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11.03.10. Overseas students happier, but still cold

John Morgan from Times Higher Education reports:

Satisfaction levels among international students at UK universities have risen by 10 percentage points in the past four years, according to research for the government.

However, a new report details the trials they can still face, including shivering without a duvet on their first night and suffering the "mental torture" of noisy British neighbours.

According to data supplied to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills by the research firm i-graduate, the proportion of overseas students who were satisfied with their UK university experience rose from 71 per cent in 2005-06 to 81 per cent in 2008-09.

Will Archer, the firm's director, said this improvement "reflects the extent to which the sector has engaged with these students", adding that it had been achieved by "winning hearts and minds rather than through millions of pounds of investment".

To maintain this trend, a new guide for universities, published by the UK Higher Education International Unit this week, advises them to focus on providing an excellent student experience to counter a restrictive visa system and buoyant competitor countries.

Written by i-graduate, it is based on data from the International Student Barometer, an annual online survey of international students.

Recommendations for universities include linking international students with mentors prior to arrival, making sure students know how to set up a bank account and developing campus-wide systems for performance feedback. Read full version here…