UKCISA Fest

Welcome to UKCISA Fest:
a week-long online event for international students in the UK

16-20 November 2020

Following our successful one-day International Student Forum last year, this year we are going digital.

Introducing UKCISA Fest, a week-long online event series, bringing together international students to inform policy and practice, and celebrate International Student Day and International Education Week.

BOOKINGS CLOSED


Programme

Last modified: 19 January 2021

From 16 - 20 November, we will focus on a different selection of themes and topics for each day. Discussions will be led by the #WeAreInternational Student Ambassadors, and co-facilitated with partner organisations exploring international students’ experiences at every stage of their journey, along with other students, UKCISA members, sector partners and policy makers. 

Event outline 

Monday 16 November

10:00 – 11:00 Session 1: Introducing UKCISA Fest & Global Café

Yinbo Yu, UKCISA’s Strategic Partnerships Lead and Julie Allen, UKCISA’s Director of Policy and Services will open the week’s events and give you an overview of what to expect and how to make the most of the sessions over the week. We will also offer tips and advice on how to prepare for your time ahead in the UK and how to look after yourself. You will then have a chance to join our online Global Café where you can meet other students and chat informally. Bring your own favourite drink!

Presenters:

Adetoun Adebayo, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador 
Yinbo Yu, Strategic Partnerships Lead, UKCISA

Julie Allen, Director of Policy and Services, UKCISA

 

13:00 – 14:00 Session 2: What to do when things go wrong? A session with Office of Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education

The OIA is an independent organisation which support students who have experienced a problem at their institution that has not been resolved. You can find out about the process of submitting a complaint and hear case studies of international students who have been through the process. You may never need to use their services, but it’s important for as all students to know that this service is available for you if you need it.

Presenters:
Barry McHale, Student Liaison Officer, OIA
Gemma Slade, Provider Liaison Officer, OIA
Julie Allen, Director of Policy and Services, UKCISA

MEMBERS ONLY: View the recorded presentation and conversation. Sign in with your UKCISA membership.

 

15:00 – 16:00 Session 3: Student Space: Navigating Your Student Life During Covid-19 Pandemic & Mental Wellbeing Support 

Hear from Student Minds, the UK’s student mental health charity who will tell you about the free support available to help you look after your mental health while studying in the UK. Find out about Student Space the new online platform set up to help you cope with the challenges of studying during Covid-19. You will also find out about the International Student Mental Health Project led by Nottingham University.

Presenters:

Parvathy Ramesh, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador 
Dominic Smithies, Student Voice and Equality Lead, Student Minds

 

Tuesday 17 November

11:00 – 12:00 Session 4: UK International Education Strategy - Conversations with UK International Education Champion

This is a fantastic opportunity to hear from Sir Steve Smith, recently appointed to the post of UK International Education Champion. Sir Steve who was the Vice Chancellor of the University of Exeter before starting this role has always been greatly interested in the international student experience. Hear about Sir Steve’s personal journey from school to national leader and hear about his ideas and plans to champion international students in the UK. 

Presenters:

Sir Steve Smith, UK Government International Education Champion
Anne Marie Graham, Chief Executive, UKCISA

Nebu George, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador 

View the recorded presentation and conversation

 

13:00 – 14:00 Session 5: Celebrating International Student Day - Afternoon Tea with Members of Parliament 

We are excited to invite you to our joint celebration with the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on international students! Bring your own cup of tea for the virtual ‘afternoon tea’ session and join the conversations with the parliamentarians and other international students.


The APPG is a group of MPs and interested parties who formed several years ago to discuss and highlight international student issues in parliament. As we are unable to invite you into the Houses of Parliament this year, why not join the celebration online? You will hear UKCISA’s President and co-chair of the APPG Lord Bilimoria and MP for Sheffield Central, Paul Blomfield and other parliamentarians, to have interesting policy discussions about international student experience in the UK, alongside #WeAreInternational Student Ambassadors.

Speakers:

Lord Karan Bilimoria, President of UKCISA and CBI, and co-chair for the APPG 
Paul Blomfield, MP for Sheffield Central, and co-chair for the APPG

Ben Lake, MP for Ceredigion
Adetoun Adebayo, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador 
Nebu George, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador 
Daniel Haid, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador 

Anant Ragan, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador 

 

16:00 – 17:00 Session 6: #WeAreInternational Student Charter

An international student charter is central to UKCISA’s aim of bringing the student voice into the heart of policymaking. But what exactly is a charter? What is it for? What will it do? #WeAreInternational student ambassador, Katie Crabtree will explain our vision for what we want to achieve and answer your questions. And importantly, you can find out what you can to do contribute.

Presenters:

Katie Crabtree, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador 
Parvathy Ramesh, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador
Yunyan Li, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador

 

Wednesday 18 November 

10:00 – 11:00 Session 7: A Session with the Office for Students - Explore How They Support International Students 

The role of the Office for Students (OfS) is to ensure that ‘students have a fulfilling experience of higher education that enriches their lives and careers’. So how do they do that? This is an exciting opportunity to hear directly from our colleagues at OfS who will explain in practical terms, what they do. Students will also have the chance to put their questions to the team.

Presenters:

Khoa Nguyen, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador 
Josh Callander, Senior Officer (Equality and Diversity), Office for Students
Catherine Read, Officer (Equality and Diversity), Office for Students

MEMBERS ONLY: View the recorded presentation and conversation. Sign in with your UKCISA membership.

 

 

13:00 – 14:30 Session 8: International Student Graduate Employability: panel session with an introduction from Lord Bilimoria

The session will be introduced by UKCISA President, Lord Karan Bilimoria, Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, Founder and Chairman of Cobra Beer and Chairman of the Confederation of British Industry. Hear Lord Bilimoria’s inspiring personal story of coming to the UK as an international student, setting up his own company and then entering the House of Lords.

Following the introduction, hear from our panel of experts who will share their insights into this key topic for international students and offer practical tips and advice on what you need to do to prepare for your future career.  This interactive session is a chance for you to tell us about your experience and also put questions to the panel.


Panel speakers
Chair by Anant Rangan, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador
Gabi Binnie, Association of Graduate Careers Advisers
Sarah Cooper, Careers Adviser, University of Bristol
Stephanie Harris, Universities UK International

 

15.00 – 16.30
Session 9: 2021 Graduates: the new Graduate immigration route and other work visa options

Next summer the UK government plans to launch the new Graduate immigration route, a new visa designed to allow many 2021 graduates to stay and work in the UK, initially for 2 years (3 years for PhD students). This session breaks down what the government has announced so far about the Graduate route, what is still unknown, and what new work opportunities the Graduate route would open for you. We will also summarise the separate options for 2021 graduates who want to switch straight to a visa for sponsored skilled work or endorsed entrepreneurial activities.

Presenter: Andrew Humphrey, UKCISA adviser

 

16:30 – 17:00 Session 10: Global café

Global café is an online space where you can meet and chat with other students. Continuing the theme of Wednesday, join a breakout group to discuss working during your study or work after study.

Speakers:

Adetoun Adebayo, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador 
Yinbo Yu, Strategic Partnerships Lead, UKCISA
Julie Allen, Director of Policy and Services, UKCISA

 

Thursday 19 November

11:00 – 12:00 Session 11: How can international students take ownership of their education through their Students’ Unions? - A session with the National Union of Students UK

Students’ unions are run by student officers and representatives elected by students, and they are responsible for representing you – so you can go to them for all kinds of support. In this session, your National President will outline opportunities for you to participate in all aspects of Students’ unions activities.

We will look at how international students can be empowered to take ownership of their education and campaign for an education system that is designed around their needs and wants. We will also focus on the role that students’ unions can play in supporting this campaigning activity and providing spaces for students to organise.

Presenters:

Larissa Kennedy, President, National Union of Students UK

 

13:00 – 15:00 Session 12: Immigration Policy: What’s Next?

This session will be delivered by our specialist Advice and Training Officers who will guide you through the UK student immigration system. This will be particularly useful for any students from the European Economic Area who are new to the student visa rules and need to understand what they will need to do after the UK leaves the EU. (This will not cover the EU Settlement Scheme for EU students who are already resident in the UK – this is explained in detail on our website

After the session there will be a short break. Attendees will then have the chance to have a one-to-one advice consultation, via Zoom, with one of our team. You will be able to ask about anything that’s been covered in the session and/or seek further advice on the immigration requirements of the Student Route as they relate to your own circumstances. It may be necessary to ask you to seek further advice from your prospective institution or on the UKCISA telephone advice line. These limited slots will be for 10 minutes per person, and will be available between 2pm and 4pm.

Presenters:

Daniel Haid, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador 
Tema Nwulu, Advice and Training Officer, UKCISA
Christopher Benjamin, Advice and Training Officer, UKCISA

 

Friday 20 November

11:00 – 12:00 Session 13:  Looking After Mental Health and Wellbeing - A session with the #WeAreInternational Student Ambassadors

Drawing upon their own personal experiences and areas of academic expertise, the student ambassadors will discuss their experiences during the global pandemic and how they cope with student life. From ideas for looking after your mental health to top tips for supporting your physical wellbeing.

Presenters:

Parvathy Ramesh, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador 
Yunyan Li, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador 
Anant Rangan, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador 

 

14:00 – 15:15 Session 14: So, what's next? A round-up session to recap UKCISA Fest and next steps for #WeAreInternational

In the final session of UKCISA Fest, our #WeAreInternational Student Ambassadors will take a look back at the key themes and discussion points from the week. Along with our Chief Executive, Anne Marie Graham, and Strategic Partnerships Lead, Yinbo Yu, they will reflect on this and identify key actions or ideas to take forward in their roles as student ambassadors.

Attendees will be presented with ideas for how they can support these ideas and actions at their own institutions, as well as inspiration for how they can get involved with the award-winning #WeAreInternational campaign.

Presenters: 

Katie Crabtree, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador 
Nebu George, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador 
Anne Marie Graham, Chief Executive, UKCISA
Yinbo Yu
, Strategic Partnerships Lead, UKCISA
 

A personal message and thank you from Nebu George, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador

 

Speakers

Last modified: 18 November 2020

Gemma Slade, Provider Liaison Officer, Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA)

Barry McHale, Student Liaison Officer, Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA)

Josh Callander, Senior Officer (Equality and Diversity), Office for Students (OfS)

Catherine Read, (Equality and Diversity), Office for Students (OfS)

Dominic Smithies, Student Voice and Equality Lead, Student Minds

Yinbo Yu, Strategic Partnerships Lead, UKCISA

Larissa Kennedy, President, NUS

Gabi Binnie, Policy and Research Manager, the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS)

Sarah Cooper, Careers Consultant, University of Bristol

Tema Nwulu, Advice and Training Officer, UKCISA

Anne Marie Graham, Chief Executive, UKCISA

Julie Allen, Director of Policy and Services, UKCISA

Sir Steve Smith, UK Government International Education Champion

Lord Karan Bilimoria, President of UKCISA and CBI

Parvathy Ramesh, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador

Daniel Haid, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador

Anant Rangan, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador

Khoa Nguyen, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador

Nebu George, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador

Katie Crabtree, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador

Adetoun Adebayo, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador

Yunyan Li, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador

Andrew Humphrey, UKCISA Adviser

Christopher Benjamin, UKCISA

Paul Blomfield, MP for Sheffield Central, and co-chair of APPG on International Students

Ben Lake, MP for Ceredigion

Stephanie Harris, UUKi

FAQs

Last modified: 27 November 2020

What is UKCISA Fest? 

UKCISA Fest is a week-long event series for international students studying at UK institutions, to celebrate International Students Day and International Education Week. Taking place from 16 - 20 November 2020, each day will focus on different themes and topics and explore international student experiences at every stage of their journey.  

What do I need to pay for? 

Absolutely nothing! We want to ensure UKCISA Fest is accessible for all international students, and we will not ask you to pay any fees.  

UKCISA also operates a free and confidential advice line for international students and our members - find out more here


I do not have any policy knowledge; can I still attend UKCISA Fest? 

Of course! We welcome all of the UK’s international students to join UKCISA Fest. There are many informative sessions which provide useful tips and advice to help you navigate student life, such as: support services available if things go wrong, and looking after your mental wellbeing.

We also invite you to join the discussions to inform policy and practice through your lived experience on topics such as: immigration policy and graduate employability. 

I have just graduated this autumn; can I still attend UKCISA Fest? 


We welcome this year’s international graduates to join UKCISA Fest. You might find some sessions very relevant and useful, from updates on immigration policy to discussions about graduate employability.  

I work at a UKCISA member instition or education provider; can I attend UKCISA Fest? 

UKCISA Fest aims to bring together international students, but we understand that many of our members are interested in joining the discussions.  

Sponsorship opportunities

Last modified: 27 November 2020

#UKCISA Fest is a brand-new opportunity to reach international students directly, alongside UKCISA members and sector influencers. It is a great opportunity for organisations that provide services to students or the sector to promote their brands, products and services.

Sponsorship rights for UKCISA Fest: £2,000 +VAT

  • Complimentary tickets to all sessions (otherwise open to students only)
  • An advert (less than 200 words) in the UKCISA Fest programme
  • Branding on UKCISA Fest webpages
  • Logo on presentations during the events
  • Coverage and mentions in our communications channels, including email to students and UKCISA members, website, delegate info pack and social media
  • A special mention and thanks in both the opening session (Monday) and closing session (Friday) of UKCISA Fest
We can also alter the sponsorships package for you, based on your budget and tailor your specific needs, such as:
  • Exclusive sponsorships rights
  • Opportunities to address the delegates at a particular session
  • Chair a particular session of your choice
  • Service promotion or advert featured in follow-up emails to all delegates

If you’d like to explore sponsorship rights for UKCISA Fest, please get in touch with Yinbo Yu at yinbo.yu@ukcisa.org.uk

Download the sponsorship opportunities brochure


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