The IESS is a recent combination of two pre-existing groups, the International Student Center and Exchange 360, that catered to international and exchange students respectively. The ISC started in 1995 when a group of students felt it essential to create a place by international students for international students. Given that Scottish university students didn’t seem to interact with international students, this group wanted a place where all could feel accepted. In 2010, the student society Exchange 360 was founded to share experiences and information with students interested in exchange programs, as well as welcome incoming exchange students and integrate them into the community. However, with the growing overlap in audience, activities and aims, a bilateral consensus to become more effective by coordinating and sharing resources was reached and the IESS was born in 2018.

The IESS has close connections, a long history and support from both the University and the Student Union for its important role in promoting the experience and welfare of international and exchange students. This included the establishment of the lounge (currently located in the Activities Hub at Pleasance), the provision of trips, social events, and the Buddy Program, as well as bringing the complaints and queries of international students to the attention of the university. For example, the IESS (as the previous ISC) persistently lobbied the university on behalf of international students for better financial support and representation within its members and officers. While the role of the IESS is undergoing refinement in these early stages of development, our main priority and goal is to build a community for our students, especially foreign ones, through our provision of trips, social events, and the running of the lounge.

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