Institute for Academic Development
Institute for Academic Development

Enhancing International Student Experience at History, Classics & Archaeology

Enhancing International Student Experience at History, Classics & Archaeology: identifying appropriate academic and pastoral support structures for our overseas student community.

School: History, Classics and Archaeology

Team Members:  Wendy Ugolini, Talat Ahmed, Ewen Cameron, Amanda Campbell

Abstract

At the Graduate School of History, Classics and Archaeology (HCA), we are keen to assess our approach to the academic and pastoral care of our international student community. Recent consultations with interested agencies such as Security Services, Edinburgh Global, Student Wellbeing, English Language Support and Moray House School of Education highlighted how students from a culturally diverse background face a particular set of challenges whilst studying at Edinburgh. This includes transitioning from a different culture of learning which inhibits students from seeking available academic help, different modes of learning which create anxieties over assessments and feedback and a general reluctance to access mental health and other support services. The diverse student community within HCA’s Graduate School reflects wider University trends. In HCA, our largest international student cohort is from North America with our second largest cohort compromising of students from East Asia. This means that a significant proportion of our postgraduates are students for whom English is not their first language. Student feedback from our PTES and PRES surveys suggests that international students would like to see a more ‘inclusive’ social and academic environment created within the Graduate School. Focusing on our international students is especially timely as College is addressing this matter through its Review of Student Support and Personal Tutoring. Ultimately, HCA aims to enhance the learning and teaching environment of the Graduate School for our international students and share best-practice across College and the University.