The UKNFS (and by extension the NRNA UK) with One Community Hampshire and Dorset organisation (OCHD) — www.ochd.org.uk — wish to thank all of the international students, in their hundreds, including 100+ in the Dorset Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area, and a number of South Coast universities that we have valuably engaged with in the 2020 period, on the important very positive interactions on international students’ communication and support we have experienced. Without these interactions, creation of this much needed ‘from international students’ experiences bases’ information resource would not have been possible.
In the words of Ms Vivienne Sterne, Universities UK International (UUKi) Director, on 1st May 2020 in an email communication to One Community Hampshire and Dorset CEO and a Director of the UKNFS, Pritheepal Singh:
‘… We appreciate the time taken to outline the points covered in the letter and agree that this is a good opportunity for us to start an important dialogue. …’
This information resource from a direct BAME perspective (both BAME communities international students supporting organisations the UKNFS and OCHD, and international students themselves) plays a valuable part in providing practical assistance in regard to direct international students and international students’ supporting and engagement stakeholders’ perspectives to help fulfilment of the need evidenced in the Universities UK reference above.
Your support is, was and will be highly appreciated, during our crisis which for sure bought us this far by which we could complete our pending courses and examinations, withstanding our financial crisis and all other obstacles which the year 2020 brought to international students like me and many others.
UKNFS & OCHD kept us strong. Thank y’all from the bottom of my heart.
Thank you on behalf of all my batchmates for standing strong besides us throughout. This information booklet is just what all our students need to have, even before arriving in the UK. Its thorough, with brilliant sections, and very helpful guidance on what to do in situations of importance. Well done UKNFS & OCHD!
I and my husband were seeming to get nowhere on a very stressful matter involving documentation from the Home Office for needed and promised visa. We were being told to just keep checking with the post office, but long overdue it still didn’t come and a serious deadline approaching.
We heard through our Nepali community network about the UK Nepal Friendship Society, and they listened and supported us. We let our university and its students union know once again about our plight and fears, and also now that the UKNFS and with it One Community Hampshire and Dorset were taking up our case.
Very swiftly the university and students union took the necessary action, contacting the Home Office, and consequently we our troubles came to an end after quite a long period of distress. I and my husband want to thank the university, students union, and UKNFS and OCHD for their actions, that combined turned things around and made a big difference.
I and my family faced what we consider on reflection to have been racially aggravated abuse by our landlord and letting agency last summer. We experienced unacceptable invasions of privacy, perceived intimidatory behaviour, denial of our Tenants Rights, and were almost driven out of the home we were renting despite complying with all the regulations. This caused us all extreme distress, and impacted on my husband’s (a university student) ability to concentrate on his study, which was really unacceptable especially as he as an international student was paying much greater fees than Home Students.
We knew that as overseas nationals, BAME community members we were being taken advantage of, on the basis that the landlord and agent assumed we didn’t know our Tenants Rights or about Landlord and Letting Agency responsibilities.
In fact at the beginning we didn’t know much about those rights and responsibilities, which in hindsight we feel should have been more fully explained to us. We contacted the university and students union, but they couldn’t really help and may have not understood what was going on despite our providing particulars. A matter complicated, and one that we made clear was seriously impacting on our mental health.
However, we contacted One Community Hampshire and Dorset (OCHD), and the UK Nepal Friendship Society (UKNFS). They took up our case, and understood its importance and what was happening to us. They provided extensive help, such as assisting us with emails we wrote, and introducing to BCP Citizens Advice, and the BCP Council Housing Team, helping on communications.
This is why this information resource is needed for all international students, to supplement information they may or may not be provided with at the time of their inductions by their college or university. The UKNFS and OCHD as directly BAME community support organisations role was crucial in resolving the afflictions me and my family had, and succeeded through a multiple agencies approach, and understanding and caring about exploitation where race or being an overseas national, is concerned. They in fact through their intervention, provided a major support to the higher education institute my husband studied at, by securing a successful outcome.
I with many other international students at my and some other South Coast universities encountered major problems in 2020 on a number of different issues and support needs, due to Covid 19. These were on processes and communications on matters of direct importance to our studies and living. OCHD with UKNFS helped us a great deal when we found our needs weren’t always being understood or addressed clearly. If we had, had an information resource such as this one from the start things would have been a lot easier on how and where we could have support, because international students have different and greater communication support needs, especially on where to turn to for help if processes aren’t clear or issues we encounter fall outside of direct university support.
I am writing to congratulate you, the UKNFS and OCHD, on putting together such a valuable – and much-needed – support resource for international students.
I would also like to commend the Dorset Community Fund for its vision in relation to the need for such a resource and thus providing a grant to fund the creation of the resource.
Well done all!
Best wishes, David Jones, BA (Hons), PG Dip, Dip RSA TEFLA.
Principal & Marketing Director, ETC International College, Vice-Chair, International Education Association of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole
“Citizens Advice Bournemouth Christchurch & Poole is an independent charity that provides information, education and advice services to help people resolve problems. We are part of a national network of over 300 individual charities that deliver advice across England & Wales overseen by a national framework provided by Citizens Advice. We are committed to support people gain the knowledge and the confidence they need to find their way forward – whoever they are, and whatever their problem.
Our work with the UK Nepal Friendship Society and One Community Hampshire and Dorset focuses on providing essential advice to International Students, both prior to and during their stay in the UK. Citizens Advice Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole can provide free advice for a range of issues including; Benefits, Housing, Employment, Legal and immigration amongst many other areas of support.
When contacting Citizens Advice Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole, International students will be supported with dignity and respect, to find a way forward, whatever their problem. If we can’t help directly, we’ll ensure smooth signposting to or referrals to trusted partner’s who can provide the advice needed.”
BCP Citizens Advice
The UKNFS has a long ten years+ and honourable history of working with international students’ communities (the society largely originated from the development of a group of Nepali post graduate students at Bournemouth University) from Chinese, to Indonesian, European, and of course Nepali with our friends at Bournemouth University, and the university’s Students Union.
As such, building on pre-existing work (http://uknfs.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/UKNFS-Nepali-internattional-students-information-resource.pdf / http://uknfs.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/UKNFS-International-Students-Resource-Dedication-from-Dr-Suresh.pdf), we were delighted to support the outstanding Indian students support work of our friends and key partner, One Community Hampshire and Dorset (OCHD) as the impacts of Covid 19 emerged. A major outcome of this support work has taken valuable, tangible form in the creation of this resource for both international students and academic and on-academic stakeholders working with or providing services to the latter.
This resource will valuably supplement existing induction and welcome resources and provide HE and college service providers from students’ union relevant officers through to vice chancellor to international office, and other relevant offices of universities and their equivalents in the international language colleges sector, on inductions and related information resources and provision, and subsequent support on issues and needs experienced by international students.
Chief Executive Officer, UK Nepal Friendship Society
One Community Hampshire and Dorset is proud to be the principal, joint partner in this much needed information provision initiative of our friends at the UK Nepal Friendship Society. We also thank Dorset Community Foundation for their greatly appreciated role in helping fund creation on the resource and its dissemination.
This information resource will help countless international students studying or considering studying in the UK, and all of the universities and colleges in the UK who seek to welcome them in 2021 and the years ahead. It has been a great privilege to have supported hundreds of our Indian international students over many months in 2020 as they faced often trauma and many difficulties arising from the Covid 19 impacts.
Pritheepal Singh,Chief Executive Officer, One Community Hampshire and Dorset, and UKNFS Director