|Induction trainíng program for new support staff||Institutional Processes Capacity Building of Support & Management Staff||Administrative staff|
|Checklists for internal support processes||Administrative & Legal Support Institutional Processes||Administrative staff|
|Collaborations facilitating social integration (e.g. administrative procedures, accommodation, language, family issues, socialising)||Social Integration & Daily Life Language Support, Language Policy Family Matters Profesional & Academic Development Networking Administrative & Legal Support Accommodation Safety, Healthcare & Wellbeing Social security, Health Insurance, Taxation Institutional Processes Promotion & Visibility Visa, Residence & Work Permit Institutional strategy||PhD student/Early career researcher R2 - R4 researchers Lecturers (incl. Language Teachers) Internationals spouses/family members|
|Strategic approach to building a welcoming environment and offering quality support services for international academics||Institutional Processes Institutional strategy||PhD student/Early career researcher R2 - R4 researchers Lecturers (incl. Language Teachers) Administrative staff Management staff|
|Workshop on career planning for international PhD students||Profesional & Academic Development||PhD student/Early career researcher|
|Cultural orientation courses for international PhD students/academics/spouses||Social Integration & Daily Life Family Matters||PhD student/Early career researcher R2 - R4 researchers Lecturers (incl. Language Teachers)|
|Soft skills trainings for support staff||Institutional Processes Capacity Building of Support & Management Staff||Administrative staff Management staff|
|Specialised blogs and podcasts||Social Integration & Daily Life Networking Promotion & Visibility||PhD student/Early career researcher R2 - R4 researchers Lecturers (incl. Language Teachers) Internationals spouses/family members|
|Networking institutional events for support staff||Capacity Building of Support & Management Staff||Administrative staff|
|Networking events for family members||Social Integration & Daily Life Family Matters Networking Promotion & Visibility||PhD student/Early career researcher R2 - R4 researchers Internationals spouses/family members|
|Networking events for PhD students and academics||Social Integration & Daily Life Profesional & Academic Development Networking||PhD student/Early career researcher R2 - R4 researchers Lecturers (incl. Language Teachers)|
|Mobility data collection and management||Administrative & Legal Support Institutional Processes Institutional strategy||Administrative staff Management staff|
|Mentoring scheme for support staff||Capacity Building of Support & Management Staff||Administrative staff|
|Local language courses for international PhDs and academics||Social Integration & Daily Life Language Support, Language Policy Family Matters Profesional & Academic Development Networking||PhD student/Early career researcher R2 - R4 researchers Lecturers (incl. Language Teachers) Internationals spouses/family members|
|Free legal advice for international PhDs/academics||Administrative & Legal Support||PhD student/Early career researcher R2 - R4 researchers|
|FAQs collection for support staff to share cases internally||Institutional Processes Capacity Building of Support & Management Staff||Administrative staff Management staff|
|Collaboration with alumni||Profesional & Academic Development Networking Promotion & Visibility||PhD student/Early career researcher R2 - R4 researchers Lecturers (incl. Language Teachers)|
|Comprehensive welcome well-structured webpage in English||Institutional Processes Promotion & Visibility||PhD student/Early career researcher R2 - R4 researchers Lecturers (incl. Language Teachers)|
|Welcome buddies/guides for international PhD students and academics||Social Integration & Daily Life Family Matters Networking||PhD student/Early career researcher R2 - R4 researchers Lecturers (incl. Language Teachers)|
|Customised assistance: visa and residence permit||Visa, Residence & Work Permit||PhD student/Early career researcher R2 - R4 researchers Lecturers (incl. Language Teachers)|
|Induction trainíng program for new support staff||
The main benefit of this practice is that this kind of training improves the efficiency and effectiveness of the support staff work. It also increases the levels of satisfaction of the end-users such as researchers in mobility, international PhD students and academic staff.
This training should be offered to all newcomer staff. It will enhance the procces of introduction to the newcomers and shorter the time for their integration.
As a result the newcomers will be able to engage in the process faster and deliver high-quality service, improving their capacity for the job.
|Checklists for internal support processes||
The goal of preparing a check-lists of internal support processes is to collect and describe information in a user-centered manner.
|Collaborations facilitating social integration (e.g. administrative procedures, accommodation, language, family issues, socialising)||
Social integration, in a narrow sense, may refer mainly to socio-cultural integration enabling the creation of personal connections/networking of international PhD students/researchers/academics, and their family members with their local and other international doctoral and academic fellows. In a broader context, it covers also other integration activities like finding a proper place for living, opportunities for career development, language learning, smooth access to the labour market and education to family members, access to health care, etc. However, also handling all the administrative issues related to relocation (residence permits, health/social insurance, tax, vehicle registration, pets, etc.) in smooth, clear procedures helps a lot for better navigation in the new setting. Being comfortable with the local environment may be substantial to the overall PhD/academics' performance.
Often international welcome centres or one-stop shops established by local/regional/national authorities or associations of several HEIs/research organisations in the city can take over many of the mentioned responsibilities, provide services in a structured manner for a critical mass of clients, promote the city/region efficiently, organise various events about life in the country/city, provide labour-market orientation and dual-career counseling services, offer domestic language courses, etc.
Here we focus on listing possible partners for collaborations to provide more advanced and higher quality services and a broader portfolio of them. Practical steps on how to establish them are also briefly drafted. Although establishing collaborations with numerous external partners might seem a laborious effort, such synergies might bring fruit in clearer/more detailed guidelines, databases, shared responsibilities, better information flow, and even saved human/financial resources.
|Strategic approach to building a welcoming environment and offering quality support services for international academics||
Building a welcoming environment and improving support services for international students and staff is a high-level goal that needs to be recognized in the institution's strategies and related action plans. Based on such a strategic approach, institutions could reflect on the topic from a broader perspective related to its contribution to the achievement of the other institutional goals and missions. Incorporating this topic in an institutional strategic plan or internationalization strategy reflects the institution's commitment to these goals and, thus, involves an internal discussion on possible ways to achieve them.
|Workshop on career planning for international PhD students||
Short interactive workshop to familiarise PhD researchers with basic career planning methods and tools and introduce them into the job search strategies and tools for researchers (in both local and international labour market).
By the end of the workshop participants should:
|Cultural orientation courses for international PhD students/academics/spouses||
Short course/series of courses on local cultural specifics. These include both specifics of everyday life and of organisational culture. The trainees will be able to deal better in everyday communication and to act more efficiently as a member of your ourganisation. Their spouses will find it easier to adapt to local cultural specifics..
Intercultural differences, sometime invisible, may destroy any team. The best way to:
Is to integrate them as much as possible into the local and organisational culture.
The easiest and most effective way is to offer a series of short (preferrably 1-hour-long) courses on different themes from your local and your organisational culture. It is even more efficient if each of them is combined with a relevant informal event involving local researchers or visiting an external event, museum or exhibition. This way the international PhD students/academics and their spouses will be able to combine theory and practice, which in turn will facilitate their integration in the local/organisational culture providing them with opportunities to further socialise and with (hopefully) nice memories.
|Soft skills trainings for support staff||
The main benefit of this practice is that this kind of training improves the efficiency and effectiveness of the support staff work. It also increases the satisfaction levels of international PhD students and academic staff. As a result, the atmosphere in both administrative and academic teams becomes much better since a lot of conflicts and misunderstandings would be avoided and communication will run more smoothly.
The most important thing for this practice is that to achieve sustainable results such courses need to be offered on a regular basis.
|Specialised blogs and podcasts||
Both the specialised blogs and podcasts are a very effective and efficient way how to better connect with the current and potential target audience of international PhD students, academics, and researchers providing an insight into host HEI's institutional life and culture and welcoming environment. Those media allow you not only to keep the members/followers up-to-date with the latest events, but also promote vital topics and new initiatives, inspiring stories, and express opinions. Both activities should bring less formal but still valuable and entertaining content which should be complementary to the content published on the host HEI institutional website and social media. Both activities help encourage their followers/readers/listeners to become host HEI's ambassadors and raise its visibility and global presence.
The great benefit of podcast listening opportunities is their mobile nature. Podcast audio content gives listeners the ability to dive into topics without having to set aside time to read or watch a video (e.g.during commuting, jogging, cycling, cooking, etc.).
|Networking institutional events for support staff||
The main aim of institutional events for support staff is to strengthen the professional knowledge of support staff through different types of meetings/events but also optimize information flows and procedures. Via these events, they can share experience and ideas, develop and share contacts within and outside of the organisation and improve internal processes. External experts/partners can be invited to such events or they can be organised jointly with them to expand and deepen collaborations for the sake of a smoother incoming researcher and academic staff mobility. The practice could eventually prepare the ground or even lead towards a broader scope of further professional development activities for support staff, including various focused trainings.
|Networking events for family members||
The networking events for family members can contribute to both the researchers' and their families' better integration in the host country. Regular meet-ups can improve opportunities for networking, making in-person contacts, sharing knowledge, asking questions, and for receiving advice about the local environment.
In addition, regular meetings can strengthen the local community, also involving local players - HEI management, research, administrative staff, and local stakeholders among others.
|Networking events for PhD students and academics||
Networking events, be it live or virtual, could help connect PhDs and academics with similar interests, and they could also help them discover different ways of approaching certain aspects of academia life. They could be organized in the form of conferences, seminars, lab meetings, various social events as well as online social networks, where social media profiles of academics can be used for a rather useful purpose. Such events bring people from different fields of academia together, creating opportunities for them to hear about other people's research, and also allowing them to discover different institutions they could visit in order to gain new knowledge.
|Mobility data collection and management||
Collecting and managing data about mobility could significantly affect the quality of the institutional process related to assisting mobile researchers and internationalization in general. It produces a body of evidence for strategic decision-making, facilitates smooth and effective communication with mobile researchers, provides a framework for a flow of activities related to assistance, and improves the efficiency and productivity of the service center.
|Mentoring scheme for support staff||
The aim of this activity is to pair employees involved in providing services to international academics in a mentoring relationship to foster professional development and career growth while building an inclusive culture and diverse networks.
|Local language courses for international PhDs and academics||
This is a key service for effective social integration of international PhD students, academics, and researchers, especially in everyday life outside the academic context. It is an advantage if the hosting HEI can provide the service within its own resources (by Language Department/ Language Centre) with experts trained in teaching the national language as a foreign language. Moreover, the language department could also offer other foreign language courses.
If the hosting HEI does not have sufficient capacity, partnerships with other HEIs in the city could be formed or HEI should create a database of language schools in the city/region. The starting point could be the existing practice of providing language courses for incoming Erasmus+ students. A complementary option is to explore whether there are any already existing e-learning national language courses and offer them to internationals as an opportunity to get acquainted with the basics of the language even before their arrival in the host country.
|Free legal advice for international PhDs/academics||
International students and researchers often face a broad variety of legal issues during their stay in a host country. Professional legal advice can be rather costly and therefore not accessible to all scholars, particularly for early stage ones. Free legal advice offered to international scholars can help resolve and prevent difficult situations that could require more time and resources, compormise their security or cause reputational damage to the institution.
|FAQs collection for support staff to share cases internally||
The FAQs platform is a practical tool for storage of practical information and good practices for processing the agenda of incoming PhD students and academics. It´s a database of standardized responses/solutions to recurring questions helping thus the support staff members efficiently navigate through administrative processes/issues they typically encounter. It is particularly useful for newcomer support staff as well as for situations occurring just sporadically. It could be part of an internal knowledge-sharing platform or any other type of intranet.
|Collaboration with alumni||
Database of PhD students/academics and a structured programme how to engage alumni in the academic and public life of the HEI.
Various forms of collaboration engaging alumni are possible e.g.: information sharing/distribution, organising events, alumni as academic and cultural ambassadors, alumni as academic and intercultural mentors
Active alumni networks of international PhDs and academics play an important role in strengthening the HEI reputation at the international level. Their knowledge and working and life experience represent a valuable resource from which potential/future Ph.D. students and visiting academics can greatly benefit. Active alumni are valuable assets for the HEI, their experience of living in a host country and the knowledge of how they incorporated their study or research/academic activity at the particular HEI into their further professional career can help the HEI optimize their study/research programmes, academic or research conditions, and external cooperations. Alumni can help in achieving higher visibility of the HEI nationally and internationally, they can create bridges among different cultures and reach out to broader academic and public audience.
On the other hand, the alumni can benefit from a variety of professionals and workplaces and continue their lifelong learning and develop rewarding collaborations.
|Comprehensive welcome well-structured webpage in English||
The institutional welcome website is usually the first source of information about the HEI, typically containing information on the most important aspects related to smooth preparation and actual onboarding. It is important that the information is structured in a way that reflects the logic of end-users perspective. The webpage should be easy to navigate and high-quality SEOs should be used. The information on the website has to be regularly updated including the FAQ section which typically draws the highest traffic.
|Welcome buddies/guides for international PhD students and academics||
This is a form of personal assistance that helps international PhD students and academics with the adaptation process in the new environment handling not only practical issues but also help them with social and cultural integration. While the basic services such as airport/train transport assistance or arrival to the hosting university/faculty can be provided by local undergraduate students (Erasmus+ buddies), international PhD students and academics, especially in terms of social and cultural integration, need a more sophisticated approach and the commitment of his/her new colleagues.
|Customised assistance: visa and residence permit||
Customised assistance provided to international Ph.D. students, academics, and researchers that fits best their specific needs, especially regarding information that may not be readily available on the institution's website or checklist. Immigration issues are the most crucial area of support. This service requires well-trained support staff in this area, with understanding of legal issues, practical procedures and possibly also collaborations and contacts for exact expert information provision. The goal is to provide the highest level and quality of service. Various levels/intensities of service provision might be opted for based on specific needs and available resources.
|Title||Importance||Scale of change||Setup cost||Setup time||Setup personnel||Delivery cost||Delivery time||Delivery personnel|
|Induction trainíng program for new support staff||Important to have|
|Checklists for internal support processes||Essential to have|
|Collaborations facilitating social integration (e.g. administrative procedures, accommodation, language, family issues, socialising)||Important to have|
|Strategic approach to building a welcoming environment and offering quality support services for international academics||Essential to have|
|Workshop on career planning for international PhD students||Nice to have|
|Cultural orientation courses for international PhD students/academics/spouses||Important to have|
|Soft skills trainings for support staff||Important to have|
|Specialised blogs and podcasts||Nice to have|
|Networking institutional events for support staff||Important to have|
|Networking events for family members||Nice to have|
|Networking events for PhD students and academics||Important to have|
|Mobility data collection and management||Important to have|
|Mentoring scheme for support staff||Important to have|
|Local language courses for international PhDs and academics||Essential to have|
|Free legal advice for international PhDs/academics||Nice to have|
|FAQs collection for support staff to share cases internally||Important to have|
|Collaboration with alumni||Important to have|
|Comprehensive welcome well-structured webpage in English||Essential to have|
|Welcome buddies/guides for international PhD students and academics||Important to have|
|Customised assistance: visa and residence permit||Essential to have|