StudyAdvantage Magazine

ProtectED Code of Practice launched to support international students in the UK

Published: February 6, 2017

ProtectED Logo final RGB

 

 

The decision to study abroad provides the chance to explore the world, experience another culture, make new friends or learn a language, but if this life-changing time is to be as fulfilling and worry-free as possible, the key is in the preparation. While students may spend hours researching the various degree programmes on offer, how much time is spent on finding accommodation with a reputable landlord, or identifying the safe ways to travel around a city? Who should you speak to at your university  if you have an existing physical or mental health condition, and how would you start to build a network of friends in an unfamiliar place?

UK universities now have the opportunity to join a scheme that ensures international students are kept well informed and supported throughout their time studying and living in the UK. The ProtectED Code of Practice – developed at the University of Salford – is the first accreditation scheme of its kind to address the safety, security and wellbeing of university students, and international students specifically. Applicant universities will be assessed on their approach to: University Security; Student Wellbeing and Mental Health; International Students; Harassment and Sexual Assault, and the Student Night Out. If successful, universities will be able to display the ProtectED logo; a sign to prospective students (and their families) that they will be well-supported and helped to reach their full potential. This assurance is vital for students who may be unable to visit the UK before deciding upon a place to study.

ProtectED accreditation ensures that international students are provided with the information and skills to safely negotiate their new surroundings, by their university. This is communicated to the student before they reach the UK to ensure that they arrive prepared. Vital information on university safety and wellbeing support and services will be displayed on international student recruitment pages, but also reiterated at a dedicated orientation event. The university will also identify critical points throughout the academic year, such as during exams when extra emotional support may be required, or during holiday periods when international students may benefit from additional opportunities to socialise.

 

The team behind ProtectED. Photo - Nick Harrison

The team behind ProtectED. Photo – Nick Harrison

 

A ProtectED university takes a proactive approach to student welfare, considering different aspects of a student’s journey through university life. This means establishing a campus-wide zero-tolerance approach to harassment and sexual assault, with clear, accessible reporting procedures and support systems in place for those who experience this behaviour. It means fostering an understanding environment in relation to mental health issues, where staff and students alike are informed of the range of help available, and methods of maintaining mental wellbeing. It also means assisting students in staying safe while socialising, with dedicated training for venue staff in identifying and assisting vulnerable individuals, or through the provision of reliable transport options for getting home safely at any time of the day or night. These measures are especially important for international students, who may hesitate to speak out after becoming the victim of a crime, or to discuss their mental health difficulties, given that they are in a new country, removed from family and friends, and possibly required to speak a different language.

By making international students aware of options available to them in terms of emotional support, socialising, avoiding crime, finding fairly-priced accommodation, opening a bank account, using public transport etc., this will help them to feel at home in their new community, and position them to take on their academic studies with confidence and peace of mind.

 

More information on ProtectED is available from www.protect-ed.org and on the twitter page  @protected_hei

 

 

Other stories you might find interesting:

UK Higher Education in 2017: Guardian’s Predictions

EU Applicants – Now Is The Time To Apply for UK Universities

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