Beginning in 2002, the British Council has been highlighting the importance of foreign students to the UK through the Shine! – International Student Award. Over the years more than 12,500 students have applied for the award.

For the 2010 award, international students have been asked to write an imaginary letter home, describing some of their experiences that have made their time in Britain worth while. Topics for this year have included how foreign students have made new friends here, how they have grown in personal confidence and stopped feeling shy, and the importance of education in helping you achieve your dreams.

This is in keeping with the whole spirit of the award which was started in order to record inspiring experiences of foreign students in Britain in order to promote the value of coming here to study.  The responses also help our universities learn about their strong points from the viewpoint of outside observers, and help the universities build on their strengths and improve their own performance for future students.

International students are vitally important to universities in the UK, not only for bringing fresh experiences and ideas with them, but they supply much needed funds which can be used to finance a struggling higher educational system. International students make up around 15% of the student population and British universities welcome them – and the fees they bring – with open arms. British universities want to be as attractive to the international student as they possibly can and they recognize that they are competing against universities around the globe.

12 regional finalists have now been selected for this year’s Shine! Award and the winner will be announced on 22th April.

Have you heard of any other writing awards students might be interested in?  Please let us know by making a comment below.