Sheffield is rightly proud of its internationalisation programme, which is all about increasing international diversity among the student cohort, developing teaching and research partnerships with overseas institutions, and making Sheffield a genuinely welcoming and global university. The ‘post Brexit’ era certainly brings with it some new challenges but it also offers exciting opportunities. For example in the School of English we have been working on strengthening our ties with Latin America and South East Asia.
In March this year I made a trip to Chile where I attended several recruitment fairs in Chile and met with colleagues at Concepcion University to discuss partnership opportunities. Chile is a strong market for the arts and humanities and English in particular is a priority area for the Chilean government. Chile’s scholarship council ‘Conicyt’ has also signed an agreement endorsing the University of Sheffield as a top destination for Chilean students. It was great to see at the recruitment fairs lots of enthusiasm among Chilean young people for programmes across the School of English, particularly Applied Linguistics, English Language and Linguistics, and Theatre.
The growth this year in applications to the school from Vietnam and Thailand shows how raising our visibility really can pay dividends (last year Kook-hee Gil visited these countries to promote the School). Social media is also proving to be a useful tool for getting our message out there: the MA in Applied Linguistics now has videos featuring students from Malaysia and Chile, as well as a web profile by Paz, a Chilean student currently studying with us, while Twitter and YouTube have been useful companion platforms.
I’m also very excited about plans developed with colleagues at the top-ranking Universidad de Concepcion to set up a partnership with the School of English. This will include staff research exchanges, student exchanges, and student internships; in fact an undergraduate student from Sheffield University is already heading out to do a summer internship this year. So with the enthusiasm and financial support from Conicyt and Concepcion University, there are exciting opportunities for staff and students to inject a little more Latin into the School of English.