#ChangingLivesforGood, a social media campaign, aims to give the whole UK international education sector the opportunity to reflect on how international students can transform their lives through overseas study, the ways staff help them to do so and how they can transform the lives of others when returning home.
“[It’s crucial] that we recognise the huge benefits which our international students bring to our economy and our communities”
UKCISA, which warned that visa regulations were killing the UK’s reputation as far back as 2011, will celebrate its 50th Anniversary Conference next June and is introducing the hashtag to give credit to the five million international students who have studied in the UK over the course of the body’s lifetime.
Chief executive, Dominic Scott said that “UKCISA will be using the theme extensively but we hope that institutions might adopt it too, as they did with #WeAreInternational”.
#WeAreInternational, a campaign started by the University of Sheffield, aimed to spread a more welcoming image of the UK as a destination for international students.
Scott hopes that UK member institutions, which includes every university in the UK and the majority of further education colleges, will “contribute their own stories on how [our members] are helping to change lives, how … students are transforming theirs and helping others.”
He says that the positive impact of international students should be emphasised at a time when there are concerns about the challenges of Brexit and the government’s possible re-assessment of its immigration policy.
“[It should be clear] how crucial it has been and continues to be – and especially at this time – that we recognise the huge benefits which our international students bring to our economy, our campuses and our communities,” Scott said.
UKCISA expects the hashtag to be used to share student union projects, volunteering programs, how different nationalities come together and learn from each other and how recent alumni are using their newly gained expertise and skills back home. It will be sharing content that it has compiled from a photography competition it held in 2017.