Around The World in 12 Days!
The journey begins
It often starts the same way. There’s an event or meeting arranged with a partner, our customers are now in 20 countries, and that typically means a long-haul flight. Then the question: is there anything else I can do en route? Before long, the ‘trip’ is coming together nicely, In this instance to India and South Korea. Then, the curve ball comes. The event and/or meeting that you really want to attend as well, however the dates or the location make it somewhat challenging to attend them all. There’s always a solution though, right? Yes. And that’s how I’ve just got back from a trip to Delhi, Seoul and Lima.
India is still a relatively new market for NCUK. We offer the first year of an International Undergraduate Degree in Business Management with The Chopras Institute of Education. The NCUK International Year One is studied in Delhi and successful students progress on to one of the NCUK Universities. Our Year One guarantees routes to ten leading NCUK Universities and has great progression rates for students at university. 87% pass and 80% get a first or second class degree.
Year One qualifications are often seen as a Plan B, a second best option for students, perhaps an option for students who didn’t do so well. If you could get in, you’d go straight away, wouldn’t you? Probably in an ideal world but not all students know what they want to do when making their applications to university. Some students end up doing better than expected and want to change plans.
My niece is a perfect example. She’s just turned 18 and has been making her university applications here in the UK. She’s interested in a range of arts, media and design courses and it’s been hard deciding which direction to go in. I’ve been surprised how little support and guidance there is for UK students. Working in international student recruitment for NCUK, one key area of our service provision is around university application support. It’s one thing to pass an exam, it’s a completely different thing to get accepted into university.
For the students at The Chopras, the guidance starts before they join the course. Options for access to year two Bachelors degrees are understandably limited. Our University Admissions and Placement team work with The Chopras to ensure the students are given the best advice and clear indication of their options. We always want to put the students best interests first.
As to this being a plan B, Shivin Gupta, one of the first cohort of NCUK students in India graduated last year with a First Class degree from the University of Manchester. He’s just started his Masters at the London School of Economics. I wish I’d had a plan B like that.
One of the challenges we have at NCUK is that prospective parents, and sometimes students, often think our ‘guarantee’ is too good to be true. Pass any of our qualifications and we’ll guarantee you a place at one of our leading universities. Combined with parents wanting to ensure the best for their son and daughter, launching the Year One as a standalone qualification can take time for confidence to grow in a market.
With more success stories like Shivin’s we’re sure that this route at The Chopras will become more and more popular. There’s still good demand for UK higher education in India and we also had some great planning meetings in Delhi to look at other market opportunities.
Leaving Delhi, I headed to Seoul. Too late for the Olympics, too early for the Paralympics unfortunately however, right on time to welcome the 15th Cohort of IEN Korean students. Being one of NCUK’s most successful partnerships, IEN Institute prepares over one hundred students a year for university. With a 97% success rate, it’s no surprise numbers continue to grow at the Study Centre.
The Welcome these students get is second to none. Former students send home short video clips sharing news, stories and most importantly, their experience of having completed their studies in Korea and life at university overseas. Many of the students in the audience, and their parents, are apprehensive at the start of their journey. Who wouldn’t be if you were about to embark on relocating half way round the world.
The transformation in these students over the year is great to see. By the time the NCUK Annual Awards come round the following year, these once quiet students have started university and brim with confidence. Their support infrastructure from IEN tutors isn’t there, but the learning and experience gained from studying with NCUK at IEN has put them in a strong position. Their teachers in Seoul and in the UK also inspire them and help them develop an even greater passion for their subject. It’s a common piece of feedback from our Korean students.
The Lima Leg
And so, having started the weekend welcoming the 15th cohort of NCUK students in Seoul, I headed to Lima to welcome the first ever cohort of NCUK students in Lima. Our partners there, Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (UPC), launched the NCUK qualifications last year and have since been raising awareness of study options overseas to students within their own university as well as at high schools in Lima and further afield. Whilst there are a few hundred students choosing university life in the UK, it’s not the normal route. With NCUK being part of the Northern Consortium (NC) charitable group, and the aim to widen participation in international higher education, it’s great coming to relatively new markets and being able to raise awareness of a range of opportunities. We’d love all our students to choose an NCUK university, but part of our ethos is to ensure students choose the route that is best for them.
Also confirmed at the launch was a new route for students from 2019 to study their first two years of a Liverpool John Moores degree in Civil Engineering before going to Liverpool to complete their degree. Given the love for all things Liverpudlian in Lima, I have a strong suspicion that this will be a popular ‘bridge’ for UPC students. And yes, sorry for that pun! With LJMU having strong employment links, it will be a great career choice for many.
UPC, NCUK and our NCUK Universities are keen to explore UK-Peruvian links. The Northern Consortium has recently approved a range of funding for NCUK university international initiatives. one supports students from The University of Sheffield to attend a summer school at UPC. Whilst we’re told UK students don’t typically travel, who wouldn’t want to spend the summer in Lima? If you’ve been, you’re sure to recommend it to others. For Sheffield, the funding opens up summer abroad initiatives as part of their commitment to Universities UK #GoInternational campaign and their widening participation agenda. For NCUK students on campus, they’ll be able to hear first hand from students what to expect when they arrive.
But back to the first cohort. What a group of inspirational students and brave parents. After their welcome ceremony we had some time to chat and as with in Korea, there were some nervous parents worried about what life would be like in the UK. However, in an increasing competitive global jobs market, they realise choosing to study in the UK will open up networks and opportunities that their son or daughter might not receive otherwise. Employers are increasingly looking for graduates who stand out from the crowd and studying abroad can really help students do that.
So as an employer and as someone who didn’t get the opportunity to study abroad, but did teach overseas for seven years, for all those students out there – what are you waiting for! #myNCUK #WeAreInternational #studyabroad