An astonishing 21 per cent of the top 500 institutions did not reply to student enquiries. Photo by The New School on Flickr under Creative Commons licence.

An astonishing 21 per cent of the top 500 institutions did not reply to student enquiries. Photo by The New School on Flickr under Creative Commons licence.

An astonishing 21 per cent of the top 500 institutions did not reply to student enquiries. Photo by The New School on Flickr under Creative Commons licence.

How effective are the online information and enquiry services of the top 500 universities? The British Council's Elizabeth Shepherd looks at new research that evaluates the recruitment process through the eyes of prospective international students.  The research will be presented at the European Association of International Education (EAIE) Conference, taking place from 16 to 19 September.

'Integrating international students into the home community is fundamental to internationalising higher education.' Photo by Mat Wright / British Council

'Integrating international students into the home community is fundamental to internationalising higher education.' Photo by Mat Wright / British Council

'Integrating international students into the home community is fundamental to internationalising higher education.' Photo by Mat Wright / British Council

International students make a vital academic, economic and cultural contribution to the UK’s higher education sector, but whose responsibility is it to make them feel welcome? The British Council’s Zainab Malik writes about our research on the matter, released today.

People expect humanities graduates to be able to write, present, and speak in a manner sensitive to local cultural contexts. Photo of Sindh after the flood by DFID under Creative Commons licence.

People expect humanities graduates to be able to write, present, and speak in a manner sensitive to local cultural contexts. Photo of Sindh after the flood by DFID under Creative Commons licence.

People expect humanities graduates to be able to write, present, and speak in a manner sensitive to local cultural contexts. Photo of Sindh after the flood by DFID under Creative Commons licence.

Scientific and technical knowledge is vital in tackling development challenges such as poverty and security, but so are the humanities, according to a study into the value of the humanities. Meghann Jones of Ipsos Public Affairs, which carried out the research, explains.

'I now carry a small notebook wherever I go in case I suddenly get inspired to write a short poem or an interesting observation.' Photo by Javier M. on Flickr under Creative Commons licence.

'I now carry a small notebook wherever I go in case I suddenly get inspired to write a short poem or an interesting observation.' Photo by Javier M. on Flickr under Creative Commons licence.

'I now carry a small notebook wherever I go in case I suddenly get inspired to write a short poem or an interesting observation.' Photo by Javier M. on Flickr under Creative Commons licence.

What does it take to switch off the phone and get writing? Doris Lam has just completed a creative writing course at the University of East Anglia after winning a competition for Hong Kong senior high school students. She explains how her visit to the UK inspired her creativity. 

'My strategy for fighting for my rights was to take up a course in law'. Photo: British Council.

'My strategy for fighting for my rights was to take up a course in law'. Photo: British Council.

'My strategy for fighting for my rights was to take up a course in law'. Photo: British Council.

Despite receiving a 'not guilty' verdict, Peter Ouku was sentenced to death in 2009 for the murder of his wife. Determined to fight for his rights and find purpose in life in prison, he studied for a diploma in law with the University of London. He tells us about his journey from being a death row inmate to his graduation last