Sharing international student best practice with colleagues across Scotland: excellent first 2017-18 members’ seminar!

30 November 2017

Thanks to all presenters and delegates at our first Members’ Seminar in Glasgow last week, lovely to see both new and familiar faces! For those of you who couldn’t make it, we have two more planned. We’ll be in Manchester on 13 February 2018 and London on 12 April 2018. Bookings to attend will open in the next few weeks.

The half-day session was packed full of advice and tips about understanding and improving the international student experience within institutions and students’ unions. The presentations from all are well worth a look.

Alan Mackay, Deputy Vice-Principal International and Director of Edinburgh Global, University of Edinburgh and UKCISA Board member, welcomed all delegates and encouraged everyone to share ideas about the international student experience in Scotland and continue to increase the number of inbound students. 

We were joined by Ed Thomson, Higher Education International Policy, Scottish Government, who praised the sector for sharing values and ideas among different institutions. After the event, he commented: 

“The projects on show were really interesting pieces of work, and it’s encouraging to see institutions looking into some really innovative ways of supporting international students.” 


Heriot-Watt shared their online tool to help train their class reps across campuses. They said ‘it shouldn’t matter where they’re studying, all students should have the same experience’. They highlighted that students are not using PowerPoint and suggested Biteable instead for short videos. 

University of Dundee showcased some of their videos created to help international students transition into the UK, by using non-scripted content from students. View the videos at

University of Glasgow’s research explored summer schools and reasons for attending. It highlighted that campus support needs are different depending on nationality. 

Edinburgh College discussed their volunteering project which was created in response to the removal of part-time work for Tier 4 students. They discovered that overall, it wasn’t the money gained from working that students were missing, it was the social aspect and a way to improve language. They worked with a number of local organisations to provide short volunteering opportunities for international students.

University of Strathclyde gave us a hands-on taster session of their ongoing 2017-18 project which explored the use of lego during group-work activities. This is using the theory that it is easier to learn and take part in an action rather than just speaking. (Take a look at #StrathBestDuck on Twitter for an insight!)

University of Edinburgh discussed their ongoing 2017-18 research into mental health and wellbeing of Mastercard Foundation Scholars and shared some of the different needs and support that may be required.

If you're interested in reading up about all of the 2016-17 completed UKCISA grants projects and research do have a look at our recent reports. All primary contacts have been sent a hard copy (please e-mail for more copies) but they're also available to download individually on our website. Visit