We held our first members’ seminar of 2019 yesterday. Joined by 80 colleagues from across the sector, it was a day filled with timely reminders about what’s important for international students, how the student landscape is changing and exploring our institutions’ aims and challenges for the coming year.
We heard thoughts about what the future holds from Vincenzo Raimo, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Reading, who believes that “without realising it, we’ve been working in the golden age of universities” when international student numbers were continually increasing. With home students now questioning the value of degrees and graduate recruiters hiring after A Levels, we can’t be complacent and need to be aware of extra competition in a changing student landscape.
Paul Jeffrey from the Migration Policy Unit at the Home Office gave us an update on the immigration bill and Brexit, He provided an overview of the potential study route confirming that many aspects of a future immigration system are still up for discussion. He also outlined the government’s intention to create a new International Student Strategy which UKCISA, along with many in the sector, have argued is badly needed. On EU he reiterated that a “no deal Brexit is nobody’s desired outcome."
Our panel members shared insights about their current key concerns, encouraging us to remember the needs of non-EEA students while we work to support EU students. They also encouraged us to monitor what overseas partners are doing about Brexit, and encouraged us to see the opportunities that Brexit brings to the sector.
Our grants projects talked about food, health and housing and ways to improve the international student experience by incorporating guides such as comparisons for grocery shopping in local shops, and adding a housing guarantor scheme. You can view all three reports at ukcisa.org.uk/London-Seminar-Projects
Finally, our student panel gave us a useful insight to international student experience, reminding us to put ourselves into students’ shoes who may have just arrived in the UK for the first time and know no-one at all. They added that there is often an information overload for new students, advising that there is a need for services across universities and colleges to collaborate; Alejandro from Imperial College London said:
“There are numerous services competing for students’ attention, it needs to streamline. It is overwhelming for students.”
The students added that seeing everyone in the room so passionate about improving international student experience was heartening, so keep sharing what you are doing!
If you missed out on this event there is space available at our Manchester Seminar on 13 March. The event will feature:
- NTU Global
- An update from the Home Office about the future borders and immigration system
- Presentations about projects from University of Leeds Students’ Union and the University of Manchester
- International student panel
Read the full programme and book ukcisa.org.uk/manchester-seminar