Our mission and values hold true to the vision of our founder, Mary Trevelyan, and the beginning of International Student House in 1965. Our friendship, understanding, openness and cooperation are at the core of the ISH experience and underpin everything the charity does.
- To promote global friendship and understanding among our students
- To help students achieve the academic and personal aims and career aspirations that have brought them to the United Kingdom
- To provide the best possible opportunities for international students to experience the many facets of life in the UK and to give them a deeper understanding of British society
- To give British students an opportunity to broaden their horizons through friendship with people from widely differing backgrounds and cultures
- By these means to make an effective contribution to better international relations
- Respect – Advocating global friendship and understanding
- Trust & Integrity – Promoting a culture of transparency and accountability
- Support – Providing a welcoming and safe environment
- Growth – Encouraging continuous development
- Excellence – Consistently delivering a high quality experience
The values that ISH holds close to its heart can be traced back almost a century, when the social centre Student Movement House opened in London in memory of students who died in the First World War. It aimed to promote international understanding and friendship by providing London’s international students with companionship and social facilities. The house, in Russell Square, became part of the fabric of London student life – by 1944, it had 1200 members from 54 countries.
Enter Mary Trevelyan, who becomes Warden of Student Movement House. There would be no International Students House without her commitment, perseverance, and devotion to her students. After spending a year in India and Sri Lanka, she returned to London to find work.
“In London I noticed groups of Indians on the streets looking lost in the wintry rain, snow and bitter winds. I had intended to return to the musical profession but began to wonder if I might be able to do something to help these young men since I had spent such a happy year in their country. And this, though I did not know it at the time, was the beginning of the end as far as my own musical future was concerned. I have never regretted this change of direction.”
Mary Trevelyan becomes Adviser to Overseas Students for the University of London. During this time, and following visits to International Houses in New York, Berkeley and Chicago, she realised the need to further international friendship and understanding.
“I had dreamed dreams during my travels of the great new international house which we would set up in London, my dreams being influenced by my time in America.”
She wanted to prevent international students’ loneliness; create an atmosphere where they could study and carry away positive memories of Britain and its people; promote international friendship and understanding between overseas students; and introduce overseas students to the widest cross-section of British society possible. “I soon came to the conclusion that the freedom of a large non-residential club was likely to be of more use to a greater number of students than would be a large residential hostel.”