Sussex at UKCISA Fest: Bruna’s experience
By: Joanne Chee
Last updated: Thursday, 7 December 2023
On Wednesday 15 November, a second-year undergraduate student represented the University of Sussex at UKCISA Fest. The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) held this free one-day event for international students in the UK to inform policy and practice through their lived experience.
Students participated in seminars and workshops alongside sector partners and policy makers at International Students House in London, where they had the opportunity to share their diverse experiences. From mental health and wellbeing to academic experience and employability, their insights will be used by UKCISA to help shape policy and enhance the international student experience in the UK.
Bruna Pellegrino De Queiroz, who is studying International Relations and Development at Sussex, reported on the day:
“I had the pleasure of representing Sussex at the UKCISA Fest 2023 in London. International students from all over the country gathered with UKCISA to help contribute towards policy creation and future government strategic plans. Lord Karan Bilimoria (President, UKCISA) and Anne Marie Graham (Chief Executive, UKCISA) opened the plenary when we had the opportunity to be inspired by their words, especially Bilimoria’s own journey as an international student in the UK a few decades ago.
“Being a mature student and having successfully accomplished many bad judgment awards during my six-year gap-year I couldn’t have agreed more with Bilimoria’s quote, ‘Good judgment comes from experience. And experience comes from bad judgment’. I think there is nothing more powerful than learning from your own mistakes. My greatest takeaway from his speech is that, despite all difficulties and missteps, we mustn’t give up. It requires bravery to follow your dreams as well as lifelong learning.
“After some questions and answers, we discussed some of the most pressing issues related to international students, such as the impacts of the cost-of-living crisis and the ideal number of hours that international students should work on a visa. Later, I joined two workshops, one led by the brilliant Deepa Chadha and Iona Murdoch about policymaking and social change, and another led by the captivating Jim Dickinson on effective storytelling, public speaking and policy influencing."
The day ended with more networking and inspiring stories from students themselves and #WeAreInternational Ambassadors.