Category: Higher education

In-Demand Degrees & Landing Top UK Jobs

“Non-EEA international students often find themselves at a disadvantage when it comes to applying for British graduate jobs”

As Brexit negotiations continue, many international students are feeling concerned about their place in the UK post-graduation, particularly those looking to work in graduate roles. Luna Williams, content writer and correspondent at Immigration Advice Service offers advice to relieve some of this concern.

As it stands, any non-EEA international graduate can take on permanent, skilled work in the UK provided they have received a job offer and a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from their prospective employer. Once they have this, they will be eligible for a Tier 2 Work Visa, which will allow them to take on their desired role and remain in the UK for a further five years to fill it. For those looking to settle in the UK permanently, this route is ideal.
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How does duty of care extend to American higher education international offices?

“Many students understand that it is expensive in the US, but they struggle to understand how their insurance plan does not protect against the cost of that system”

As students become more mobile, the concept of ‘duty of care’ becomes all the more important. Jeff Foot, executive director of international student insurance provider LewerMark, says educators need a critical eye to assess what plans they have in place when international students face risks they are not accustomed to.

The #youarewelcomehere campaign attempts to soften the swirling rhetoric around the recent executive order travel bans, removal of DACA, increased nationalism, and unease generally around immigration issues. I think international education voices are correct to share competing messages, but a more proactive risk management approach is needed to offer a level of real comfort to current and potential international students.
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Inventor’s life could inspire business schools worldwide

“His passion for education and inspiring future generations to take a chance was legendary”

Trevor Baylis left school without any qualifications but went on to become one of Britain’s most renowned inventors. Kamal Bechkoum, head of business and technology at the University of Gloucestershire reflects on the mark that Baylis left on the world and what higher education institutions can learn from his genius.

I was tremendously saddened to hear of the recent death of Trevor Baylis OBE, creator of the wind-up radio that helped millions in the developing world access essential and life-saving information.

His passing marks not just the loss of a great inventor; it also offers an impressive life story that business, science and technology schools across the globe can learn from when encouraging their students to fulfil a need, doggedly protect one’s own intellectual property, or face down the seemingly impossible. 

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U.S. is Losing an Opportunity for Economic Growth

International students studying in the US become powerful contributors to the economy…impacting foreign relations in ways that can lead to global growth. 

It is easy to view the value of international students in terms of economic impact says Gretchen M. Bataille, senior consultant at Navitas USA. But, as she explains, international students contribute much more than tuition fees, and unfortunately, the US seems to be missing the memo. 

Education is not often considered an export. However, contrary to images of barges laden with goods, the United States’ most valuable exports are services, including education. In July 2017, services accounted for over one-third of total exports at $65.8 billion.

International students studying in the US become powerful contributors to the economy and contribute new ideas, lifestyles, values, and experiences to their home countries, transforming their local economies and impacting foreign relations in ways that can lead to global growth.

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How to encourage students to pursue a career in the international education sector

“Let students know that the opportunities for professional development are vast in the international education sector”

For those already working in the international education sector, you know what a rewarding career lies in store for those just starting out, writes Laura Slingo of CV-Library. But for the vast majority of students currently studying, they are unaware of the opportunities that could be waiting for them. You can find more advice 

To share your knowledge and encourage more students to pursue a career in the international education sector, here are our five tips:

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Best practice for welcoming international students

“There has never been a greater need to welcome and support international students so their experiences are happy ones”

In a time of far-right movements in Europe, Trump in the US and Brexit in the UK, international students need to be welcomed more than ever, argues Pat Moores, director and co-founder of UK Education Guide. She digs into recent best practice studies that ensure international students feel welcomed and supported.

Across the globe there are, at best, ‘mixed messages’ from national governments about how welcome international students are, making the complex marketing exercise of attracting and then welcoming international students even more challenging.

Therefore, there has never been a greater need to welcome and support international students so their experiences are happy ones and they then become advocates, promoting study in the UK and other host countries.

Historically, universities felt it was most helpful to have separate fresher’s weeks for international and domestic students, but some are now feeling that this separation right at the start of the student experience is not helpful.

As the Guardian has reported, Bournemouth University made a conscious decision to bring home and international students together during fresher’s week.

“We used to have a separate induction programme for these students, but we felt that it was isolating them,” explains Mandi Barron, Bournemouth’s head of student services. “Now we just badge some events that we think would be particularly useful for international students, but non-international students are welcome to attend if they want.”

The university also runs pre-arrival webinars on topics such as visas and UK culture for students, and trains staff to be aware of the different cultural needs they may encounter. But it is also wary of treating international students differently.

“We try not to focus on a homogenous group and more on individual needs,” says Barron. “Rather than having an international students department, we have a one-stop-shop service for all students, because if you’ve got an accommodation problem you’ve got an accommodation problem, and a complaint is a complaint, whether you’re international or British.”

Whilst Bournemouth is approaching the task of welcoming international students from the perspective of focusing on similarities, rather than differences, between students from different nations, Nottingham Trent University is taking a different approach.

The university is trialling a new scheme that helps international students celebrate their differences in background and culture. A project funded through a UKCISA grant sees international students lecture other students on aspects of their home culture, helping them gain academic confidence while educating others.

“It’s very small scale because it’s the first year they’ve run it,” UKCISA director of policy and services Julie Allen explains. “But this is a really good example of recognising the resources that these students are bringing rather than thinking that students who’ve come from outside the UK are in deficit or need additional support.”

The focus of celebrating differences to help educate the whole student body is backed up by research in the US. Contact between domestic and international students has also shown significant benefit to domestic students, as recent studies of US alumni have found, a significantly larger proportion of highly interactive (in terms of international student engagement) U.S. students in one cohort not only seriously questioned their political beliefs, but also challenged their beliefs about other religions, other races or ethnicities, and people with other sexual orientations, than did their non-interactive peers.

These initiatives highlighted have an important aspect in common – they are clear that forcing ‘integration’ is not a good way forward. Bournemouth’s initiatives are aimed at treating each student on their specific needs, regardless of country of origin and Trent is celebrating the individual experiences of overseas students to help benefit the whole student body.

Further afield, in Canada, the Université Laval in Quebec, which came top in the 2014 International Student Barometer for its welcome experience, focuses on a broad program to help its international students adapt to student life in Canada. The program focuses on practical issues like support in setting up a bank account and links to local families to experience Quebec culture.

Alongside helping international students understand local practical and cultural differences, there is also a requirement to be immediately ready to help international students who need additional learning support.

While US and UK pedagogy is more interactive, a recent US study* has once again highlighted that some international students simply don’t understand what is expected of them within the learning environment. For example, many are surprised that they are expected to answer questions and offer viewpoints in class or seminars.

A final note is a recent study completed by igraduate that shows that the challenges faced by international students on arrival are somewhat different from the fears prior to departure. Therefore, improving online sources of information and online interaction with a university and other students prior to arrival can arguably help address some of these concerns.

“Universities can produce their own closed MOOCs designed specifically to educate their foreign students about life on campus including insights about cultural norms. These could be offered as part of the recruitment process as part of a ‘no surprises’ approach,” suggests Simon Nelson CEO from FutureLearn, a social learning platform that offers free and paid-for online courses and degrees from over 150 leading universities and organisations across the world.

*The findings are from the survey Policies and Practices in Enrollment and Student Affairs, which was conducted in March 2017 by Maguire Associates of Concord, MA, for the ETS TOEFL Program. The results are based on the responses of 556 recruitment and admissions officers at two- and four-year, public and private institutions, including both undergraduate and graduate programs.

MOOCs: Still Big News for International Learners

“We shouldn’t underestimate how important MOOCs can still be for global students”

 

Clarissa Shen, vice president of Udacity, recently declared MOOCs dead, “a failed product,” sparking yet another round of commentary in the blogosphere. While it is true that MOOCs have neither saved nor destroyed higher education as we know it (as was predicted early on), they are far from dead, writes Laurie Pickard, author of “Don’t pay for your MBA” and nopaymba.com.

The number of online courses continues to grow, and the number of students registering for and completing them continues to tick upward. More than 23 million people registered for a MOOC in 2016. 2017’s numbers haven’t yet been published, but data from the MOOC search engine Class Central suggests that more than 80 million people have taken at least one MOOC. Importantly, people around the world are still learning that MOOCs exist. For these new learners, MOOCs aren’t old news. They are still exciting, new, and full of potential.

I still remember my own excitement when I first learned that top-tier universities were offering free versions of their classes. I felt I needed a business education to further my career, but I wasn’t interested in getting into debt to fund an MBA.

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A new Golden Age for Internationalisation. But can we get it right this time?

“The challenges this time round, in a much more competitive environment, are to learn from the mistakes made last time, and build sustainable financial models “

Who could have predicted, even just a year ago, that internationalisation would need to be back at the top of university agendas in the way that it was in many institutions throughout the 2000s? So asks Vincenzo Raimo, pro-vice-chancellor (Global Engagement) at the University of Reading. 

Full-degree, on-shore, international students were the growth engine of UK universities in the 2000s.

If HEIs wanted to grow and prosper there were limited opportunities to do so at home: student numbers were highly regulated and growth capped; so by definition university income was also effectively capped. Surpluses were almost non-existent.

By the start of this decade, international was starting to look a little less attractive and its dominant position as our universities’ growth engine was waning.

“But we didn’t  predict the changes: Brexit and the potential losses it could incur; and the burgeoning debate around fees and growth among UK politicians”

 

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How can UK boarding schools help smooth the transition to university for international students?

“One excellent example of specific support for international students is putting final year students in touch with alumni who are currently at the universities the student might be considering”

As parents know, selecting a university is about more than accessing the latest subject and university rankings. The challenge is even harder for parents who may be several thousand miles away, writes Pat Moores, director and co-founder of UK Education Guide.

Therefore, the responsibility for helping international students find the right university often relies on the diligence of boarding schools.

Some schools offer the same support for international students as they do for UK students, but it is hard not to think that they need more, recognising the lack of direct parental input.

As Caroline Nixon, General Secretary of BAISIS comments: “International students need greater support than UK pupils, not the same…parents don’t understand the process and are remote.”

“University websites make it quite difficult to find basic information, as the focus is on a detailed examination of facilities themselves”

Some schools argue that if their pupils are prepared properly, it is right that they lead the process, not the school or parents.

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Documentation in times of crisis

“If documents are destroyed, what options does a student have? What happens when the infrastructure is unstable? If records are held online, but there’s no internet available, how is that information obtained?”

In the event of war, economic hardship or natural disasters, students are not always able to provide the standard educational documents, writes research & knowledge management evaluator at Educational Credential Evaluators Melissa Ganiere. So what can be done in times of turmoil to ensure that student qualifications are accessible?

At ECE, we recommend that institutions try to be flexible when dealing with exceptional cases. However, we understand that schools need to adhere to standards while simultaneously keeping the needs and best interests of the student in mind.

The final decision regarding what documents are acceptable is up to your institution. Some best practices have been adopted for documentation issues you might encounter during a crisis.  These may help you gain flexibility without damaging your credibility.

Our top five guidelines for dealing with unusual situations are:

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