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Advancing equality and diversity in universities and colleges


International staff and students

Develop an inclusive environment for international staff and students

Removing barriers and providing an inclusive environment for international students can help to:

  • ensure that the UK remains one of the top destinations for international staff and students and that institutions are able to recruit talented individuals from a vast pool of applicants
  • ensure that international staff and students have a positive experience of UK higher education and would recommend it to other people, spreading a positive reputation of the sector
  • grow and retain vast international networks for research collaboration, and information on research and funding opportunities

Moving to another country to work or study is a big step. There are many practical issues to deal with in addition to adjusting to a different way of life with a lot of assumed knowledge and cultural norms.

The vast majority of international staff and students move to the UK with excellent English language skills, but challenges can still arise. Understanding and using academic language can be difficult for anyone new to academia, but is likely to be especially tricky for people with English as an additional language. Writing essays and delivering lectures in an additional language is very different to having an everyday conversation.

Even international staff and students whose first language is English can find it challenging at first. People’s speech varies by their accent and dialect, and it’s full of cultural references, phrases and analogies that they are probably unaware that they are using.