At a public talk at the LSE in November 2016, Richard Reed – cofounder and former Co-CEO of Innocent Drinks -, shared the advice given to him by sixty-two of the most remarkable individuals of our time (which he has written a book about). In the Q+A, he was asked about the best advice that he had received. He talked about a job earlier in his life which left him bored and un-inspired and when he admitted his lack of motivation to his boss, he was advised to ‘always look for the red sock’. His boss told him to imagine a drawer full of (boring?) white socks and encouraged him to look hard enough for something more interesting – a red sock. Richard said this changed his whole attitude to his job, he focussed on supporting a staff member he managed and gained the satisfaction he'd been missing. Evidently he then left that job but this piece of advice stayed with him.
So whatever situation you find yourself in, there is always an opportunity to locate something positive about it.
In my role at UKCISA I am fortunate enough that my work drawer has not just one but many red socks. I wanted to let you know about one of them. It has been a genuine pleasure for me to administer the UKCISA grants for projects and research and to edit the report that we have just brought together in our publication Research into the international student experience in the UK.
Four member universities write about the findings of their research. :
• The University of Brighton
• The University of York
• Bournemouth University
• Plymouth University
We think this is a great contribution to the sector. The research covers the transition from Foundation to Higher Education, the development of intercultural competency, seeking employment opportunities, and examining ways to support international student wellbeing.
You can also read the full reports online and print off individual pdfs.
Plymouth University was highly commended in our inaugural Paul Webley Award for Innovation in International Education in 2016.
If you find yourself having one of those days when your inbox is filling up faster than your replies are leaving, when you think that your colleagues don’t understand you, when the immigration rules seem just too illogical to bear, or when you have to deliver bad news to a student, do take some time out to read the reports. Reflect on the importance of your role and remember that you are making a difference. As a Plymouth student who took part in the research there commented,
‘I learned that there a lot of people here in the university that are willing to help, that a lot of people actually care’.
International students are your red sock and you are theirs.
You can also read about the wonderful projects and research we are funding in 2016-17. We are hoping to continue to offer grants for 2017-18 – look our for news in May/June this year.
And if you’d like to hear more from Richard Reed, you can listen to the podcast on the LSE website
Julie Allen, January 2017
Julie is Director of Policy and Services at UKCISA and previously worked at LSE.