Welcome to 2018!
Good luck to all those students and pupils who are applying to UK Universities and Boarding schools for entry in Autumn 2018. We wish you lots of luck with your applications and please do check out the advice on the site about what to look for in the school/college you finally select.
Best practice for helping international students feel at home...
Our last blog post for the PIE publication in 2017, focused on Universities across the world that are putting extra effort into helping international students settle into their new surroundings. This piece follows on from a similar article we wrote about Boarding schools ‘best practice’ too.
It is interesting that some institutions focus on celebrating the cultural differences between international and UK students to benefit both student communities, whilst other institutions focus on celebrating the things all students have in common…
As we have seen from writing these articles ‘best practice’ almost certainly needs an approach that celebrates both similarities and differences and that the most thoughtful approaches almost certainly don’t, on some level, take account of similarities or differences, but just treat all students as individuals with personal needs…
Both pieces and others we have written over the last few months can be found on The PIE’s blog
UK Government unveils plans to launch 2 year degrees
The United Kingdom government has announced plans for two-year accelerated bachelor degrees that it claims could save students up to £25,000 (US$33,000) compared with taking the degree over three years in the normal way.
Accelerated degrees will offer the same qualifications and will be quality assured in the same way as a standard degree, but delivered over a shorter, usually two-year timespan, according to the proposals, which have been set out for consultation.
The plan would allow institutions to charge more each year for accelerated degrees, but the overall tuition fee cost of the degree to the student would be 20% less than the same degree over three years.
VISA rules to be relaxed for Masters students and researchers entering UK Higher Education
The changes – which include plans to allow students to apply to switch to a skilled worker visa as soon as they complete their course rather than having to wait until their degree is awarded – have been announced by the Home Office.
Also, there are also suggestions from some in the sector that the Home Office – taking a fresh approach to the international student issue under Home Secretary Amber Rudd – is preparing to extend a pilot scheme that has eased visa rules for students applying to master’s courses at the universities of Bath, Cambridge and Oxford, and Imperial College London.
How Chinese students support each other at University via unseen networks...
A new book highlights that less able students seek help from fellow Chinese students whom they identify as "lords of learning." The authors identified that ‘this practice among Chinese students constructs a dynamic scene of collaborative learning’. It is apparently typical for students to create and maintain course-themed, digitally mediated study groups on WeChat and QQ two social media platforms popular in China.
One student known for his knack for economics, identified in the book by the pseudonym’ Lee’, managed seven different tutorial groups in a single semester through the group chat function on WeChat. These groups ranged in size from seven to several hundred students.
Southampton Part 2
Night life-the favourite night club my daughter has visited so far is Oceana. It has top DJ’s performing most weeks and is a draw for students and locals alike.
Local to the main university campus are Jesters and SoBar in Portswood where many students live. In Bedford place, just outside of town, are Switch & Popworld, plus for a Bar/Club environment my daughter also likes Orange Bar.
Another place worth noting and still surviving from my student days is the Frog and Frigate pub. It opened the year I arrived at Southampton and still going strong as a great pub with live music. Apparently it had a few years in the wilderness but is now back as a destination for live music and real ale. It is great to see, from its web site, that it is now back to its former glory.
Also, if you get time take a trip to the Jolly Sailor (picture above) overlooking the river Hamble- fantastic location and still thriving over 30 years after I last visited it!
For cocktails there is one stand out venue Bring and Mix, pictured above, which has amazing reviews on Trip adviser, so don’t just take our word for it.
Places to eat
For a special occasion, perhaps to celebrate a graduation and situated at Shamrock Quay Marina, Quay 15 offers a fine dining experience ‘without the fuss’.
Hotel TerraVina on the outskirts of the New Forest, which describes itself as a ‘California wine country Restaurant’ also gets great reviews and has a wonderful location. The 6 course tasting menu comes highly recommended as does the unusual wine collection.
For a cheaper night out ‘It’s a pizza thing’ is a great pizza take away. Offering wood fired pizzas. Apparently its chocolate calzone is worth a try! Note though, it isn’t open every night…
Another highly recommended, affordably priced restaurant is Sulas, a Greek taverna, handily located in Portswood where many students shop and live. Comments include ‘authentic’ and the halumi particularly gets high praise from a recent diner. I passed Sulas last week as I dropped my daughter back at Halls for her second term, it looked fun…
Please do also take a look at December’s Part 1 guide to Southampton and the other previous city guides that we have sent out-reviewing; London, Liverpool, Bristol, Manchester and Leicester. We thank all the parents and students that have contributed to each one!