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UK launches int’l ambassador scheme

As part of the campaign #Weareinternational, the UK is launching an international student ambassador program, which is being run by student-facing organisation UKCISA.

International students in the UK at UKCISA forumInternational students attending the forum, held as part of IEW. Photo: UKCISA

"It really shows that we need to have more of these conversations with students"

Announced to coincide with International Education Week, the #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador Programme will be a “leadership development scheme” for exceptional individuals from around the world, who are currently studying and living in the UK.

This initiative is part of a broader mission to better listen to the voices of international students once they are in the country, and UKCISA also held a one-day forum to enable students to share experiences with wider stakeholders.

Anne-Marie Graham, chief executive of UKCISA, told The PIE News that the event surpassed all of her expectations.

“I was worried the students would be reticent about talking to each other and talking about big issues and I was very wrong. They have just been fantastic,” she shared.

“It really shows that we need to have more of these conversations with them”.

Key takeaways from the raw feedback of students there on the day were that they want a lot more support  around careers and employability, Graham said.

She noted that research being jointly funded by UKCISA and UUKi in this regard is therefore timely.

“Also making the visa system a little bit more in line with our international strategy ambitions,” she added.

“Making sure the system is there in place to deliver on that [ambition to welcome more students].”

The forum was closed out with a reception and keynote from a compelling international student, Rex Béchu, a student from France studying at the University of Sheffield.

She told the crowd she dreamed of coming to the UK and ending up with a British husband. Instead, she was returning to France to do a master’s, but she realised that her love affair had in fact been with the UK.

“We are not one group of people,” she told the crowd, “but we are all passionate about this country”.


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