Our Student Services staff are still working hard – as they always are – to meet the needs of students throughout the current pandemic and enforced time away from campus for all of us. The One Dundee bloggers have been speaking to our Student Services colleagues to find out how they are providing support to students near and far in these unprecedented times, and also to let them tell us a little bit more about themselves.

Susan Scott lives in Dundee and has been a part of the University for over 20 years. She is International Student Advisor/International Advice Service (IAS) Manager within Student Services. Susan tells us more about her role and why she loves working with international students.

 

Your Work

 

One Dundee: What’s your role at the University?

Susan: I feel privileged to be part of a thriving, professional team within Student Services, managing the International Advice Service dedicated to supporting students and their families arriving from all corners of the world.

One Dundee: What do you do at work?

Susan: I work with and help international students, guiding them through the immigration maze and helping them with the transition of settling into University. I help establish links with the local community, providing opportunities for students to experience hospitality and engage with community groups. Additionally, I support graduates beyond study on working visa options, which I believe adds value to the international student experience.

One Dundee: What gives you satisfaction at work?

Susan: Working with our international students has widened my perspective over the years, meeting students from all over the world has broadened my cultural awareness and understanding. Helping new students settle into life in Dundee and finding a solution to their problems, whether big or small, throughout their student journey gives me job satisfaction and a sense of personal achievement.

One Dundee: What challenges do you face and how do you deal with them?

Susan: I think the UK Visas and Immigration can sometimes come across as unwelcoming to students who often jump through hoops in the journey to obtain their visas and travel long distances to study with us. Once students arrive in Dundee, I strive to ensure students receive a warm and friendly welcome and are given accurate, impartial advice and practical guidance throughout their studies.

One Dundee: What’s the best thing about your work?

Susan: International students!

After 23 years of service, I’ve been blessed to have developed an in-depth understanding of international students’ diverse customs, perspectives and cultures.

The excellent feedback from students on the service provision is rewarding in itself. Some have kept in touch long after they have graduated and returned home.

One Dundee: And the hardest?

Susan: Although I enjoy specialising in Student Immigration, UK Visas and Immigration’s ever-changing legislation has its challenges.

 

Working from home

 

One Dundee: How has the current lockdown/work from home situation affected what you do?

Susan: I have had to adapt to on-line support and video calls to replace our usual face-to-face appointments and sessions.

One Dundee: Have you found working from home to be more or less effective in terms of work delivery and the job that you do?

Susan: Given many students prefer the personal face to face approach it has been less effective, but in terms of delivery there is more time to respond to emails and video calls to still meet student demands effectively.

One Dundee: How have the needs and demands of students changed and what are you doing that is notably different from normal in the current situation?

Susan: International students are understandably more anxious during these uncertain times, especially where there is a ban on travel and their immigration status affected. Giving them much needed reassurance and advice in line with the UKVI changing regulations, liaising with the Home Office on their behalf when needed and helping them to extend their visas where possible, by all accounts has brought some relief to their situation. Along with my colleagues in student services,

being a friendly face to listen and care in these difficult times I believe goes a long way to remind our students they are not alone, help is always at hand.

One Dundee: Has there been anything particularly supportive during this time?

Susan: I meet regularly for Team chats with student services colleagues and have video calls with colleagues across campus. The feeling is as everyone is in the same position, there is an increased sense of unity and support among colleagues.

 

Campus/the University

 

One Dundee: Do you miss the campus you work on?

Susan: Yes!

One Dundee: What do you most look forward to doing once you are back on campus?

Susan: Meeting and chatting with students and colleagues face to face, and hugs!

One Dundee: Campus hotspot?

Susan: The Global Room, it’s a hive of activity.

One Dundee: Someone at the Uni who inspires you?

Susan: Many people, but if I was to choose one, Dr Fiona Douglas, University Chaplain. She supports and encourages so many students and staff, always with a smile and genuine warmth.

One Dundee: How would you describe the Uni to someone who doesn’t know it?

Susan: A fantastic place to work and study.

 

About You

 

One Dundee: What do you do outside of work?

Susan: I have four sons, two of which are Policemen and one RAF police, and four grandchildren – my second job! I also collect smooth stones and decorate them to give to friends, family and neighbours.

One Dundee: Tell us something we don’t know about you? (Don’t be shy!)

Susan: I keep forgetting my age! I Iost count at 35

One Dundee: Who would you invite to a dinner party?

Susan: After my partner, Michael McIntyre. He’s hilarious!

One Dundee: Why Dundee?

Susan:

Why not Dundee! It’s the sunniest, friendliest City in the UK, boasting one of the best universities and hospitals in the country, surrounded by beautiful countryside and beaches.

 

Quick-Fire Round

 

Tea or coffee? Coffee, with cake!

Facebook or Instagram? Facebook

Pen or pencil? Pen

Morning or afternoon? Afternoon

Phone or email? Phone, it’s more personal

English or maths? English

Books or films? Films

Netflix or Amazon? Netflix

Savoury or sweet? Savoury… crisps all the way!

Run or swim? Run, I’m a like a lead balloon in water!