Taking care of the ‘brains’ -
Principles and practice in international student support

Brussels, 19 March 2010


In the increasing global competition for the best ‘brains’, the quality and attractiveness of an institution does no longer depend only on its academic, teaching and research standards: services to students have come to play an important role in the quality assessment – and thus attractiveness - of institutions. However, the development of English-taught programmes and increasing recruitment abroad do not always go hand in hand with the development of suitable and adequate services for international students, and several continental European universities seem to be lagging behind their competitors internationally. But what services should be available? Which of them are essential and which simply ‘nice to haves’? What do international students really need, and how can those needs be addressed within the institutional and national frameworks? What is the impact of all this on the attractiveness of an institution in the international higher education “market”?

This ACA seminar looked at the overall trends and presented models of good institutional and national practice in support for international students. It also present the main outcomes of a recent student survey run by ACA on the support needs of international students. The afternoon working groups enabled participants to discuss and share good practice in addressing some of the main problematic areas in welcoming and caring for international students. The seminar was open for all those involved in internationalisation of higher education, and targets especially institutional policy makers and management, as well as practitioners of internationalisation and/or student support.  

25th in the series “European Policy Seminars” of the Academic Cooperation Association

The seminar was funded with the support of the Erasmus Mundus Programme of the European Union