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Transition Experiences of International Students Joining Undergraduate Studies in Second Year Gayle Pringle and Transition Experiences of International Students Joining Undergraduate Studies in Second Year Gayle Pringle and Fred Cartmel

Outline • Background to project • The student experience • Measures implemented to support Outline • Background to project • The student experience • Measures implemented to support transition

Student background • International students • Attend 2 or 3 terms at a partner Student background • International students • Attend 2 or 3 terms at a partner institution – Subject specialisms – Academic and language support – Based in Glasgow • Join GU in second year: – Social Sciences – Science – Engineering • Cohorts: – 25 - 28 students – Majority in MA Social Sciences

MA Social Sciences: Three Degrees Second Years 3 and 4 Subject 1 Level 2 MA Social Sciences: Three Degrees Second Years 3 and 4 Subject 1 Level 2 40 Credits Single Honours Subject 2 Level 2 40 Credits Joint Honours Subject 3 Level 1 40 Credits Social Sciences

Aims of the project Aims: • To explore international students’ experiences of joining undergraduate Aims of the project Aims: • To explore international students’ experiences of joining undergraduate courses in second year • To implement appropriate measures to support the transition of this group Supported by the University of Glasgow Learning and Teaching Development Fund

Research into the student experience • Semi-structured interviews • 2008 -9 – 9 individual Research into the student experience • Semi-structured interviews • 2008 -9 – 9 individual interviews with new 2 nd years (7 students) • 2009 -10 – 2 group interviews with new 2 nd years in semester one (3 and 6 students) – 1 group interview with new 2 nd years in semester two (6 students) – 1 group interview with 3 rd years (2 students)

Transition to GU • Feelings before starting at GU: – Positive – Some nerves Transition to GU • Feelings before starting at GU: – Positive – Some nerves – Some practical problems receiving offers • Information before arriving – Gaps in 2008 -9 – MA Soc Sci course choices – Unproblematic in 2009 -10 • Registration and enrolment – Potentially complex process – Enrolment tiring and confusing – Possibility of missing first class meeting

Experience of classes • Lectures – – Enjoyment of academic level Language could be Experience of classes • Lectures – – Enjoyment of academic level Language could be a barrier Good awareness of value of preparation Strong desire for lecture outlines on slides • Tutorials – Language could be a barrier to participation – Casual references to unfamiliar British/European context challenging • Challenges less intense by semester two

Independent study • Time management – Major adjustment issue • Reading – Time-consuming but Independent study • Time management – Major adjustment issue • Reading – Time-consuming but no major challenges • Assessment – Exams more challenging than essays for some students • English language support – Difficult to prioritise English language development in busy schedule

Extra-curricular activities • Social life: – Very mixed experiences – Initially difficult in large Extra-curricular activities • Social life: – Very mixed experiences – Initially difficult in large lectures – Concerns over English language • Clubs and societies – Enjoyable, good way of meeting people – Volunteering a good option – Concerns over time

Addressing the pre-arrival “information gap” Increased contact between LBSS staff and pre-arrival students • Addressing the pre-arrival “information gap” Increased contact between LBSS staff and pre-arrival students • Enhanced information on course choices for students and partner institution staff • Emphasis on updating postal address • Pre-arrival visit to Faculty – Chat with earlier cohort and current 1 st year students – Attending a lecture – Chance to discuss lecture and impressions

Supporting the transition Booklet: ‘What’s it really like to study at the University of Supporting the transition Booklet: ‘What’s it really like to study at the University of Glasgow? ’ • Based on views of students who have made the transition – Discussion meeting to suggest key areas – Student contributions of written materials – ‘What I wish I’d known when I started”

Booklet: sample student comments “please do as much as you can to prepare for Booklet: sample student comments “please do as much as you can to prepare for the lectures. You’ll find that you can easily get more from classes if you do this kind of preparation than just by coming to class and listening. ” “Lecture notes are not enough to deal with exams and you can’t avoid reading books. ” “The biggest challenge I have had since starting at GU is time management and self-organising. ” “I’m now teaching Chinese in Hillhead High School. It’s a really fantastic experience. ”

Overall themes • Need for ongoing information delivery: – Pre-arrival – On arrival • Overall themes • Need for ongoing information delivery: – Pre-arrival – On arrival • Support with classes – Provision of outlines in lectures – Clarification of culturally-specific references • Negotiating time constraints: – Language support – Extra-curricular activities

Project contacts Gayle Pringle • Faculty International Officer, LBSS • G. Pringle@lbss. gla. ac. Project contacts Gayle Pringle • Faculty International Officer, LBSS • G. [email protected] gla. ac. uk Fred Cartmel • Chief Adviser, MA Social Sciences • F. [email protected] gla. ac. uk