The Students’ Union and International Student Support Team are closely working together to make sure international students feel more at home at Sussex through improved communication, better living arrangements and career development opportunities, integration with home students and that they are able to get involved with events and other social aspects of university life.
These are a few of the things that have changed as a result of this important work:
The Students’ Union has hired a Sussex student as our first ever Mandarin Translator, tasked to improve communications with the large Mandarin-speaking community at Sussex. Look out for translated messages around campus and on social media.
Staff, elected officers and volunteers at the Students’ Union speak a wide range of different languages so we have introduced language badges so you can see who speaks your language when being served at our outlets and in Falmer House.
The International Students’ Forum met twice last term, providing a place for international students to voice any concerns they may have. Current achievements so far from this forum include:
- a paper was submitted to the university housing office on the conditions international students living in hotels are dealing with.
- lighting issues on campus were resolved following an audit undertaken by university staff and students from the forum.
- the Students’ Union is re-considering the timing of its recruitment at the start of Autumn term to better suit international students and first year students
- Ankush Singh, International Students’ Representative, has linked up with local MP Caroline Lucas to work together in celebrating international students in the community and running a campaign to tackle hate crime in Brighton and Hove. Students from the forum are involved in these conversations.
The Language Cafe expanded its English table to provide English language confidence sessions
The International Student Support Team have offered “Academic Ask Me Anything Workshops” and the Careers Centre have produced recordings of their “Getting Started” talk and are hosting a fantastic programme of events for International students. Further workshops and support sessions are currently being planned.
The Students’ Union are organising a wider range of events to be more inclusive to the diverse student body through:
Having more off campus events
Collaborating with the Buddy Scheme
Holding meet ups before big events for those living in hotels
Having more culturally themed events
Creating a Culture Fund (accessed via the Societies Fund)
One World Week is coming up this term so don’t forget to get involved!
Adèle Duvillier, Students’ Union Activities Officer 2016-2017 explains why she started this research project:
“....As a non-native English speaking international student I noticed throughout my three years as a student at Sussex that international students were often not as integrated as home students. The idea behind this piece of research was to find out what were the barriers (cultural, institutional etc.) between international students and the Students’ Union and the University so we could change our approach and work better around international students.”
Adele’s research project resulted in the International Students Engagement Report (available on demand) that identified further action to be taken along the themes of communication, events, integration, and employability. Lulah Strathearn Brady, Undergraduate Education Officer 2017-18 pledged to continue this work: “starting life at university can be difficult at the best of times, let alone for students who travel from across the world to study at Sussex. International students often experience issues not faced by students who have spent their life in the UK. That’s why we plan to identify these barriers to success and address them, to allow their time at Sussex to be as rewarding as possible”.
Alongside colleagues at the International Student Support Team, we continue to work towards improving international students’ experience at Sussex. We recognise that it can be intimidating studying and living in a new country and the more settled and happy you are at Sussex, the better experience you’ll have. We welcome any contribution, suggestions or comments about this work from all students and staff at Sussex.
If you would like to get involved in this work please contact Natalie, Student Voice Manager at email@example.com
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