2. • Aims and background:
• Examine some of the current practice in
international placements at UOL, including:
– resourcing and support needs,
– benefits to departments, students and the
– suggestions for next steps
3. • Study draws on small number of staff
interviews, documentary analysis and the
• Considers: the nature of placements (academic
study and/or work placement), credit issues (for
credit vnot for credit) and duration - role of
shorter placements, even if not credit
bearing, in terms of valuable life experience and
contribution to the formation of global citizens.
4. • This study and report will be extended to
gather more systematic information, include
student views and make formal
recommendations for action.
• We asked a number of questions to
5. • Why do departments/schools offer international
• There was a lot of commonality in responses covering
issues such as employability development, enhancing
career opportunities, and enhancing subject specific
skills as appropriate to the degree programme.
• All respondents also directly mentioned confidence
and self- awareness - though these could be features
of all ‘placements.’
6. • How are international placements
organised/what support is given to students?
• Variety of responses- some students organised
their placements; others had some support from
their department/central services, e.g., Careers
&Employability Serviceand the Student Support
Team; other placements such as teaching
placements in Europe were virtually organised
for the students as these were part of a much
7. • Support during the placement included
pastoral support, academic support and for
those students on 12 month
placements, sometimes tutor visits.
• Two departments had also developed social
networking links to keep in touch with the
students which had proved to be very
8. • Post Placement activities varied a great deal -
from incorporating debrief activities into final
year assessments to more informal
discussions with tutors.
• Area for further research and greater
9. • How are placements monitored?
• Typically work placement–based sandwich years
are monitored by an academic member of
staff, who monitors academic progress through
specified assessment requirements, plus
additional informal contact.
• For study based placements, monitoring is
through academic feedback and also informal
contact.Generally more informal
10. • Numbers of students who had undertaken
international placements (either work or
stud) over the last three years:
• SOCLAS had the largest number of students -
typically about 150-200 students on one year
placements in any one year; other
international placement numbers are much
lower compared to UK based placements
and students suspended studies.
11. • There does not appear to be one single data
source at the University where it is possible
to find out exactly which students are abroad
during any specified period of time.
• We recommend such a central record be
maintained with certain basic
information, e.g., name of student and his
department, where and for how long etc
12. • What support is offered to students undertaking
international placements –both before, during
• Typical pre-placement activities include student
briefings on any assessment
issues, health and safety, and practicalities such
as accommodation but not in all cases.
• Another area of pre-placement support needed is
with visa applications, but this is not always easily
13. • What skills and attributes are gained by students
who undertake international placements?
• A number of factors were mentioned including:
• Confidence - when they come back they know
more about their placement than anybody else
so that gives them confidence to talk about it;
• they ‘become better students’ after having been
on an international placement, and ‘ add a
different dimension to the final year’.
14. • Another respondent commented:
• It definitely changed them and some said it
changed their life and their whole outlook;
I’m not sure whether that makes them better
or different students.
• There is greater cultural awareness, from
those who’ve gone abroad.
15. • What are the benefits of International Placements to
As well as the skills and attributes gained by the
students, other responses included:
• Part of our strategy to engage with alumni. The
placements allow the school to be more competitive
in the current environment and helps to distinguish us
from other Universities and comparator schools.
• From a University and department perspective, there
is a ‘PR side....with the fact that the department can
offer such placements to prospective students’
16. • Conclusions and comment:
• International placements can make an important
contribution to the student experience and
• Clearly adds to student experience and employability
• The university has a range of good experience to draw
on that needs to be captured and shared (along with
experiences form other universities)
17. • Results:
• Variety in practice: short duration to extended
• Commonality in staff’s rationales for offering
development, enhancing career opportunities
and enhancing subject specific skills. Significant
gains in confidence and self-awareness (features
of ‘placements’ in general not just international
18. • Range of organisational structures from DIY
to strong departmental input, often depends
on individual enthusiasts
• Monitoring and support included innovative
e-methods and CLL pre-placement advice
• Increasing interest in international
placements from students and staff
• No central recording of placements or
collation of good practice
19. • Inevitably there are resourcing issues in
further developments, but this can be offset
against time being spent re-inventing the
wheel and the risks that bad wheels are
being invented (with harm to students and
20. • Although this was a small scale study – highlighted many potential
benefits that can be gained by students, departments and the
university in offering international placements.
• However, the resource needs to support such placements
before, during and post-placements are important and they make
the difference in terms of the quality of the learning experience.
• Consider how the learning from such placements can be
incorporated into the assessment processes of the student’s
learning programme so that opportunities to maximise learning