Tag Archives: international students

Broadening worldview and facilitating cultural exchange in a student project with the ‘Global Friends’ programme.

Dave Sayers & Andrew Bromley
@DaveJSayers

Parallel session 1, Short Paper 1.10

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Short Abstract
This talk will report on a new collaboration between the module ‘English as a World Language’ (Humanities dept, English group), and the ‘Global Friends’ programme (run by Student & Learning Services). The presentation will review student feedback on this initiative, and consider its possible application in other teaching settings.

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Detailed Outline
This paper will review the results of a new initiative at SHU. In the module ‘English as a World Language’ (Humanities dept, English group), students conduct an individual research project which involves interviewing someone from a country where English is widely spoken but not as a first language. Meanwhile the ‘Global Friends’ programme is run by Student & Learning Services to facilitate socialising between British students and international students. The initiative has been to guide students into the Global Friends programme, initially as a way to find interviewees for their projects, and hopefully with a view to spurring more sustained contacts in the longer term. The presentation will review feedback on this initiative, and consider its possible application in other teaching settings.

English as a World Language is designed to introduce first-year English students to the various ways that English is used around the world. Their coursework is an individual project, designing and executing a semi-structured interview, with one respondent from a country where English is widely used. They could have simply been instructed to find someone themselves, perhaps in a public place, but that would have squandered an opportunity for sustained engagement, and deeper learning. The Global Friends programme pairs students up individually with international students, with a view to socialising in informal settings. At the very least this should make for a more conducive interview – and therefore more effective learning – but should also lead to more sustainable social relationships, and therefore a broader form of cultural learning.

The collaboration between the module and Global Friends is new, and so this presentation will be reporting on its first run, including structured feedback from the student researchers and their interviewees, and a consideration of how such collaboration could map on to other teaching.

Culture Connect – engaging students through mentoring and supporting their transitions

Samantha Jane Logan & Krassimira Teneva
@SheffHallamINT / @SammyJaneLogan

Parallel session 1, Thunderstorm 1.1

Short Abstract
Culture Connect cross-cultural peer mentoring scheme helps new students settle in and encourages social integration between home/international students. Volunteers develop their multi-cultural awareness, preparing them to work in diverse organisations. The session will share best practice. How can we make cross-cultural mentoring an integral part of the student experience?

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Detailed Outline
Culture Connect is a cross-cultural peer mentoring scheme, which supports new students through transitions and encourages social integration between home/international students. The scheme includes 146 students from 33 countries. Culture Connect is part of the SHU GoGlobal campaign organised by International Student Support, which aims to inspire students to participate in projects that will foster their global outlook and expand their horizons.

Students get to know someone from a different country, through a one-to-one supportive mentoring relationship. They are also allocated to a learning set – a small, intimate group of mentees or mentors of different nationalities which enables them to gain a wide range of perspectives and develop their multi-cultural awareness. These activities give students the chance to reflect, discuss challenges and share helpful advice and resources to support each other on their student journey. Thus fostering shared learning and improving their student experience.

‘You get a friend who walks along with you as you get to know about life at university. I now have many friends and I feel fully integrated in the university.’
Judith Khamoni mentee from Kenya

Monthly soft skills training with other members, challenges their stereotypes in a safe environment and prepares them to work in diverse organisations. Regular social activities contribute to their sense of belonging to a wide support network, which celebrates cultural diversity.

‘It brings together the university community because it gives British students first-hand experience of engaging with international students. The media constantly portrays international students in a negative light and Culture Connect dispels media falsehoods.’ Sami Riaz mentor from Britain

This session will discuss the importance of supporting transitions in order to enhance student engagement, sharing best practice and student feedback of how the programme can assist. The scheme designer/coordinator Samantha Jane Logan will indicate some of her initial dissertation findings.