to be confident to submit their visa applications themselves.

Lizzy Pollard has been working with international students for 20 years. She is the Welfare Advice Manager in the Advice and Counselling Service at Queen Mary, University of London. She was previously the International Student Adviser at the University of Bath.

E2 Leeds University Union: how to enhance the student experience with a ‘Global Community Programme’

Category: Student experience | Students' unions

In September 2018 the Leeds University Union established its new Global Community Programme designed to connect home, EU and international students, in particular Chinese students. The Programme focuses on creating an environment for cultural sharing and exploration between a diverse international cohort, with a particular aim of offering safe learning environments for non-native English speakers.

In this workshop you can:

  • Learn about the aims, development and implementation of this programme,
  • Discuss the challenges of bringing together UK, EU and international students,
  • Gain an insight into how to enhance Chinese students’ intercultural experience whilst studying in the UK,
  • See an overview of activities and events,
  • Consider how to do something similar in your institution.

This interactive workshop will consist of a presentation, discussion, and the sharing of best practice.

Presenters:  Katharine Missin, International Students' Programme Coordinator, Leeds University Union; Richard Clark, Student Programmes Manager, Leeds University Union

Katharine Missin joined Leeds University Union in September 2018 as the International Students’ Programme Coordinator where she develops and manages the Global Community programme. She recently graduated from the University of Leeds in BA Chinese & Spanish and has an extensive and current knowledge of China, Chinese culture and Chinese students, as well as experience of living and studying in both Spain and China.

Richard Clark has developed his learning of student engagement through several roles both at York and Leeds Students' Union, most recently taking on Head of the Student Programmes department at LUU. With expertise on new University student engagement and community cohesion, Richard is still keen to learn more about how students form community when they arrive at University. His new role will give opportunities to explore engagement across the local community and global community.

E3 Learning from complaints

Category: General

While 19% of UK students are from outside the UK, around 29% of OIA complaints come from international students.

International students can have particular difficulties being further from their families and existing support networks, dealing with an unfamiliar language and culture.

In this session we will look at the insights we have gathered from over 17,000 student appeals and complaints. We have identified some common factors in complaints and also that we receive more complaints about higher levels of study.

We will consider how delegates' practices and procedures can further support international students and enhance the student experience.

Presenter:  Wendy Dant, Assistant Adjudicator, OIA

Wendy Dant is an Assistant Adjudicator at the OIA. She has worked in the advice sector for over 25 years with the last 12 being in higher education. Previous roles include the Manager of the Students’ Union Advice Centre at Oxford Brookes University, Manager of the Student Advice and Support Service at Loughborough University and Manager of the Widening Participation Team at Bath Spa University.

E4 UKVI update - future borders and immigration system

Category: Immigration

Presenter:  David Ramsbotham, Head of Sponsorship/Visa & Citizenship Operations/PBS & Citizenship, UKV&I

E5 What next for international student representation in the UK?

Special interest, Students' unions

Since it was created, the role of the international student representative at NUS has become increasingly high profile and important.  NUS has highlighted the dysfunctional police registration process, campaigned on post study work, supported students caught up in the TOEIC scandal and even created a board game to highlight the student visa journey. 

However, as NUS acts to limit its services to deal with financial challenges, the role will end when the current NUS international student representative, Yinbo Yu, stands down in June 2019.  Riddi Viswanathan and Krum Tashev will take up voluntary positions to support international students but without the NUS structure and NUS policy staff, what will that look like?  Join Riddi, Krum and Yinbo to hear more and to discuss the future of international student representation in the UK.

Presenters: Yinbo Yu, International Student Officer, NUS; Riddi Viswanathan, International Students Officer, University of Manchester; Krum Tashev, International Students Officer, SOAS