Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music has won the title for Outstanding International Student Strategy at the 12th Times Higher Education Awards for its Read with the World Project.

Read with the World is designed to help international students at the RNCM develop their language skills and cross-cultural competencies by using a buddy scheme and a series of graded reading books. The College pairs international and home students in a book-pal system, where students choose a book from the graded scheme in the RNCM Library and arrange to meet regularly to discuss what they have been reading.  The project has already won two previous awards.

RNCM English Language Support Tutor, Jean Ammar, said: ‘I am delighted that we have won this fantastic award. Our work is centred on providing the very best support for our international students while helping them to feel part of the RNCM family.’

The judges were clearly taken with Read with the World, commenting that it is ‘a wonderful example of a simple and imaginative idea that is scalable and replicable in other institutions.’  They added that the project ‘goes beyond a simple buddying scheme by providing structure and content for building friendships that help create a greater understanding of each other’s background and lead to a richer environment in classroom and campus.’

Professor Linda Merrick, RNCM Principal, said: ‘We are all absolutely thrilled to have won the 2016 award for Outstanding International Student Strategy, our second consecutive THE win.  The project was devised for students at the College who have now taken ownership and developed it further. I am so pleased that it has been recognised in this way.’

The Outstanding International Student Strategy Award is the second Times Higher Education Award the RNCM has picked up following its success in 2015 for After the Silence: Music in the Shadow of War, which won the Excellence and Innovation in the Arts title.

Pictured: l-r Professor Linda Merrick (Principal), Richard E Grant, Tatyana Yekimova (Head of International Relations), Caroline Browne (Founder and CEO, Password English Language Testing) and Jean Ammar (English Language Support Tutor)