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Who's Who - Katharine Missin, LUU International Engagement

The "Who's Who" series focuses on introducing you to key members of the International Student Mental Health project. Today we're talking to Katharine Missin, International Student Engagement Coordinator at Leeds University Union.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi everyone! I’m Katharine Missin. I live in the beautiful county of North Yorkshire, not too far from the city of Leeds where I both studied at University and where I now work! I studied Chinese and Spanish from 2014-2018, the best four years of my life so far. I had the amazing opportunity to live in Shanghai, China for one year, as well as spending a term abroad living with a wonderful Spanish family in Leon, Spain.

I love learning languages and meeting people from all over the world, which is what led me to my current job at LUU. In my role, I coordinate our international engagement and make sure our global community is supported in all aspects of university life. I get to work with loads of students, including our International Officer and our fantastic International Student Advisory Board, as well as working with different teams on some amazing collaborative projects.

Outside of work, I enjoy being active and exploring the outdoors. I particularly enjoy hiking, and living in Yorkshire means I am blessed with so much beautiful scenery and landscapes.

I love travelling, but unfortunately, that’s been on hold for the past year! Last year I went on an amazing holiday where I travelled to China, South Korea and Taiwan.

I am also a massive foodie and love making new recipes and trying different countries’ cuisines. I like to use recipes from our LUU Global Student Recipe Book, which was produced last year, and features dishes submitted by our international student community at Leeds!

What do you do?

As the International Student Engagement Coordinator, I work across LUU to ensure that our services are accessible for our global community. This could be working with our activities team to deliver training, working with our marketing and communications team to produce content for our various social media platforms, putting on events which bring people together from across the world, and many other things! It is a really varied role in which I work closely with teams at LUU and across the university, such as the International Student Office, Careers Centre, Language Centre, just to name a few.

I support the International Officer to deliver their manifesto points and raise the profile of our global community at Leeds. We also work together to chair the International Student Advisory Board, a brand new representative board for 2020, which is made up of 30 international students. We established the ISAB this year to really make sure we put international student voices at the heart of everything we do at Leeds.

Why did you get involved in the project?

Having studied abroad myself and experienced the rollercoaster that is getting used to a new culture, exploring a new country and experiencing life whilst learning a new language, I understand first hand how difficult it can be to be an international student at university. I can now say that studying abroad was the best year of my life, but I also understand it has its challenges, and I want to make sure that here in the UK we are supporting international students in the best way possible. The project is a fantastic opportunity to share best practice and work together to create a positive impact on the future.

I also think that looking after our mental health and wellbeing is so important, especially in current circumstances. This is more vital than ever. I feel like this project is an amazing way to keep growing the assistance that we offer students and make sure that everyone who decides to study in the UK has a lasting positive impression from the welcome and support that they have received here.

Tell us about your header photo.

This was a photo of me from September 2019 when I was lucky enough to visit the Leeds-Southwest Jiaotong Joint School in Chengdu, China. On the weekend of our trip, we got some free time, and I signed up to be a panda keeper for a day at a conservation centre which rescues pandas who are sick or injured so that they can receive medical care. This day was an absolute dream come true for me, and I got to feed the pandas, prepare their food, had a tour around the base and also had to clean out the enclosures (not such a dream come true). I am so lucky to have travelled around many parts of China both on my year abroad, and multiple trips since and honestly can say it is one of the most welcoming, diverse and exciting countries you could ever visit. Hopefully, I will be able to make another trip sometime soon!


Working in Partnership The project is nation-wide, and we're making a real effort to engage with everyone interested in international student mental health, including universities, mental health services, students unions, sector bodies, charities and organisations such a private student accommodation. The project is led by the University of Nottingham, in partnership with the University of Nottingham Students' Union, University of Leeds, Leeds University Union, SOAS, SOAS Students' Union, Student Minds and Campuslife Ltd.

Project funded as part of the Office for Students Mental Health Challenge Competition.

Photo Credits Owned by Helen Coombes

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