International Relations Office

Updates on the University's global engagement activities

Pre-departure Briefings

📥  Event

Each summer we hold a series of events in some of our larger markets that close out the recruitment cycle and to which students who have been offered admission to the University of Bath are invited. Brian and colleagues from the School of Management kicked off these pre-departure briefings in India at the end of May. I hosted the sessions in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Taipei, Shanghai and Beijing over 5 days, starting on Sunday 28 June in Bangkok. Around 350 students and parents attended the briefings and we were supported by alumni and stakeholders in each location.  Who better to tell you more about this activity than some of those who were involved….

Andy with Thai alumni and University of Bath representatives in Bangkok

Andy with Thai alumni and University of Bath representatives in Bangkok

A group photo of Andy and students at the Shanghai Pre-departure Briefing

Shanghai Pre-departure Briefing

"It is quite important to feel connected with the University - I would say especially during the admission process - as it ensures that the process was done properly and calms my nerves. I have never applied for schools in the UK. Hence I am a bit unfamiliar with the process and am constantly worried about making mistakes (for example, submitting the wrong document) which lead to failures in school/visa application. Although most of the information is accessible online, communicating directly with the school is always the best way to make sure that there was no error and I am not ignored/abandoned by the University (hah).

"Meeting the representative face-to-face helps a lot. The pre-departure briefing clarified certain issues (e.g. visa application) and gave useful information which is not listed at the time online (for example, airport pick-up service). Also it allows the students to have a peek at the university staff!

"Overall I would say the meeting is very helpful. I appreciate the effort and the time that the University put in in terms of the communication with its prospective students."

Chen Chi (Gina) Tang – Taiwanese MA applicant – attended Hong Kong PDB


"In-country Pre-Departure Briefings (and indeed other similar events) are a most useful and a vital contribution to the whole application and enrolment process.  They provide that most necessary human touch away from the smart phone and computer screens that can sometimes be so confusing for students who are trying to find important information, which by its very nature has to be fairly generic – a PDB gives students the chance to meet a person from the University and get specific advice on their own situation. They also serve as a way for students of the same nationality who are attending Bath to meet up and form friendships before they set out on what can be a pretty daunting experience. In Thailand we have always had alumni at PDBs who can also add that personal touch which students may find useful."

Justin Moseley, MD Consortium UK - representative of University of Bath since 2002


"Technology changes our life dramatically. We use PayPal more often than cash. We prefer Facetime than visiting each other. Sometimes, we would rather go to Twitter or Facebook to find out what someone up to instead of picking up the phone to say 'hi'.  However, there is something that cannot be replaced by technology! Face to face communication, especially cross-cultural communication being one example. I personally attended some British Universities Pre-departure Briefings recently. From the feedback from the students, I feel they really need it. Not only for the information provided by the officers but they felt they will be taken good care of and the universities really care about them. Or, in some parents’ words: you gotta know who you send the child to...... Well, this might be a too extreme case. However, in Chinese culture, or East Asian culture, it is a very big thing to send children miles away. It is a nice gesture from the University to show their responsibility and care."

Xiaoyang (Sarah) You, Education Marketing Manager, Cultural and Education Section of the British Consulate General, Shanghai


"The Thai applicants asked many questions. The main things they want to know from Alumni were:

1. Student life at off-campus accommodation. In Thailand, normally living at off-campus is considered less safe, so many students and parents worry about this. All alumni confirm that Bath is a safe city and off-campus accommodations are secure.

2. Preparation for Pre-sessional English course. (Especially, is it more difficult than IELTS preparation?)

3. Difficulty of Master courses and Dissertation. They would like to compare with university life in Thailand. For example, some students do not have a background in accounting and finance and they worry about this.

4. Transportation in Bath and also on their arrival date. (I gave them a contact number of Thai taxi driver in case they need any help.)

5. International classmates (particularly the cultural experience they could expect)."

Supasinee Charoenvidhya, School of Management alumnus living in Bangkok

The University will enrol somewhere in the region of 1,200 new full-time degree students from outside of the EU this coming academic year. If you would like to find out more about the work of the IRO please feel free to contact us:


THELMAs Awards night

📥  Event

The University of Bath was one of the 6 universities which received a Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards (THELMAs) nomination for Outstanding International Strategy. Andy, Katja, Lorna and I had been invited to the awards ceremony at the Grosvenor House hotel in London. Bath‘s Open Day happened to be the same day, so it took us over 3 and a half hours to get to the ceremony and the festivities were just starting when we arrived.

Being shortlisted was already a fantastic accomplishment. This is about the whole university's hard work and the dedication of everyone in delivering aspects of our very ambitious international vision.

The evening was also an opportunity to catch up with former colleagues. I bumped into my former line manager and she told me how proud she was of my achievements.

We did not win in the end. But this was a good opportunity for us to showcase Bath's rapid transformation to the sector. We had a very enjoyable evening with our colleagues from the Planning team, who were also short-listed for an award!

A view of the THELMAs Awards Dinner

THELMAs Awards Ceremony


Incredible India

📥  Culture, Visit

Nervous students, worried parents, a difficult maths paper, and hot like an oven... All came together for one thing: the dream of studying at the University of Bath. As part of the IRO recruitment team, I spent a few days travelling around India to meet with new students hoping to arrive in September and, as always, India offered some memorable experiences.

A view of Bara Gumbad tomb and mosque, Lodhi Gardens, New Delhi

Bara Gumbad tomb and mosque, Lodhi Gardens, New Delhi

The main point of this trip was to reassure students that their results were enough to meet their offer and to reassure the parents that their children would have accommodation to stay in the UK. Over five days we met with over 200 students in agents' offices, education events and pre-departure evenings at all hours in both New Delhi and Mumbai. Parents are very keen to know the details of their children’s lives as students in the UK, from the dimensions of their rooms to what places they can go to eat.

It was a real treat for me to come and visit India again as I haven’t been for nearly three years. People are always so friendly – our alumni who insisted on taking us for a drink, the concierge who helped us find a suitable venue to enjoy the night life and the hotel driver who made sure I got to all my appointments on time. And of course, our agents who made sure we had everything we needed!

A view of taxi lane in India

Taxi lane in Delhi

India is all about the senses, the food, the colours, and the smells. One thing I particularly love about this place is the tea - being typically British I drink lots of it! India is a place where they know how to make a good cup of tea. I can’t wait to go back!

Delhi street view at night

Delhi street view at night


NAFSA 2015

📥  Event

At the end of May, Tracey Stenson-Jukes, International Mobility Coordinator and I were joined by Pete Nuttall, the Director of International Relations for the School of Management at the 2015 NAFSA (National Association of Foreign Student Advisers) Annual Conference & Expo in Boston. It is the largest of its kind with 12,000 delegates attending the 4-day event.

With a focus on the undergraduate mobility, it was an excellent opportunity for us to meet with our existing partners, such as Florida International University and University of Queensland and potential partners to discuss opportunities for our students.

The conference was very successful for us. We had a lot of excellent feedback about our students' performance overseas and we have agreed many areas for growth. Now we are back in Bath and it's time to put everything we've gained into practice.



Visits from Latin America

📥  Event

Last week we welcomed senior colleagues from two of our international strategic partners in Latin America: the National University of Colombia (UNAL) and the University of Campinas (UNICAMP).

National University of Colombia, 4th June

Professor Catalina Arévalo Ferro, the Director of External Affairs, met with representatives from all Faculties and the School of Management. Professor Ferro’s visit was aimed at creating more opportunities for UNAL staff to collaborate with Bath and for UNAL students to study at Bath, due to an increasing demand from their students for exchange placements at Bath.

During the meeting we also discussed the opportunities for Bath students to benefit from our partnership with UNAL, including Spanish language courses, internships at UNAL’s research centres and summer schools.

University of Campinas, 5th June

Professor Alvaro Crósta, the Vice Rector, and Professor Eleonora C. Albano, Advisor in the International Relations Office, were here to meet with the Academic Skills Centre to discuss a bespoke teacher training course at Bath for UNICAMP academics.

The course will enable UNICAMP academics to improve their English language skills, and will teach them how to pass on their skills to others when they return to Brazil. This is an important skill to have, as a growing number of publications are written in English.

UNICAMP1 6 June 2015


More information about our partnership with UNAL and UNICAMP is available on our wiki page (Bath staff only).



Going Global 2015

📥  Event

Last week, I joined the Vice-Chancellor, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Internationalisation), IRO Partnerships Manager and the Director of ICHEM at the British Council’s annual international conference - Going Global 2015 in London. This annual event gathering leaders in Higher Education from around the world was a fantastic opportunity for us to take part in important debates and discuss issues and challenges facing our sector.

With over 1000 participants at the conference, it was a great opportunity for us to catch up with existing partners, develop new relationships and showcase the University to international stakeholders.

VC and Rajani


One of the popular sessions - “TNE: global wellbeing or new imperialism?” was chaired by the Vice-Chancellor and entirely curated by Professor Rajani Naidoo (pictured with the Vice-Chancellor above). Focusing on how transnational education can develop creative synergies across borders and cultures, speakers discussed its impacts at local, regional and national levels. Through an innovative concept - fishbowl conversations, participants also shared their opinions on whether transnational education contributes to global well-being through mutual benefit or whether it’s simply a new form of imperialism. Participants were divided in a number of groups, each focusing on a specific topics, shared examples of best practice and made policy recommendations as well as suggestions for further research to be carried out within the field of Higher Education Management.

Going Global blog pic


International visits in June

📥  Event

We have a series of exciting visits involving our Strategic Partners this month. Here are some highlights to look out for:

  • On 4 June the Director of External Affairs from the National University of Colombia (UNAL) will be visiting the University to discuss the consolidation of existing and development of new activities under our university-wide partnership.
  • The Vice President Professor Alvaro Crósta and his adviser from the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) will be visiting on 5 June. They are here to meet with the Academic Skills Centre to finalise a collaborative programme of teacher training activities that has been in development for the past year.
  • Professor Colin Grant, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Internationalisation) is in South Africa this week visiting our Strategic Partner, Stellenbosch University. He will be discussing the next steps in our bilateral agreement and multilateral interests. Whilst in South Africa, he will also be in Pretoria to engage with policy makers.
  • A delegation from the Faculty of Engineering and Design, led by Dean Professor Gary Hawley, will be in Singapore to meet with Nanyang Technological University and the National University of Singapore. Whilst in Singapore, there are also plans to meet with Dyson, Rolls Royce, Airbus and the Singapore Public Water Utility.

Exploring new opportunities for collaboration in research, Professor Grant will be in Qatar at the end of the month to meet with the Qatar Foundation, and in Dubai to meet with alumni and UK universities based there.

If you are a member of staff and have an international visit coming up, we'd like to know. Just send us an email to


Latest news & updates

📥  Award, Development, Event, International Strategy

I am very delighted to write the first post.

First of all, here are some recent developments the University has achieved internationally. We’ll be discussing some of them in the future posts.

  • The University’s new International Strategy was adopted by Council on the 26th February 2015. If you want to meet in person and discuss aspects of the Strategy, please get in touch with me.
  • The new IRO section introduces who we are and what we do. Further developments to the University website will soon be underway to create and update content to reflect our new international direction.
  • We have created a new IRO wiki. This self-help source can help you find information about our recruitment, mobility and partnerships activities, including advice on international travel and guidelines on hosting visitors to detailed briefings on our Strategic Partners.
  • I am very delighted to announce we have received a Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards nomination for Outstanding International Strategy.

We’ve also recently hosted a number of high-profile events.

We plan to post regularly about specific initiatives and activities taking place on campus and overseas by members of the IRO. So, please stay tuned.