Excitement as Newton A-level students make the grade

As students around the world return to school and college, programme manager for the Newton A-level programme at INTO University of East Anglia, Bethan Gulliver reflects on a results day when almost 70 per cent of students achieved A or A* grades in their exams.  These students are now off to begin their university careers at some of the finest universities and a new cohort of Newton students will begin this coming week. Continue reading “Excitement as Newton A-level students make the grade”

Student arrivals breathe life into INTO Marshall University

In early fall 2013 more than 150 students from 20 countries began their studies at INTO Marshall University. This inaugural intake has already had a profound impact on the university and on the local community. In this blog post, INTO Marshall University, Center Director, Eric Fry describes how the center has come to life and how the presence of international students is enriching the experience of their American counterparts.

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Perception and reality – my humbling experience of agents’ work in China

I left INTO at the beginning of 2013 to study Mandarin Chinese full time in Kunming, China. My reasons for doing this and my experiences ‘on the other side’, as an international student, are for another day.

But, with an eye to the future, I wanted to continue some kind of association with INTO, so I approached the recruitment team in Guangzhou to see if I could assist in any way.  Despite my very basic language skills I was fortunate enough to be asked to help Tyler Nusbaum and the team with some agent events. Here I got to experience first hand the reality of the job that agents do to support students. Continue reading “Perception and reality – my humbling experience of agents’ work in China”

£67 million on visa compliance – but is the money being spent in the right areas?

The recent Higher Education Better Regulation Group report which estimated that the UK higher education sector has spent £67 million on visa compliance, got me thinking. Has it really been five years since the Points Based System (PBS) was introduced?

It immediately took me back to when I was working at the University of East Anglia and I was asked to lead on a little project for about six to eight months to make sure that the University’s visa letters had consistency across the faculties and included our new licence number.  It’s funny how that little project has evolved as per the HEBRG report and cost HE institutions £67 million, but surely that must also be seen as an investment in one of the UK’s most valuable export sectors and, more importantly in supporting students on their journey to the United Kingdom?

Continue reading “£67 million on visa compliance – but is the money being spent in the right areas?”

Can’t count, won’t count – should be made to count


Over the weekend the BBC reported that the influential Public Administration Committee claimed data used by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for estimating who enters and leaves the country were a best guess and not fit for purpose as a means of calculating net migration figures upon which major policy commitments are based. Interested observers already know that the Migration Advisory Committee also think that the ONS method is likely to significantly over-state net migration and particularly the impact of international students attending courses in the UK.

To recap, net migration is calculated as the total number of people entering the United Kingdom for a year or longer minus those who leave the country. The Coalition Government in the United Kingdom is committed to reducing the net migration number from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands. At present this is calculated based on something called the International Passenger Survey – which is a random sample of up to 5000 people each year asking them why they are entering or leaving the country.  From that the Office of National Statistics extrapolates the net migration number. A deeply flawed and unreliable mechanism, given the millions of entries and exits to the UK each year. Continue reading “Can’t count, won’t count – should be made to count”

A monstrous way to treat international students?

The very fact that international students get a space on the website of this summer’s hottest animated release reflects their importance and value to universities the world over, says INTO University Partnership’s Internal Communications Manager Mary Kalmus. But is the Monsters University webmaster delivering the full student experience?

INTO’s international students usually arrive fresh-faced and eager, yet understandably nervous, in a strange land where the language may be a challenge, the food unfamiliar and the surroundings and culture vastly – or subtly – different. Continue reading “A monstrous way to treat international students?”

Building the next generation of global ambassadors – stories to make us all proud

In this blog post, we bring you some personal stories from the graduation ceremonies at Newcastle University this week.  These stories of young lives transformed remind us why we do what we do.  The students leave university to pursue their careers and further studies, having made friends for life and with warm memories of the UK and of the North East of England.  They serve as a timely endorsement of the extent to which these students and tens of thousands of other international students enrich our campuses, communities and country.  In times of intense global competition, the whole country should be proud of what we, as a sector, achieve.  Our hats go off to colleagues in Newcastle in particular and to all of  those working in higher education delivering life-changing experiences to students from all over the world.

Continue reading “Building the next generation of global ambassadors – stories to make us all proud”

It’s the way that you tell ’em – taking a leaf out of Canada’s book.

Attracting the brightest and the best international students is a major policy priority for almost every university in the developed world and across most in the emerging economies.  Indeed a report produced by the UK’s Office of Budget Responsibility on 16th July 2013 went further and argued that the United Kingdom requires a steady flow of migration to offset the challenges of an ageing population.  This is rather at odds with how the UK is currently perceived in some quarters.

Continue reading “It’s the way that you tell ’em – taking a leaf out of Canada’s book.”

Nothing wrong with a Desmond – degree outcomes and international students

In a world where universities, employers and students are increasingly obsessed with league table performance, the number of ‘good honours’ degrees attained – defined  as 2:1s or first class degrees  – has become a significant criterion for ranking purposes. While it is entirely laudable that universities should strive to increase the number of students achieving top degree results, it does beg an obvious question: If 2:1 and firsts are good honours, does that mean students achieving 2:2s are bad or less good?

Continue reading “Nothing wrong with a Desmond – degree outcomes and international students”

Shifting Sands – Digital Futures and the 21st century classroom

For those of you who missed his inspirational keynote address at the annual INTO Staff conference held at Newcastle University on 21st June 2013, we bring a blog from Steve Wheeler, Associate Professor at Plymouth University and one of Europe’s leading speakers and researchers on digital technology and higher education.

 You can follow Steve on Twitter at @timbuckteeth


Continue reading “Shifting Sands – Digital Futures and the 21st century classroom”