International students are vital to the economic and cultural success of higher education institutions. Today’s international students also have their pick of any country and any college they want to attend. Competition is fierce and international students are quite rightly choosier than ever. The ‘welcoming’ factor of both a university and country has become a real deciding factor for international students.
The campaign we want to share with you today is an important one and one that has been created as a direct response to a prevalent issue in today’s society. The University of Sheffield’s ‘We are International’ campaign began in 2013 as a way to combat the negative portrayal of immigration in the mass media and relaunched in 2016 as a response to the EU referendum decision.
Today, the campaign is supported by over 160 UK universities and colleges, the National Union of Students, the British Council and the Home Office.
The campaign began as there was a fear that all that international students would hear only the noise of the media and dismiss the idea of studying in the UK. The University of Sheffield wanted to stand with academics, students, the community, city leaders and partners to show that Sheffield is a city that ‘says no to prejudice and one that values its international students’.
The campaign has been enormously successful and working with those 160 higher education institutions and other partners, the university have:
Created website material
• Developed videos with partners to help explain things like how international students apply for UK visas
• Written news release templates and co-ordinated the release of positive national stories about the value of international students
• Used a social media #StandByMe campaign to help support ‘We are international’
If your university would like to join the campaign, you can download the toolkit here.
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