Couldn’t make it to conference this year? Read an overview of each day below by Web and Comms Manager, Jane Woodley.
Packed with 30 parallel sessions, delegates had the opportunity to attend a variety of workshops, from a 3-hour cross-cultural simulation experience to EU law and Brexit for EEA students and family members. There was also a packed Stop Press session, updated with the latest changes announced last week. Delegates also had the opportunity to learn about new ways of addressing welcome activities for international and home students, student trips, work placements and Tier 4 monitoring. Full presentation slides and handouts will be available on our website for members to access after conference.
Rethinking welcome activities
LSE and University of Warwick both run fully integrated orientation programmes, despite high numbers of international students. They talked us through their reasoning behind this decision, shared their learning points and engaged us in a discussion about whether this was the right approach for various institutions.
LSE gave a useful insight into their integrated welcome programme. Explaining that while it has changed over the past 15 years, the one constant is that it has always been aimed at both international and home students. Lydia Halls added that:
"We don't want to create an unnecessary sense of difference by having separate welcome programmes."
They gave useful suggestions about how to decide if an integrated welcome would work in different institutions, crucially, always asking 'what is the orientation for?'
University of Warwick talked us through their new programme; this year's orientation will be integrated - a departure from their usual traditional programme for international students. They reiterated the need to test ideas with students and suggested evaluating throughout.
A blueprint for providing engaging student trips and Internationals GoGreen
Don’t be a Tourist and Bangor University shared useful insight about how to provide interesting and engaging weekend excursions for students as well as planning trips and events to raise awareness of international issues. It featured step-by-step guides for planning and promoting trips and lots of discussion about best practice. It highlighted very simple steps that can have an impact with how engaged students are; something as simple as using their names when you're welcoming them can make them feel part of the group and included.
The session also covered trips that Bangor University are organising to raise awareness of recycling to international students. They explained that attitudes to recycling vary between countries so we all have a role to play in educating our students about it.
Why mobility matters: mid conference plenary
Mid-conference plenary gave us and delegates an opportunity to regroup and consider why changing lives for good and international mobility matters more now than ever before. Dr Alastair Niven, Formerly Principal Cumberland Lodge and former Chair (1987-1992) of UKCISA’s Executive Committee/Board introduced Sir Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive, British Council who gave an engaging insight into the importance of the sector’s work and the need for collaboration.
Ciarán, discussing Brexit and the future of international education, said:
"We have to make sure that our world leading institutions continue to be recognised as just that." And added: "It's the collective that works." Reinforcing the need for us to all work together in the sector as a community to improve experiences for international students.
Anniversary gala dinner
The key social event in the UKCISA calendar! We were joined by over 400 delegates at our gala dinner at the beautiful Assembly Rooms. Over dinner, delegates were still talking about the sessions they had attended and sharing ideas and experiences.
A traditional ceilidh opened the floor for dancing after a celebratory toast from our chief Executive, Dominic Scott.
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