My name is Tamsin Carey, I represent IDP UK and I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to be a guest blogger here at AIEC 2014.
Despite the jet lag which a nice long flight from the UK will provide, I had a great day yesterday attending the IDP briefing and catching up with many colleagues from around the world. I then attended the Welcome Plenary last night which marked the start of AIEC 2014.
Having worked in the area of international student support in a UK university throughout the time when we saw real growth in the number of international students and witnessing the challenges that growth bought to the support services of the University, it was interesting once again to see all the talks on improving the quality of the international student experience.
Senator McKenzie talked about Australian universities being empowered to be the best they can be, and thereby helping students to reach their full potential. She also talked about the importance of international students having a positive student experience and that they should be fully supported in this. She particularly made reference to the quality of student accommodation and the need for visa processes to be streamlined to help students to reach their potential and also to make Australia more competitive to international students.
The Lord Major of Brisbane echoed this in his engaging speech and said that international students were of real value to Australia and to Brisbane. He was also keen to ensure that international students were provided with a high quality of living.
Quality seemed to be the word of the night as Senator McKenzie closed with ‘the key to going forward is quality’.
On that note, the IEAA awards were a superb example of the scope, range and innovation of international educational professionals and the high quality work that they do in this area. IEAA is celebrating 10 years of advocacy and support for Australia’s international education professionals and marked the occasion with a very large cake which took centre stage following the awards ceremony and which I unhappily failed to get a slice of at the reception later!
The Conference promises to be a great mix of sessions and speakers and I’m looking forward to what the first day will bring.