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Pre Arrival

Signposting Pre-arrival Mental Wellbeing Support

By Campuslife 10 Nov 2021

Moving to a new country is inevitability going to be daunting.  

But, by providing mental wellbeing support before international students arrive, and signposting the help that's available, we can help to lessen these worries. 

Offering a university support network at the earliest opportunity will help to ease students' anxieties before they can escalate. Early communication also helps students become familiar with the resources available should they need them at any point in their university journey. 

But, from speaking to international students ourselves, we discovered that a focal point in providing pre-arrival wellbeing support should also be on making sure that the support services available are effectively promoted to students. 

Students told us that without this step, a lot of the support offered can be missed and unfortunately made redundant with students not knowing what help is available or when they can reach out. 

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By ensuring that the support services offered are effectively signposted in pre-arrival communications, we can try to tackle different barriers that prevent students from accessing support right from the get-go. 

In some countries, resources like this don’t exist at all, whereas for others the type of support universities provide may differ. And even for those international students who are generally aware of a university wellbeing support service,  the specifics of the support offered need to be detailed as they may not know what issues actually warrants support.

If these cultural barriers are not tackled they can further prevent students from accessing support before they arrive, meaning mental wellbeing issues can spiral before students even get here

Action Point:

Ensure pre-arrival communication to students is made up of the 3 C's:

  • Clear
  • Concise
  • Consistent

Write in easy to understand English, avoiding university jargon, acronyms and phrases that may be interpreted as taboo subjects in a students' home culture.

Break your communication down into short, easy to digest and remember 'chunks.' These can be delivered through social media or email newsletters, signposting to more long form content on university websites.

Ensure any information you deliver to students isn't contradicted by other departments. Information and advice needs to be consistent, especially for international students who rely heavily on their institution to guide them on what they need to do.

However support is publicised to international students, the main two take-away is that for this support to be useful, it needs to be effectively communicated to students. 

Early and effective communication of resources is key in providing pre-arrival wellbeing support for international students.