Get UK students out of comfort zone and engaging with international peers

Aug 11, 2015 by

college students

The challenge is to convince home students that they can benefit from working and socialising with international students

A concern sometimes expressed about the UK’s success in attracting international students is that the experience of home students will be weakened: classes will be swamped by those with poor English, residential ghettos of foreign students will emerge, and segregation will become the norm in student clubs and societies. And indeed with the growth of pathway programmes whereby international students spend months preparing for admission to their degree programmes, there are fears that such students will never break out of the international friendship groups they form on arrival.

So what actions can university authorities and others take to prevent this from happening?

Increase student intakes from other countries

Government and university policies have rightly dictated that international students must have competence in English to be successful – this is vital from both an academic and social perspective. In addition universities and pathway providers are increasingly recognising that diversity among the international student cohort is beneficial. And it isn’t a question of cutting back on recruitment from the buoyant Chinese market: rather the need is to increase student intakes from other world regions. Students from Latin America, for example, are woefully under-represented on UK campuses.

Student housing is a pertinent issue effecting integration, particularly in those cities where a separate housing sub-market has developed, catering for particular student groups – especially the Chinese. But if students don’t initially want to live in mixed nationality groups there are other ways of generating the confidence to live, work and learn with others.

Source: Get UK students out of comfort zone and engaging with international peers | Higher Education Network | The Guardian

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