With campuses in Scotland, Dubai and
Malaysia, Heriot-Watt University offers students the unique opportunity to
spend time studying abroad at one of its global campus locations. Course
content, assessment methods and examinations are the same at each campus, offering
students a seamless transition between their studies.
Background to Inter-Campus mobility at HWU
Heriot-Watt’s first global campus opened
in Dubai International Academic City in 2005, and in 2014 this was followed by
a campus in Putrajaya, Malaysia. In 2015, Heriot-Watt formalised its outward mobility
offer with the launch of its Go Global programme. Since then, students have been encouraged to
take part in an Inter-Campus Transfer during their studies, and participation
has increased from approximately 40 students in 2015–16 to an anticipated 400
Whilst this growth is impressive,
Heriot-Watt wants to make Go Global inclusive to all students and recognises
that not every student is able to transfer their studies abroad for a semester
or year. Therefore, in addition to the regular Inter-Campus Transfers,
Heriot-Watt launched short-term mobility opportunities of approximately two
weeks. There are a number of Go Global Travel Awards each year, funded by
alumni donations. A proportion of the funds are set aside to support these
shorter mobility trips.
The annual short-term trips began in
2016 when Heriot Watt hosted students from the Malaysia Campus to spend two
weeks in Edinburgh. This year, a project was developed to enable a group of
students from the Scottish Campuses to travel to Malaysia, to coincide with the
inbound visit. Funding was secured from
the Go Global Travel Fund and the university’s Santander Mobility Grant Fund,
allowing the university to provide eligible students with fully funded trips.
A fully-funded trip to the Malaysia campus to attend classes, along with a programme of activities, was offered to
students who may not otherwise have the opportunity or confidence to take part
in an Inter-Campus Transfer. The trip was
offered to second- and third-year Scottish-domiciled students in receipt of a
Heriot-Watt Access Bursary. The eligibility criteria for this bursary consists
of a number of widening participation priorities including SIMD20 postcodes,
care experience, mature students and entry from associate colleges.
Overall, 13 students registered their
interest in the programme, with 12 making the trip to Malaysia in January 2019.
The short-term trip
Staff in Edinburgh and Malaysia worked
together to arrange academic timetables, travel and accommodation. Class schedules ensured that the students
would attend the mandatory classes for their degree programmes. Accommodation
was arranged at the university residences so that students could stay together,
along with students from the local campus. The students travelled to Malaysia
together, were met at Kuala Lumpur Airport and dropped off at their
With support from Heriot-Watt University
Malaysia’s Student Success Advisor and student volunteer ‘buddies’, the
students enjoyed two weeks, starting with a couple of free days to explore on
their own, and acclimatise to the time zone and hot weather. Tours were organised by the Malaysia Campus
around the cities of Kuala Lumpur and Melaka. Studies commenced with school
inductions, a full campus tour and classes.
Feedback reports from the participants
revealed how positive the impact of the trip has been on them, with phrases
such as ‘life-changing’, ‘great friends for life’ and ‘experience has forever
changed me’ being used to describe their journey. Some participants have
already applied for a longer term Inter-Campus Transfer beginning in September
2019 – something that the students may not have considered before the trip
After the success of this pilot group Heriot-Watt
are now securing the funding to make this an annual event.
Steve Watson, Head of the Global Student Office, Heriot-Watt University
Carole Bold, International Marketing Manager, Heriot-Watt University
The UK’s national campaign to double the percentage of UK-domiciled students who study, work or volunteer abroad during their degrees.