Creating an effective environment for international students2                                                                                                                                                                                                  



Creating an effective environment for international students2

A group of students in a university café

Meeting other students


The fourth area of activity in the UK Professional Standards Framework is:
‘Developing effective environments and student support and guidance’.
These activities will look at the different facets of the life of international students at universities in the UK, going beyond the specifically academic requirements of teaching, learning, and assessment, in order to see their experience holistically. You will review recent research conducted by UKCOSA (now UKCISA): ‘The Council for International Education is the national advisory body serving the interests of international students in the UK and those who work with them’.

Each activity has a Portfolio Activity associated with it that can be incorporated into a portfolio for personal or assessment purposes. A Linking Activity which synthesises the 3 activities is also available.


• To review research into the experience of international students.
• To consider what factors are needed to create an internationalised institution.
• To design an appropriate framework of creating suitable environments for international students in our own institutions.

Activity 1: ‘Broadening our horizons’: a report of research conducted in 2004 by UKCOSA

This is a report of research conducted in 2004 by UKCOSA into the experiences of international students in UK universities and colleges, and so is the most extensive and most recent research into this topic. The focus of this activity is on aspects of the students’ experiences beyond teaching and learning, so will focus on those parts of the report which deal with living, social, integration, and support services.


Read the extracts below from the Executive Summary  of the report and indicate whether you find them pleasing , surprising and/or worrying.


Read the Executive summary and full report

“More than three-quarters of students were happy with the quality of small group teaching such as seminars”


“Concerns about homesickness and islolation and about difficulties in mixing with UK students remained higher than many others towards the end of the year, suggesting that for a small proportion of students these issues were never really resolved”

“Students from non-EU countries found it very much harder than EU students to find work”

Additional Resources

Additional resources:

Devlin, Siobhan. Support Mechanisms




Activity 2: Investigating the institutional environment

The conclusion of the Executive Summary of UKCOSA’s report into the experiences of international students in the UK, ‘Broadening our Horizons’ states that:
‘Institutions will want to benchmark their own performance against the points raised in the report, which cover a wide range of topics, including teaching and learning issues, language and study skills; resources and take up of support services; provision of information pre- and post-arrival; policies relating to fees and financial support; accommodation issues; and integrations of international and UK students.’
For this activity the topics being focussed on are those outside of teaching and learning, and these can include
• resources and support services
• information pre- and post-arrival
• fees and finance
• accommodation
• integration of international and UK students


Look at the following issues identified by the UKCOSA (now UKCISA) report  and indicate where you and you students might look to for further support and/or information.



View the full report 

Broadening our Horizons


Write any text for the interactive task item here

Additional Resources

(OPTIONAL) Write a sentence linking any extra resource to the main activity here, making it clear what the purpose of the resource is.

Then insert a link to your extra resource here and indicate the file type and size e.g. Transcript ( pdf 30KB).

Dependent resources that you might wish to consider including are: a Word doc for the learner to complete; a transcript of an audio or a text for offline reading in pdf format.

© Alison Dickens, University of Southampton

Created using the LOC Tool, University of Southampton