On Friday 20th October, students from the University of Exeter were invited to attend a Q&A session with Professor Tim Quine, their Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Education. The first session was created to discuss Brexit and the implications it will have on students and the university whilst the second was design for students to talk about their university experience and any problems they had.
It came as quite a surprise when only two students showed up to the second meeting, however the discussion that followed branched into many topics of student life and studies at the University.
Firstly, we discussed the benefits of Grand Challenges and how collaborations between different disciplines and courses, such as field trips for students, could be advantageous to university life. Professor Quine also wondered if more could be done within the Sciences. One of the main questions that came out of this Q&A was how communication with such a diverse student community could be made easier. Ideas of making staff and student support more accessible through the press and social “day-to day’ media were brought up, as were being able to communicate through the University’s employability events and numerous societies. In addition, Professor Quine praised the idea of field trips offered by the various university courses, one of which the aforementioned student had been on and enjoyed, because they offered the University attendees a chance to apply what they had been taught to the real world outside university. An emphasis was placed on the fact that leaving campus could be helpful, but the chance to “completely immerse” oneself in another country should not be passed over. The student also mentioned that that the “world-class” teachings they received were all due to the lecturers and “real situations” they were placed in during their course. An agreement was made that it was more beneficial for students to put their research into practice during their degree instead of after graduating.
Finally, after speaking about the opportunity that an international experience could offer to out of reach students, the Q&A ended with an accentuation on the importance of how learning from others, and in turn teaching them, could grant you important feedback for your studies and graduate life.
Therefore, we should ask ourselves the question: should interdisciplinary connections be encouraged? Is our campus really beneficial for international students?