In January and February, members of the Alumni Advisory Panel 2021-2023 were invited to review the CSC’s Pre-Departure Briefing sessions (PDB) and materials, as part of an ongoing review of this activity led by the CSC’s Programme and Policy teams.

Preparing Scholars for their study in the UK

Every year before they travel to the UK, the CSC invites scholars (living in countries where there is a British Council office working with the CSC) to attend a PDB session, either in-person, online, or by telephone. The briefing is an opportunity for the CSC to introduce Scholars to life in the UK, provide information on practical concerns such as finding accommodation, and generally prepare Scholars for their time studying abroad.

Following several internal pieces of work looking at scholar experience, the CSC’s Policy and Programme teams will be updating the briefing in 2022 to make it more relevant to the challenges Scholars are likely to face.

Panel insights

Members of the Alumni Advisory Panel were asked to review the existing PDB PowerPoint presentation and, reflecting on their own experience of attending a session and studying in the UK, offer ideas and feedback for how it might be improved. Panel members who did not receive a formal PDB were invited to share their insights on key information to be included in the briefing presentation, based on their experiences.

All 98 panel members were invited to consult on this activity and 47 shared their feedback, a response rate of 48%.

Below you can read some of the key insights:

  • Participating panel members reported that current the briefing session information was useful and comprehensive
  • Feedback indicated that the core areas addressed in the briefing session PowerPoint presentation were appropriate
  • It was recommended that information on organising accommodation and the process of travelling to the UK be reviewed, with new areas to address suggested
  • Accessibility of the briefing sessions, such as location, timing, and mode of delivery, were highlighted as requiring further review to enable as many Scholars to attend the briefings as possible
  • Increased opportunities for Commonwealth Alumni to play a larger role in the sessions was suggested

A full report on the responses gathered has been produced and will be used to advise future updates. Members of the Alumni Advisory Panel and wider Commonwealth Alumni may be called on to provide further feedback and insights.

Thank you to all panel members who took part in this consultation.

About the CSC’s Alumni Advisory Panel

The CSC’s Alumni Advisory Panel provides a platform for Commonwealth Alumni to support the future of the programme and its Scholars by sharing personal insight and expertise to contribute to the development of CSC activities. Panel members are appointed for a two-year term and represent the multitude of knowledge and expertise within the CSC alumni community, with members selected from across the Commonwealth and CSC Scholarship and Fellowship schemes.