If you work for a UK university, then now is the time when you’re likely beginning to receive UCAS Personal Statement submissions from applicants.
Meanwhile, if you’re reading this from an office somewhere in North America, then you’re going to be fielding questions from your prospective international students about the demands of the CommonApp, or Coalition Application (to name but a few types of application essay in the US and Canada)
But put yourself in an international school student’s shoes for a moment. These different essays are often testing for very different skills and competencies.
For example, the UK Personal Statement is designed to gauge a student’s suitability for a particular degree course. Contrast this with a CommonApp essay, which is designed to assess and understand a student’s more personal qualities, such as character, resilience, personal politics and family heritage.
Finally, there’s the challenge of just making a new country their home.
It’s worth remembering that whilst some international students intend to return to their home countries after studying abroad, other students have relocated frequently throughout their childhood... the three-four years they spend at your institution could well be the longest they've ever called somewhere home
While it’s true that international students’ experience of living in another country will vary depending on their background and upbringing, there’s always going to be at least some element of unfamiliarity with a new country, city or campus.