Tag: mental health

Preserving the mental health of international students during national lockdown

“Open, transparent and clear communication with families is critical – now more than ever”

 

“These are unsettling times for adults, let alone international students far from home. It’s our responsibility to step up and provide them with the support they need to make it through this crisis and come out on the other side feeling happy and healthy,” writes Sarah Bakhtiari, co-principal and director of Welfare at Bellerbys College Brighton.

With Britain’s schools closed indefinitely, many international students are left stranded by travel restrictions or national lockdowns. While these students remain in the UK, institutions have a duty of care to them. At Bellerbys, we’re currently looking after 135 international students, aged between fourteen and eighteen, who are unable to return home. Here’s how we’re approaching their mental health and wellbeing.

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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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International students & the power of imagery to address mental health

“Imagery and metaphor are powerful tools for enhancing understanding with international students”

 Pat Moores director and co-founder of UK Education Guide looks at how visual aids can help to enhance understanding when working with international students and their mental health.

Much is talked about the cultural challenges that international young people face when they first arrive in the UK, but the challenges are particularly acute for international students entering the UK education system at a young age. There is a minimum of 27,000 children under the age of 18* whose parents live outside the UK and are studying at UK schools and Boarding schools.

It is difficult to argue that the challenges facing these young people aren’t greater than the international students entering the UK education aged 18 and above.
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