Day 3: reflections on the past and challenges for the future

Blog for members
29 June 2018
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Couldn’t make it to conference this year? Read an overview of each day below by Web and Comms Manager, Jane Woodley.

After two intensive days of debate on current issues, concerns and opportunities, early morning yoga eased us in to the final day of conference. 

With a final 22 parallel sessions taking place, delegates had the opportunity to learn about ATAS, compliance breaches, social media as well as mental health and wellbeing. 

Social transitions experiences and international student identity


The University of Dundee and the Open University shared findings and feedback from recent UKCISA-funded projects. The University of Dundee talked us through the logistics of their transition video project, explaining that it was important that the videos set realistic expectations of what studying in the UK is like. Before interviewing students on film they were asked about the topics that they thought would be most useful for other prospective students to know. The finished videos include short interviews about climate differences, perceptions of timeand understanding the local accent.

The Open University gave feedback on the benefits of using holistic social support networks to support transition to the UK. This UKCISA-funded project demonstrated the real need for doctoral students to have access to support networks, and importantly, a space for students to make complaints within a closed students' only space. Students involved in the project said that this informal support was "invaluable and encouraging." 


What are our main priorities for the future? In conversation with…

We closed conference with a lively panel discussion with colleagues and leading commentators from sector bodies, law firms, university management, advisors and student representatives reflecting on the most important recent achievements but also challenges and opportunities in the future.

Our panel featured: Nichola Carter, partner, Carter-Thomas law firm; Lizzie Huckle, Head of International Student Support, Imperial College London; Alan Mackay, PVC International and Director of Edinburgh Global, University of Edinburgh; Dr Alastair Niven, former Principal of Cumberland Lodge and former Chair of UKCISA’s Board of Trustees; Vivienne Stern, Director Universities UK International (UUKi); Yinbo Yu, International Students' Officer, NUS.

The panel explored what we've all learned from our past experiences with international students and how we can use it in the future. There was lots of discussion about the introduction of Tier 4 and the changes it brought to the work we all do. 

Lizzie Huckle said:

"What happens with immigration is slightly out of our control but we have to take the best from it. We have to turn these changes into opportunities for the sector; to improve the whole student experience."


Closing on a musical high

Our UKCISA choir sung us out – thanks to all who took part, you were excellent! 

We hope you all feel motivated and energised to take three days of learning back to your institutions and students' unions. 


UKCISA 2019!

Next year we’ll be at Keele University 3-5 July 2019. If you have an idea for a session, we’ll be opening for proposals in  November 2018.   

Read an overview of day one and day two