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Improving the International Student Experience

With international students paying upwards of £10,000 for each year of study in the UK, it takes a top class experience to make them feel they have got value for money. New British students can struggle with arranging accommodation, finding a part-time job, making friends and managing their studies, but for international students all this can be ten times harder.

Arriving alone in a new country that speaks a foreign language can be one of the most difficult things to do, and universities have a duty to make it as easy as possible for new students. However, do they currently help enough? For every international student who finds arriving and settling in a painless process, there is a story of struggle. Even if universities are currently helping every step of the way, there is always room for improvement.

Equally, now, more than ever, not only is it the universities' duty, but it is actually essential to their survival that they keep their international students happy. The financial benefit of students from around the world (not to mention the welcome cultural diversity they bring) is now indispensible to the Higher Education sector in the UK.

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Visa Changes Hit 450 UK Colleges

More than 450 colleges in the UK have been banned from teaching foreign students, as part of new visa restrictions introduced by the government. As part of a plan to reduce immigration to the UK, there has been a crack down on bogus colleges set up simply as a way to for fake students to get visas.

For years there have been hundreds of colleges offering internationals an easy way into the UK through fake courses that allowed them to claim student visas. However, earlier this year the government announced that this abuse of the immigration system was to be put under scrutiny.

Licences Revoked

Of the 450 colleges affected so far, almost 400 of them failed to register with the new inspection system and so lost the privilege of recruiting international students. The rest either had their licences revoked or suspended due to a variety of misdemeanours. Common problems were colleges that were unable to show records of student attendance, or that they had checked the students' qualifications. However, one college could not even provide a list of enrolled students or a timetable of classes.

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Tips for a Great Academic Experience

Once again I find myself looking back and deriving lessons from my past year in London. This time, I have examined my academic experience and asked myself what worked and what didn't. Here is a summary of my findings:

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Indian Summer Hits Britain

After a wet, windy and cloudy summer, it seems summer has finally reached the UK- just a few months late. This week Britain is going through an unseasonal heat wave, with temperatures at 27oC in London today. What's more, by Friday it is expected to reach 28oC, which is hotter than Hawaii at this time of year.

A source from the Met Office (the British weather forecasters) revealed: "It's going to be a warm week, and in some cases the night-time temperatures could get up to about the same as you would expect during the day for this time of year". Usually, the average temperature in September in Britain is just 15oC.

The even better news is that the Indian Summer is expected to last in to October, with warm, dry weather predicted. The British public are always happy to take advantage of some nice weather and by the weekend, Brits will be out in their millions enjoying one last BBQ or day at the beach.

Anonymous's picture

TEDx London: Exploring a revolution in Education

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending a conference on the future of education in Britain. It was an independently organised event arranged by TEDx London- a branch of the TED Talks network.

TED Talks is a platform that invites speakers from various fields and professions to share innovative ideas, and since the talks started being streamed online their popularity has been phenomenal.

The Current State of Education

The event was inspired by a famous TED Talk by Sir Ken Robinson in 2010, where he called for an ‘education revolution' and the need for educational institutions to fundamentally change the way they operate.

At the talk, participants were presented with three areas of discussion, and firstly, responding to Ken's analysis of education, speakers looked at education's current state.

Various speakers shared their views on how education fails to engage young people due to the curriculum's lack of relevance and the rigidness of educational models that are currently being used.

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