We held three Members Forum events between November 2015 and March 2016 in Edinburgh, Manchester and London. These one day events were an opportunity for members to gather, share experiences and best practice. We also had presentations from UKCISA Grants Projects that are exploring topics like student safety and sexual health. Throughout our events programme, at least 30% of attendees were attending their first UKCISA event. Attendees’ roles were also varied. The majority were advisers but colleagues from compliance, admissions and recruitment were also present.
Each event featured an international student panel to provide insight into student experience, from immigration rules to induction programmes. Each panel took questions form the floor and gave their feedback on how institutions could support them further. Including ways to integrate with home students and reducing the information provided in the first induction meeting.
Speaking at our London event, Thant Sin, studying at SOAS said:
“The UK is really organised, we get lots of instructions – we even get instructions telling us what way to look when crossing the road which is great! But the amount of instructions can be a bit much when we first arrive.”
And in Manchester, Mustafa Bakirci, studying at Manchester Metropolitan University, echoed: "Sometimes induction processes are overwhelming. It needs to be staggered – do I need to know all about plagiarism at same time as learning my way around campus? Hearing from international students that have been here a year would help."
We asked all delegates what their top obstacles and hurdles for international students were. The top five were:
1. BRP errors
2. Credibility interviews
3. Time cap on study (5 years)
4. Police registration
5. Payments for immigration health surcharge
As with our Regional conferences in 2014-15, the majority of delegates at all the forums agreed that their international students have an excellent experience which is great news!
All 100% of Manchester delegates said they think students have an excellent experience.
82% of Edinburgh delegates agreed and 81% of London delegates agreed.