Sessions A - Wednesday 28 June, 3.15-4.15pm
A1 Exploring the use of ‘WeChat’ as a social media tool to engage Chinese students
Category: General interest, UKCISA funded project/research
This presentation will focus on the approach, findings and impact of the project funded by
UKCISA. The project aims to promote the International Student Support services available at The
University of Sheffield for our Chinese students, with a special focus on immigration, integration and
careers service, through one of the most popular social media tools - ‘WeChat’ (‘Weixin’ in Chinese).
It will provide an insight in ‘WeChat’ as a new channel to communicate with Chinese students.
There will be a live demonstration on how the WeChat platform operates and how to publish a post
on WeChat. There will also be an opportunity for audience to take part in an interactive session on
WeChat. Audience are encouraged to bring their smart phone/mobile device to attend the session.
Target Audience: Professional service staff working with international students and those with an
interest in developing new way to communicate and engage Chinese/international students.
Presenters: Fang Zheng, International Student Adviser, The University
Of Sheffield; Yiyun Ling, Sheffield China Gateway Scheme Coordinator, The
University Of Sheffield
Fang works as an International Student Adviser at the University of Sheffield. Her primary role is
to provide immigration advice to International students studying with Tier 4 student visa. She also
has a strong interest in working with International students in non-immigration areas and providing
support for enhancing the international student experience.
Ling works as Sheffield China Gateway Scheme Coordinator at the Careers Service, the University of
Sheffield. The scheme is to match Chinese speaking students at the University of Sheffield with UK
businesses that are developing trading links with China, by the provision of placement opportunities
with such businesses. It provides the businesses with language and culture skills, improves students
employability skills, and most of all enhances UK - China mutual economic benefits in the long term
through alumni relationship development.
A2 GradLink UK: how UWE Bristol's award-winning careers site can help your
international students to compete effectively in the global graduate job market
Category: Student experience
GradLink (www.gradlinkUK.com) is a specialist careers site for international students studying in
the UK. The website, produced by the University of the West of England, has a global network of
over 400 overseas employers, and has been used by thousands of international students from over
100 UK universities. GradLink has been shortlisted for five major awards in three years (including
winner of the Times Higher Award).
Development of the GradLink site has involved travelling to work closely with graduate employers
across Asia, Africa and America. This has provided a unique insight into what global employers really
look for in UK graduates, and how international students should be selling their UK education
This session will present some of these key findings of this work. It will also explain how
international students at your university can benefit from the GradLink site, and how your staff can
use it in their work.
Presenter: David Gee, Head Of Global Employability; Founder of
GradLink UK, University Of The West Of England, Bristol
David is Head of Global Employability at UWE Bristol and Founder of GradLink UK, the awardwinning
careers site for international students. David has travelled extensively to work with
graduate employers and organisations across the globe for the development of the GradLink site,
and he has built a very strong understanding of overseas graduate job markets. David has
contributed to government research reports and national newspaper articles on global
employability. He has also spoken at numerous key conferences in the UK and overseas.
A3 Advice work on Planet SID
Category: Immigration compliance
This session reflects on how International Student Advice work at Exeter has changed since the
introduction of the Student Information Desk (SID) 5 years ago. We will be demonstrating the
system’s functionality from diary management to casenotes, correspondence and document
storage. We explore how to achieve OISC compliance and provide a smooth service on an online
platform. We will also explore how the one-stop-shop idea has evolved over time and how this has
affected the various services it frontlines, International Student Support being just one of them.
Presenters: Suzanne Aburagheb, International Student Support Team
Leader, University Of Exeter; Laura Shepherd, International Student Adviser,
University Of Exeter
Suzanne and Laura are International Student Advisers at the University of Exeter.
Suzanne has worked on campus since 2007 in a wide range of roles involving different aspects of the
international student journey from recruitment to programme administration but mostly
immigration advice. In her current role she is responsible for the implementation of immigration
policy and process within the International Student Support Office and manages the advisers and
support staff within the team.
Laura has over 16 years in the advice world under her belt, in wide ranging roles at universities and
in the voluntary sector. She is an experienced trainer on advice work topics and currently copresents
the Cultural Awareness training for staff at the University. Laura is passionate about
developing quality services that exceed the expectations of the international student
A4 Alumni and international students
Category: General interest
This session discusses the benefits of international teams, registry and alumni offices working
together to support and build lifelong relationships with students and alumni. The session will cover
the challenges to collaborative working and how these challenges can be overcome. We draw on the
experience of a previous UKCISA Pilot Project to use international alumni to aid pre-departure
support for international students to improve satisfaction and performance. We talk about the
benefits of participating in the British Council Alumni Awards, including case studies and examples of
different ways universities have used their involvement to enhance student recruitment and
support. We discuss ways to demonstrate the value of international students and alumni to an
institution, the higher education sector and the UK as a whole and why it is important for HE to
invest in this.
Presenters: Bryony Inge, Alumni Campaign Manager, British Council;
Alice Perry, Head of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving, London School of
Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Bryony is Alumni Campaign Manager at the British Council. She manages the Alumni Awards, an
awards scheme that celebrates UK universities' outstanding alumni and how they've used their UK
education to make a positive difference to their community, society and countries around the world,
Bryony has worked at the British Council for ten years on a number of large-scale programmes.
Alice is Head of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving at London School of Hygiene & Tropical
Medicine. Alice has worked in Alumni Relations for over 10 years. Prior to joining the School, Alice
was Deputy Head of Alumni and Development at University of London International Programmes.
Alice has worked closely with colleagues in higher education international marketing and student
recruitment throughout her professional career. At the School Alice successfully applied to run a
prestigious Prime Minister’s Initiative Pilot Project to explore ways involve international alumni in
pre-departure support and establish best practice for the sector.
A5 AISA - you're not alone - how to network online and at regional meetings to share
best practice with other advisers
Category: General interest
Do you wish you could communicate with other advisers and share good practices? If you are a
member of AISA you can! Come to this interactive session to find out more about the benefits of
being an AISA member and how you can use our new LinkedIn group to share resources and ideas. If
you prefer face to face networking you can find out about our regional networking groups that take
place twice a year. We would like to hear your ideas about how we could improve networking
opportunies and on-line presence. This session is for AISA members and non members.
Presenters: Sally Saca, Head Of International Student Advice
Team/AISA chair, Oxford Brookes University; Sarah Sherwin, International
Student Adviser/AISA Secretary, University of Bristol
Sally is Head of International Student Advice Team at Oxford Brookes University and is
repsonisble for advice, compliance and the international student welcome and social programmes.
Sally has worked at Brookes for 9 years having previously worked in similar roles supporting
international students at the University of Bath and the University of Sussex. She has been a
member of the AISA Executive for 3 years and in currently one of the Joint Chairs.
Sarah is an International Student Adviser at the University of Bristol. She works within the
International Student Visa Advice and Compliance team. Sarah has worked at Bristol for 9 years
having previously worked as an adviser in both FE and HE since 1999. Sarah has also worked in
education as a student financial adviser and housing adviser. Sarah has been a member of AISA
Executive for 3 years and is currently the AISA Secretary.
A6 The changing landscape of international education – using data insights to
understand student perceptions and expectations
Category: General interest
In an increasingly volatile world the UK is facing intense competition to recruit and maintain its
market share of international students. At the same time students and parents have become even
more discerning, with their needs and expectations evolving rapidly, presenting a real challenge for
staff that work in international student support services. This session will share with attendees the
latest online search and enquiry trends from Hotcourses as well as the findings from IDP’s most
recent annual student buying behaviour study. This will help to foster greater understanding of
emerging patterns of demand in key overseas markets and also demonstrate how the UK is
perceived in terms of key attributes such as safety, visa accessibility, affordability and graduate
employability in comparison to other study destinations.
Presenters: Petra Vahalova, Marketing Officer, IDP Education; Aaron Porter, Director Of Insights, Hotcourses
Petra has been part of the IDP team since 2011. In addition to her current role within the Marketing Team, where she is involved in both internal and external communications, she has enjoyed roles within the Client Relationship Team as well as a six-month secondment to Bangkok as the UK Destination Manager for South East Asia. Prior to IDP, Petra worked in educational tourism, sales and marketing.
Aaron Porter is the Director of Insights for the Hotcourses Group. He works extensively across the
higher education sector, both domestically and internationally. A previous President of the National
Union of Students (NUS), he has also served on the board of HEFCE, UCAS, the Higher Education
Academy and the European Students' Union.
A7 The virtual diary - from induction to acculturation
Category: Student experience
The Virtual Diary project involved the newly arriving international students creating online video diaries that communicated their journey to Manchester. The video documents the whole process from when they decided to study their subject and the reasons they chose to come to the UK, not just the physical journey. The aim of this induction project was to help international students to understand and adapt towards their new learning culture. It was embedded with support structures and facilitated activities to aid acculturation and Peer
Mentors to facilitate sessions.
The presentation will talk you through the project and include first hand feedback from students,
actual video diaries, best practice that came out of the research and will look at how this induction
process can be adapted and translated in other contexts.
Presenters: Janine Goldsworthy, International Student Experience
Tutor, Manchester School Of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University; Alan
Holmes, International Director, Manchester School Of Art, Manchester Metropolitan
Janine Goldsworthy is International Student Experience Tutor in Manchester School of Art.
Janine has worked for three years developing research projects to aid acculturation and
internationalisation of the curriculum in the school of art, working directly with international
students from arrival to graduation both BA and MA. Janine teaches on the MA Professional
Platforms module and has taught for two years on the International Art and Design Foundation.
Janine is a practicing Fine Artist and Director of Ny Space Gallery in Manchester and has recently
returned from residencies and exhibitions in China and the Netherlands.
Alan Holmes is the International Director for Manchester School of Art, responsible for
implementing the faculty’s strategy on International work which includes international recruitment,
developing relationships with partner institutes and leading on internationalisation of the Art School
A8 Social and interactive activities for international Students - a joint presentation by
the University of York and Oxford Brookes University
Category: Student experience
The University of York will outline their Winter Hosting programme, which matches
international students alone at Christmas with members of staff and the local community and
provides students with an insight into a traditional British Christmas. Oxford Brookes will discuss
their social activities aimed to give to the students a bigger role in their social programme, i.e. not
just simply attending but having an active role. Some of the most popular activities are: the
International Students’ Quiz, Global Buddies' social meetings, weekend trips and the Languages
Presenters: Alison Learwood, Immigration & International Support
Adviser, University Of York; Louise Saunderson, Immigration & International
Support Manager, University Of York; Laura Granda-Mateu, International Student
Administrator/ Event Coordinator, Oxford Brookes University; Stephen Davies,
International Student Adviser, Oxford Brookes University
Alison has worked as an Immigration & International Support adviser for the last 9 years at the
University of York. Previously she was a Civil Servant and was a Home Office Presenting Officer in
Immigration appeal courts.
Louise has worked in the Education sector for many years, at a number of institutions. She has
introduced a number of initiatives during her 8 years at the University of York and Winter Hosting is
one that she is particulalry proud of, feeling that it has had a very positive impact on the student
experience for the international student population.
Laura Granda-Mateu graduated in 2008 with a Master’s in History and Cultural Anthropology. Since then
she has acquired a background in the field of cultural and social events management, working in
different institutions and Not-for-profit organizations, in diverse countries such as Bulgaria, Mexico,
Stephen Davies has been an international Student Adviser for over ten years and specialises in
creating and using technological solutions.
A9 The OIA: our approach to reviewing complaints and cases involving international
Category: Special interest
This session is aimed at staff who want to know more about the OIA and our procedures.
Delegates will have the opportunity to develop their understanding of the role and remit of the OIA,
to discover how the OIA looks at complaints and through the use of case studies, discuss common
themes in complaints and appeals, particularly those relating to international students. There will be
lots of opportunity to ask questions.
Presenters: Alison Walker, Assistant Adjudicator, OIA; Claire
Skelly, Assistant Adjudicator, OIA
Alison joined the OIA in October 2013 as an Assistant Adjudicator working on a range of complex
complaints across a variety of subject areas, including those involving international students. Alison
has a background, in Higher Education administration, mainly specialising in academic quality and
standards and academic appeals. Prior to joining the OIA she was an Assistant Registrar with
responsibility for academic appeals and academic regulations at Kingston University. Over the
previous 15 years she also worked at the University of West London, Royal Holloway University of
London and the National Union of Students.
Claire has been an Assistant Adjudicator at the OIA since November 2015. At the OIA she works on a
broad range of complex complaints across a variety of subject areas, including those involving
international students. Prior to the OIA, Claire worked as an Investigator at the Parliamentary and
Health Service Ombudsman where she was responsible for conducting investigations into complex
complaints relating to NHS care and services.
A10 Enhancing the employability of UK-educated Chinese students
Category: Special interest
This session will share the outcomes of our research into Chinese student career planning; and illustrate
how this research has been used to develop a suite of open access Pre-Arrival and Enterprise
Education materials to enhance the employability of Chinese students.
The objectives are:
- To provide a picture of the opportunities and challenges for UK-educated Chinese students (and
other nationalities) to enter the Chinese labour market on graduation.
- To share these sector-wide, open access Pre Arrival and Enterprise Education materials and online
- To look at how these resources can be further developed to support the UK sector.
- To discuss the challenges and opportunities in supporting UK-educated Chinese students and what
next steps we may wish to take as a sector.
This will be of interest to anyone with contact with UK-educated Chinese students; an interest in understanding more about
the Chinese labour market and the attributes Chinese employers look for, mapped against Chinese
students' career perspectives.
Presenter: Esther De Perlaky, International Employer Liaison
Manager, University Of Warwick
Esther works as the International Employer Liaison Manger at the University of Warwick. During
her four years in this role, Esther has focused on developing not only international graduate
employer relationships but also initiating strategies to develop students' employability skills and
Over the past 18 months, Esther's particular focus has been on working, sector-wide, to enhance the
employability of UK-educated Chinese students. Esther's work has encompassed managing UK and
China research projects to better understand the perspectives of Chinese students, alumni and
graduate employers. Esther is currently using this research to develop, through funding from the UK
Government, a suite of resources for UK careers practitioners and UK-educated Chinese students to
support and enhance employability outcomes.