International cultural programme development project

This project was part of the Centre for Internationalisation of the Curriculum and Networking BSLE bid and built on the cultural programme for students which was initiated in the academic year 2007-8. This programme offered all international students at the university opportunities to join in cultural activities organized on a weekly basis over 10 weeks of each semester. The activities included visits to local places of interest, e.g. Oxford Castle, local museums, and colleges; lectures or talks given by experts on subjects such as film in the UK, theatre, and cricket; and more obviously social activities such as demonstrations of (and participation in) Scottish dancing, Morris dancing, and a Barn Dance.

The programme was designed to:

  • develop  the awareness of international students of the cultural environment in which they are living and studying;
  • encourage  students to pursue professional as well as personal  interests eg in theatre outside the classroom; through volunteering;
  • offer  students who might otherwise feel isolated, in particular international  pg students, the opportunity to meet others from across the university on an informal and relaxed basis;
  • offer  a regular programme of events and high quality experiences.

Project objectives:

To give international students the opportunity:

  • to broaden their cultural experience of living and studying in the UK;
  • to improve their knowledge and understanding of their environment; and
  • to develop their intercultural skills through a programme of visits and events.

In all over 232 students participated in the project in the first semester and 248 in the second semester this academic year, with an average attendance of 24 students per activity. Some attended regularly, others occasionally. The participants represented the whole range of students across the university, from pre-foundation to post graduate, and an extremely wide range of nationalities. Student input influenced the choice of events, particularly in the second semester, with theatre visits, guided walks and social events proving especially popular.  Some events, including Barn Dances and end of semester parties were held jointly with the Social programme. All in all feedback from the participants was positive in the extreme, and this project was felt to have been of great value in providing international students with an extra dimension to their experience while studying at Brookes.

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS

Teresa Woodbridge (Brookes International)
twoodbridge@brookes.ac.uk
Tel: ext 4366

Sally Saca (ISAS)
ssaca@brookes.ac.uk
Tel: ext 4680