further & higher education

Enhancing the International Student Experience in UK Higher Education

further & higher education

08:45 - 16:10

Wednesday 3 April 2019

Central London

Early Bird Discount Offer

10% off all advertised rates for a limited time only. Discount available to public / voluntary organisations only.


This Forum will provide participants with an opportunity to discuss effective strategies for providing an outstanding higher education (HE) experience for every international student studying in the UK. Sector leaders will share key policy updates around what Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are expected and required to deliver for international students. In addition, attendees will discuss and learn from best practice case studies offering quality support and guidance around learning skills, employment opportunities and legal requirements for international students.


This Forum is specifically designed for the Higher Education sector. Typical job titles will include:

  • Directors of Student Experience
  • Directors of Student Services
  • Heads of Quality Assurance
  • Heads of International Student Services
  • Heads of International Student Support
  • Pro Vice-Chancellors (International)
  • Heads of Quality Standards
  • Heads of Student Recruitment
  • Heads of Faculty
  • Associate and Deputy Deans
  • Collaboration Managers
  • Student Engagement Managers
  • Student Experience Coordinators and Managers
  • Heads of Student Support
  • Heads of Recruitment
  • Professors and Lecturers
  • Impact Officers
Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Jessica Moody, Senior Policy Adviser, Advance HE
  • Senior Representative, Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA)
  • Senior Representative, QAA
  • Julie Allen, Director of Policy and Services, UK Council for International Student Affairs
View the agenda and additional speakers

The future of migration policy in the UK after Brexit, and how numbers of international students will fit into this, is a significant cause for concern among both current and prospective international students. Australia is set to soon overtake the UK as the second most popular host country for international HE students, while 14% of students recently surveyed across 63 universities worldwide reported that they were less likely to study in the UK as a result of Brexit. Consequently, HEIs across the UK need to do more to demonstrate their commitment to providing international students with a high-quality HE experience.

In a November 2018 Inquiry Report, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Students laid out 12 recommendations for the sector to expand its offer for, and increase the draw of, international students, after what the Report deems eight years of restrictive government policy. These recommendations incorporate action calls for the government, universities, colleges and schools, and encourages cooperation between all stakeholders. The APPG has called on universities to share internationalisation strategies, and facilitate and help students articulate the benefits of studying in a diverse environment.

With league tables having a major impact on international students’ choice of where to study, HEIs must ensure they are doing all they can to deliver teaching excellence, employment opportunities and wellbeing support that can be reflected in student feedback that influence such tables. In addition to delivering on these key criteria for international students, incorporating more targeted social activities and providing both detailed and accessible legal information were cited as core examples of what HEIs can be doing to attract more international students, according to September 2018 research published by Explain Market Research.

If the UK is going to maintain its position as an attractive location for international students to study, HEIs must now place a greater emphasis on providing security and reassurance for current and prospective students, particularly through enhancing the quality of support services and learning resources on offer.


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair’s Welcome Address

Paul Blomfield MP, Co-Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for International Students (invited)


Morning Keynote: Providing an Outstanding Student Experience for All International Students

  • Discussing the heterogeneity of the international student body, and what a high quality and beneficial student experience means to different groups from different backgrounds
  • Outlining the key areas on which HEIs can work to improve their offer for international students: Marketing and recruitment; arrival and induction; learning and teaching
  • Offering international students important legal and compliance advice and guidance throughout the admissions process, allowing them to feel like that they have the required level of support from the first point of engagement with a prospective HEI
  • Sharing best practice in integrating information around the full range of support and services that HEIs should offer international students throughout the induction and orientation process
  • Providing consistent and regular CPD opportunities for teaching staff and personal tutors to offer the best possible learning and development support for international students

Senior Representative, QAA (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Exploring the Future for International Students in the UK

  • Outlining the role of UKCISA in supporting international students as well as the institutions that work with them to ensure the overall experience for students is as positive as possible
  • Increasing student mobility by tackling barriers such as work restrictions and language barriers that international students may face, as well enriching the offer for domestic students by internationalising their experience
  • Reflecting on recommendations from the September 2018 Migration Advisory Committee report on the Impact of International Students in the UK, including how to raise support for international education
  • Exploring best practice in providing inclusive and accessible support services for all students, and ensuring such services are tailored to individual concerns

Julie Allen, Director of Policy and Services, UK Council for International Student Affairs (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Enhancing the Transition Experience and Promoting Integration Through Combined Inductions

  • Exploring the decision to end segregated induction programmes for home and international students with a view to eliminate the potential for unnecessary isolation
  • Highlighting induction sessions that may be particularly beneficial for international students, while still encouraging the involvement of domestic students
  • Arranging webinars for international students on key issues of concern around visas and UK culture for example, prior to arriving in the UK, to ensure these students feel more at ease on arrival, having already had their questions answered
  • Promoting the benefits of focusing on individual needs rather than homogenous groups, and demonstrating this through having a catch-all student services support system than offers issue-specific help, rather than segregating by home and international students

Katherine Bennett and Caroline Earth, Transitions Officers, Bournemouth University (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Increasing Inclusivity in the Classroom for an Improved Learning Experience

Sharing key findings from the Promoting Integration on Campus report and the Global Education Profiler surveys as they relate to:

  • Harnessing the benefits of a diverse student body by encouraging students to consider each other’s approaches to learning and perspectives in gaining understanding of a studied topic
  • Encouraging frontline teaching staff to be more observant of the needs of international students in their seminars and lecture halls, recognising the variety of interaction styles, and adapting pedagogies accordingly
  • Outlining the importance of training staff in cultural differences among international students and exploring how this can impact on approaches to, and experiences of, learning and teaching
  • Imparting recommendations for better collection and use of data to determine how best to support international students’ learning

Professor Helen Spencer-Oatey, Centre for Applied Linguistics, University of Warwick and Co-Author, Promoting Integration on Campus: Principles, Practice and Issues for Further Exploration (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Providing Quality Support for Students’ Learning and Employability Skills

  • Attracting students from over 150 countries through a reputation of academic excellence and outstanding post-studies employment opportunities, demonstrated by a Gold TEF rating
  • Outlining the structure of personal tutoring, student support and development that creates definitive roles for faculties, senior tutors and students to understand expected levels of input and output across the learning spectrum
  • Ensuring central student support staff are effectively trained to adapt their traditional scope of service provision for the varying needs of international students
  • Offering dedicated careers workshops and resources for international students including training opportunities to develop transferable skills and increase employability
  • Providing detailed information around Brexit and how international students will be affected, and ensuring they feel consistently supported throughout the process, with institutional backing for their personal development

Professor Nicholas Miles, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement, University of Nottingham (invited)

Voted The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017’s University of the Year for Graduate Employment


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Enhancing the Teaching and Learning Experience for International Students

  • Sharing the journey of collating student data and feedback over the last decade to develop a strong evidence base for what effective teaching practices look like when teaching international students
  • Comparing teaching and learning strategies for domestic students with what works for international students, and considering what needs to be altered and when
  • Incorporating cultural diversity into approaches to learning: Considering students’ previous experiences of acquiring facts and applying knowledge, how they grasp concepts that describe the world, and reasons for attending a UK HEI
  • Encouraging staff to consider their own misconceptions around teaching international students, and overcoming these by having informal, open and honest feedback sessions with international students

Jessica Moody, Senior Policy Adviser, Advance HE (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Effectively Addressing International Students’ Concerns and Complaints

  • Understanding how complaints issued by international students may differ from those issued by other students
  • Discussing the expectations of international students who come to study at UK institutions and what HEIs can do to ensure these are met as closely as possible
  • Sharing best practice communication methods for interacting with international students as prospective students, when an offer is being made, and when they arrive on campus
  • Advising HEIs on how to adopt advice from The Good Practice Framework when considering how to improve services and support for international students

Senior Representative, Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Delivering an Outstanding Extra-Curricular Experience for International Students

  • Discussing the role that social clubs, sports clubs, societies and other extra-curricular activities have in delivering a quality experience for international students and helping them get the most out of their time at a UK HEI
  • Creating a 15,000 strong student-centred organisation that drives conversation around offering the best support for international students that come from 135 different countries, and how to ensure optimum integration across campus
  • Sharing the range of guidance available online that provides reassurance and comfort for students prior to arriving in the UK, and after starting their course, including tips on making friends, unique aspects of British culture, and emergency contacts to know
  • Understanding how the 37 cultural societies of the International Students Association can support students who are feeling homesick including by arranging ‘food from home’ events and discussion forums to share thoughts and experiences

Asha Ali, Vice President International, The University of Essex Student Union (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Effectively Addressing Issues Around Immigration to Help International Students to Thrive

  • Sharing the journey of offering 50 Syrian refugees English language scholarships, and supporting their transition into HE once an appropriate level of proficiency is achieved
  • Offering a range of support services with an immigration advisor to best suit the needs of individual students, including drop-in quick question sessions, appointments for Tier 4 or Dependent form checks, and dedicated workshops throughout the academic year
  • Ensuring students understand what they can expect of the services offered by a HEI, as well as what is expected of them, what can be discussed confidentially and when the Home Office may need to be involved
  • Discussing how to offer students impartial help and guidance around gaining professional legal assistance for issues beyond the university’s remit
  • Building an online immigration news hub for students, providing regular updates on any changes they need to be aware of, or relevant news items, and offering related follow-up support

Sara Dyer, Head of International Student Support, University of Sussex (invited)


Closing Keynote: Effectively Working with Student Representatives to Improve the International Student Experience

  • Understanding the challenges that international students face during various key points of their UK HE experience, and how they express these to student representatives and other key figures
  • Outlining the difficulties student unions face in alleviating international student concerns and issues, and overcoming these by working more closely with senior HEI leaders
  • Exploring opportunities for internationalising domestic students’ HE experience to integrate them more into activities traditionally undertaken by international students
  • Building an Internationalised Students’ Union: Sharing best practice from the NUS Toolkit to help SUs make an actively positive impact on the experience of all international students
  • Creating an intersectional support offer, ensuring international student services address the full range of challenges that may be faced, including around gender, sexuality, race, nationality and disability

Cat Turhan, International Policy Officer, National Union for Students (NUS) (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair’s Summary and Close

*programme subject to change

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