further & higher education

Enhancing the International Student Experience in UK Higher Education

further & higher education

08:45 - 16:30

Wednesday 3 April 2019

Central London

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
  • Directors of Student Support Services
  • Heads of International Student Support
  • Heads of Student Support
  • Pro Vice-Chancellors (International)
  • Student Services Managers
  • Heads of Student Recruitment
  • Associate and Deputy Deans
  • Student Engagement Managers
  • Student Experience Coordinators and Managers
  • Heads of Recruitment
  • Professors and Lecturers
Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Jessica Moody, Senior Policy Adviser, Advance HE
  • Senior Representative, Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA)
  • Fabrizio Trifiro, Manager (International), QAA
  • Julie Allen, Director of Policy and Services, UK Council for International Student Affairs
  • Maddalaine Ansell, Director of Education, British Council
View the agenda and additional speakers

International Students are worth £20bn to the UK economy highlighting the importance of ensuring that international students receive an high-quality student experience. However, according to 2018 research from University College London, Australia is overtaking the UK as a destination for international students pushing the UK into third place.

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 and the introduction the TEF 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.

In light of this it is imperative that HEIs across the UK are able to clearly demonstrate their commitment to providing international students with an outstanding HE experience that delivers outstanding teaching and learning whilst providing value for money if the UK wishes to remain as one of the top destinations for international students to study in the world.



Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair’s Welcome Address

Baroness Manzila Pola Uddin, Treasurer, All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for International Students (CONFIRMED)


Morning 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
  • Improving the international student experience by tackling barriers such as work restrictions and language barriers that international students may face, as well enriching the experience 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)


Special 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 changes need to be made
  • 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)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


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: Enhancing the Induction and Transition Experience for International Students

  • Exploring the decision to end segregated induction programmes for UK 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)


Special Keynote: Providing an Outstanding Student Experience for 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, ensuring 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
  • Encouraging HEI’s to provide regular CPD opportunities for teaching staff and tutors to offer the best possible learning and development support for international students

Fabrizio Trifiro, Manager (International), QAA (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: International Students and Soft Power

  • Discussing the importance of international students to the UK’s cultural relations and soft power
  • Exploring different ways in which the UK, particularly via the British Council, has supported this agenda: PMI case study
  • Outlining the current British Council offer: Study UK, support for TNE, IES, work with overseas governments on scholarship programmes
  • Looking at future opportunities to support international students

Maddalaine Ansell, Director of Education, British Council (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Effectively Addressing International Students’ Concerns and Complaints

  • Advising HEIs on how to adopt advice from The Good Practice Framework when considering how to improve services and support for international students
  • 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

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 (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


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

  • Offering a range of support services with an immigration advisor to best suit the needs of individual students, including drop-in sessions, appointments for 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
  • Sharing strategies to support international students to enhance their level of English proficiency while at university
  • Discussing how to offer students impartial help and guidance around gaining professional legal assistance for issues beyond the university’s remit

Bea Emanuele, International Student Adviser, UCL (invited)


Case Study: Internationalising the HE Experience Through Partnerships and Collaboration

  • Developing relationships with research and development partners around the world, to enhance the university’s global impact
  • Discussing how these partnerships can influence the teaching and learning experience for students such as by inviting guest lecturers or offering trips abroad to international campuses and organisations
  • Providing students with access to higher quality research facilities with the help of international partners

Professor Paul van Gardingen, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor for International and Development Research, University of Leicester (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Gaining Funding for Student Representatives to Enhance Internationalisation on Campus

  • Outlining the process of successfully applying for a UKCISA grant of up to £2,000, including how to decide which form of support for international students could be most effective
  • Exploring the grant-funded expansion of the Global Campus initiative: Employing students to design, develop, run and evaluate weekly events aiming to enhance cultural connectedness and improve links between the University and SU
  • Discussing the process of planning and delivering the weekly events, including the support needed from SU and Student Services staff, and the generation of inclusive ideas such as ‘show and tell’ and ‘international pot luck’ evenings
  • Trebling the number of students involved in weekly events, and increasing home student engagement to account for 13% of attendees
  • Overcoming challenges to delivering this grassroots internationalisation initiative, including building better relationships with the SU, embedding information about the initiative into induction plans, and recruiting more students to share the workload

Simon Ganderton, Student Success and Engagement Team Manager, York St John University (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair’s Summary and Close

*programme subject to change

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