The Netherlands, identity & the internationalisation of education

“In contrast to what some parties maintain, internationalisation poses no threat to our Dutch identity”

 

Director-general of Nuffic Freddy Weima believes that the internationalisation of education is not a threat to identity. On the contrary, he writes, it strengthens the position of the Netherlands in the world.

International students predominate‘, ‘Stop this English madness‘, ‘Universities aim to reduce international student numbers‘ – the past few months have seen a headline bonanza. The public debate has focused on the problems supposedly caused by the internationalisation of higher education, such as a lack of student accommodation and the imminent demise of the Dutch language.
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How to win international students with a mobile-first approach

“Mobile content and understanding how international students communicate is key to attracting top applicants”

Global student mobility has never been higher: there are now almost five million international students around the world at various stages of their studies.

However, despite an increase in student numbers between 1995 and 2010, growth has slowed and there is huge competition between schools, colleges and universities. Students can now pick from an ever-expanding number of establishments around the world, as well as highly respected courses online.

As applicants use technology to do everything from researching schools right through to completing their applications, it is crucial that establishments provide a high-quality digital experience, which reflects the content and experiences that students engage with daily.
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Access to education: one idea, many actions

“What we didn’t have back then was a way to reach people in refugee contexts as it’s unlikely they’d know to look for our learning content”

This Refugee Week, Chloe Shaw, partnerships strategy manager at Cambridge Assessment English shares how a suggestion from a colleague has turned into a flourishing staff-led initiative focused on helping give refugees and asylum seekers access to education.

Back in 2016, we were in the throes of an organisational change program and a key part of that was around hearing from staff about what matters to them and what kind of organisation they wanted to be working for. It was also a time when the global refugee crisis was rarely out of the media.

One of our colleagues, Sarah Rogerson, put forward the idea that, as a global education organisation, we could be doing more to help forced migrants. Very quickly a small team formed around this idea and began to plan.

MOOCathon

Given what we do is help people learn English, we already offer a lot of free learning materials and different kinds of teacher support. What we didn’t have back then was a way to reach people in refugee contexts as it’s unlikely they’d know to look for our learning content or be studying in a typical classroom situation.

So our starting point was to talk to lots of people – our existing partners, NGOs, charities and grassroots organisations – to build up our knowledge of the challenges learners face in these contexts. We also went to events, such as the British Council Language for Resilience conference and a Techfugees Hackathon, to learn more and network. We quickly found that we could play a role in bringing people together.

So not just us partnering with other organisations to make things happen but also facilitating conversations and bringing people together who might not otherwise meet. This led us to organise our own conference with Techfugees so we could get refugees, teachers, educators, NGO, charities and investors all together in the same room to work on some specific language education challenges.

One of the most exciting solutions to come out of the event was our free online courses.

Filming the MOOC

We announced the first in April 2017. ‘Aim higher’ helps refugees and asylum seekers access higher education in the UK. SOAS University of London, UCAS, University of Nottingham, British Council, The Student Room, Article 26, Techfugees and Star Network all helped to make this course a reality and over 3,000 people registered for the first two runs of the course.

We’re also helping people prove their skills by offering exam bursaries for several of our English exams, including C1 Advanced and OET (Occupational English Test). Through our IT department, we now clean up and donate our old laptops and mobile phones and donate them to refugee charities in places like Lebanon, France and Greece. Staff in our Assessment department have also been teaching refugees online and face to face.

We were delighted to be shortlisted for a PIEoneer Award last year for all our work in this area which has spurred us on to achieve even more.

PIE AWARDS

This Refugee Week, we’re putting a call out to people who might like to help us launch an online ‘Language for employability’ course. We know from speaking to teachers at IATEFL this year that there’s already a lot of interest.

So, if you think you can help, please do get in touch. In fact, we’d love to hear from you if you have other ideas of how we could collaborate to help refugees access education – you can reach us at partnerships@cambridgeenglish.org

Refugee week is a program of arts, cultural and educational event and activities that celebrate the contribution of refugees and promotes a better understanding of why people seek sanctuary. 

Project-Management Tools To Help International Students

“Great project management tools will help students save time, break language barriers, and communicate in real time”

There’s no question that managing multiple school projects simultaneously, whether personal or with a group, can be challenging. International students may find this more difficult as they face language barriers and time differences if they travel home at any point during an academic term.

Luckily, there are several tools online that can assist students in making productivity a reality. Trello, Slack, and Asana are all 100% online and give students the ability to track progress wherever they go.
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Another ELT school shuts down in Ireland… but a positive outcome

“One student had paid almost €6,000 for both herself and her son for a six-month course, which she thought she had lost”

As reported in The PIE News, LanLearn, an English language school located in Ireland recently closed its doors affecting approximately 150 International students. The closure followed an inspection in January by the Department of Justice and Equality where a number of irregularities were discovered.

A school closure is inevitably very distressing for students who may be unaware of their rights in such circumstances. One Brazilian student affected by the closure had paid almost €6,000 for both herself and her son for a six-month course which she thought she had lost.
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How will Brexit affect the UK’s international student community?

“The changing landscape of immigration laws could mean that youngsters need to choose their degree more wisely in order to study abroad”

Since Brexit negotiations began, UCAS has reported a surprising surge of European and international students applying to study in the UK – with figures exceeding the 100,000 mark for the first time. Many have speculated that the increase in applicants is due to a fear growing among international students: that access to further education in the UK will be limited once freedom of movement has ended come 29 March 2019.

What we know:

There is no abrupt close-down for students wishing to study in the UK in the immediate future: students starting in the academic year 2018/19 can continue undisturbed since they are secured under ‘transitional protection’.
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How educational institutions can capitalise on the rise in Chinese students

“Gain a deeper understanding of the decision-making process Chinese international students and their parents go through”

With over 500,000 Chinese students heading overseas for their education every year, China remains the top country of origin for international students worldwide. This number is expected to grow proportionately to the number of China’s upper-middle-class and affluent households, which is estimated to reach 100 million by 2020.

While the US, UK and Australia remain the most popular study destinations for Chinese students, we are starting to see new trends and preferences emerging. For instance, there has been an increase in Chinese international students going to non-English speaking countries and studying at 2nd and 3rd tier universities in English-speaking countries.
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Evidencing Success for International Students in Higher Education

“It’s one thing to see growth in your international student numbers, but unless you can see them through to graduation, can that be merited as success? “

“Much discussion is had over international student recruitment numbers at conferences and in the media,” says Market Development director for NCUK Georgina Jones. However, she adds, if you try and look into how international students perform at university there seems to be very little information out there.

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) provides details for high school performance but as far as we have seen, there is nothing for higher education performance.
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A slice of happiness: making international students feel at home

“Basic physiological needs such as shelter, food, warmth are fundamental and, if they are not met, then the chances of students reaching those higher levels of self-actualisation are limited”

In light of Mental Health Awareness Week,  director of Student Services at Bellerbys College Cambridge Mary Memarzia writes about the importance of making international students feel valued and at home when they make the difficult transition to a new country, culture and way of life.

Bread – a slice of happiness’ proclaims the message on the bread bin in the student’s kitchen. And yet, something as simple as a slice of bread can trigger unhappiness – particularly if it is the cheap, white, untoasted variety, which compared to the flavoursome bread from home is (as one of my students put it) ‘like eating chalk’.

It‘s a small thing but illustrates the importance of home cooking, family mealtimes, the very taste of home, when considering factors that influence a student’s happiness.

“Home is, after all, more than a just a place to live. New accommodation may be represented as a ‘home away from home’, but it’s still ‘away from home’”

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How international students can benefit from online learning

“Sometimes learning can be a long and a tedious journey…online learning makes that journey interesting and fun”

CEO of internship & training platform Internshala Sarvesh Agrawal discusses the benefits of online learning over traditional classroom-based learning.

Many students across the globe looking for internship and job opportunities end up getting rejected, and the reason behind the rejection is often of a lack of relevant skills. Employers actively seek to hire students who have skills and knowledge that could be put to the test and be an asset to the company. One possible so to the problem is online learning.
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