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Internationalisation and student diversity: how far are the opportunity benefits being perceived and exploited?

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Internationalisation and student diversity: how far are the opportunity benefits being perceived and exploited?

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Most schemes that rank universities for their level of internationalisation are based on compositional criteria, such as the numbers of international students and staff, and student mobility numbers. Yet if such diversity is to be meaningful beyond financial benefits and enhance the quality of education and research, including stimulating growth in (inter alia) intercultural competence, other measures are needed. Research in the intercultural field indicates that two foundational elements are required for this stimulation: (a) positive attitudes (e.g. openness and curiosity) towards diversity and motivation to learn about/engage with it and (b) experiences of difference that challenge people’s viewpoints, ideas and ways of doing things. Yet these variables are rarely probed simultaneously in higher education research. This article reports a study that used a tool to probe both of these elements in combination, in relation to three facets relevant to internationalisation: social integration, academic integration and global opportunities and support. The study draws on data from 2360 students, gathered from four different countries, to explore how the opportunity benefits offered by diversity are being perceived and exploited by the respondents. The interconnections between the variables are explored, along with similarities and differences in ratings across regional groups. The article ends by discussing the conceptual and strategic planning implications of the findings.
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Internationalisation and student diversity: how far
are the opportunity benefits being perceived
and exploited?
Helen Spencer-Oatey
1
&Daniel Dauber
1
#The Author(s) 2019
Abstract
Most schemes that rank universities for their level of internationalisation are based on
compositional criteria, such as the numbers of international students and staff, and student
mobility numbers. Yet if such diversity is to be meaningful beyond financial benefits and
enhance the quality of education and research, including stimulating growth in (inter alia)
intercultural competence, other measures are needed. Research in the intercultural field
indicates that two foundational elements are required for this stimulation: (a) positive attitudes
(e.g. openness and curiosity) towards diversity and motivation to learn about/engage with it
and (b) experiences of difference that challenge peoples viewpoints, ideas and ways of doing
things. Yet these variables are rarely probed simultaneously in higher education research. This
article reports a study that used a tool to probe both of these elements in combination, in
relation to three facets relevant to internationalisation: social integration, academic integration
and global opportunities and support. The study draws on data from 2360 students, gathered
from four different countries, to explore how the opportunity benefits offered by diversity are
being perceived and exploited by the respondents. The interconnections between the variables
are explored, along with similarities and differences in ratings across regional groups. The
article ends by discussing the conceptual and strategic planning implications of the findings.
Keywords Internationalisation.Integration.Diversity.Intercultural competence .Comfortzone .
Global graduates
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-019-00386-4
*Helen Spencer-Oatey
helen.spencer-oatey@warwick.ac.uk
Daniel Dauber
d.dauber@warwick.ac.uk
1
Centre for Applied Linguistics, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK
Higher Education (2019) 78:10351058
Published online: 13 April 2019
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Introduction
De Wit et al. (2015), in a revision of Knights(2003,2004) well-known definition of
internationalisation, define internationalisation as follows: the intentional process of integrat-
ing an international, intercultural or global dimension into the purpose, functions and delivery
of post-secondary education, in order to enhance the quality of education and research for all
students and staff, and to make a meaningful contribution to society(De Wit et al. 2015,p.29,
emphasis in the original). They explain that they have made this adjustment in order to stress
the importance of internationalisation being more inclusive and less elitist. Along similar lines,
the British Council (2014, p. 4) argues that the integration of all students is an elemental factor
in the expanding concept of internationalisation not only due to immediate student outcomes
of comprehensive learning and cultural awareness but also due to long term benefits for the
individual, the institution and the UK.Similarly,Hudzik(2011, p. 35) identifies the integra-
tion of all international students and scholars into the campus living and learning environment
as one of the key stretch goals for internationalisation.
As these authors make clear, internationalisation is not just a matter of international
mobility, nor only of recruiting international students and helping them adjust. On the contrary,
it concerns all students (domestic and international) and all staff (academic and professional),
whatever their location and whatever their level. The authors also all emphasise the importance
of integrationand point to its multifaceted value: for the individual, the institution and the
country, and with regard to the quality of education and service to the community (within the
university and beyond).
These perspectives raise a number of fundamental questions: How do students, staff and
senior management perceive the opportunity benefits that diversity brings? To what extent are
these opportunities being capitalised on? In this article, we focus on the studentsperspectives
and experiences of these issues. We report on a tool designed to examine them, the multifac-
eted insights that it has yielded, and the implications of the findings for all concerned.
Literature review
Ranking universities for internationalisation
Universities throughout the world are now being ranked for their level of internationalisation.
The best known organisations that publish such measures (Times Higher Education (THE)
rankings, QS World rankings and U-Multirank) all use parameters that focus exclusively on
objectively countable characteristics, as Table 1illustrates. We label this a compositional
approach.
Clearly, compositional internationalisation is a vitally important element of the
internationalisation process, as the presence of international students and opportunities to
study abroad offer very valuable potential opportunities for the transformative learning that
educationalists desire for their students. However, diversity is not an end in itself, but rather is
merely the foundation for offering a global education. Having a diverse population, i.e.
compositional diversity, is an important prerequisite and in fact many universitiesdomestic
student cohort may already be culturally diverse (e.g. socially, ethnically and religiously).
However, as a recent British Council (2014) report points out, such compositional elements are
insufficient in themselves:
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While the benefits of a global campus are plentiful and well-publicised, they do not
naturally arise due to the presence of international students; the distinction must be made
that simply having a diverse student body does not mean the education or even the
campus is global in nature. What comes as an essential part of a global education is the
inclusion of international students in communities and classes. Integration of all students
is an elemental factor in the expanding concept of internationalisation.(p.4)
In other words, diversity does not in itself ensure that the benefits of a global educationwill
be achieved. We would therefore argue that compositional indicators, of the kind used in
internationalisation league tables, provide a limited and potentially misleading representation
of the degree of internationalisation. We maintain that when internationalisation is
conceptualised as in these key papers (British Council 2014; De Wit et al. 2015;Hudzik
2011), existing measurement criteria need to be supplemented by complementary ones that
probe aspects such as integration.
Integration and its importance
Despite the frequent use of the term integrationby many authors, in actual fact integration is
a complex idea, which means different things to different people(de Alcántara 1994; n.p.; for
a review of the concept, see Spencer-Oatey and Dauber, in press) Within the education field, it
has not always been defined in detail, but has been broadly interpreted as participation, mixing
and involvement (e.g. Hou and McDowell 2014; Montgomery and McDowell 2009;Severiens
and Schmidt 2009;Tinto1998). This is also the approach taken by Rienties and his colleagues
(e.g. Rienties et al. 2012; Rienties and Nolan 2014; Rienties and Tempelaar 2013)intheir
various studies of social and academic integration. Drawing on Tintos(1975) work, they
associate social integration with socialisation and participation in the student culture, and
academic integration with persistence, arguing that adjustment is needed for both. Sometimes
other terms are used with a somewhat similar meaning, including interaction (e.g. Glass and
Wes t mont 2014), connectedness (e.g. Bethel et al. 2016), and identification (e.g. McGarvey
et al. 2016); conversely, other researchers (e.g. Bennett 2004;Berry2006; Zepke and Leach
2005) conceptualise integration (somewhat or very) differently. In this paper, we follow the
many authors referred to above who use the term integration somewhat broadly to refer to the
combined notion of mixing/interaction/ participation with involvement/connectedness/
identification.
Table 1 Parameters for ranking internationalisation
Parameters Organisation
THE QS U-Multirank
Composition: international students ✓✓
Composition: international staff ✓✓
Incoming and outgoing student mobility ✓✓
International joint publications/research networks ✓✓
International orientation master programmes
International doctorate degrees
International research grants
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Integration (in this sense) is important in higher education (HE) for a range of reasons.
Firstly, a strong social network is very valuable for personal welfare and well-being. Stress and
loneliness can be a particular problem for international students (e.g. Sawir et al. 2008;Ward
and Kennedy 1993) and is increasingly an issue among all students. Ward (2001)reportsa
number of studies that demonstrate the value of friendships, including between international
and domestic students, for lowering stress, enhancing mood, improving self-esteem and for
psychological well-being in general. Secondly, integration has been associated with study
persistence (e.g. Tinto 1998) and academic achievement (Rienties et al. 2012). Part of this may
be due to the impact of psychological well-being, but the stimulation of a wide range of ideas
and viewpoints from people of different backgrounds can also be highly beneficial when
circumstances are positive (e.g. Sweeney et al. 2008). Thirdly, integration and
internationalisation more broadly is widely associated with the development of intercultural
skills, global graduateattributes and global citizenship. Intercultural theorists (e.g.
Anderson 1994;Kim2001;Taylor1994) have long argued that some kind of critical incident,
obstacle or stressful situation is needed to stimulate intercultural growth, and recent qualitative
research by Lilley et al. (2015) has offered empirical support for this within the HE context.
They found that development starts with leaving the comfort zone, thinking critically about
themselves and others, and engaging beyond their immediate circle(p.231). They identify
three ways in which students can stretch themselves, two of which relate to integration:
&Interpersonal encounters with diverse others
&Interpersonal relationships through friendships with people from diverse backgrounds
&Cosmopolitan role models, such as influential teachers who helped them broaden their
horizons and become more other centred
They argue that these conditions are the foundations or key facilitators for the development of
a global mindset and growth in global citizenship qualities.
1
Nevertheless, despite the importance of integration, it does not occur naturally. Intercultural
theorists (e.g. Deardorff 2006; Prechtl and Davidson Lund 2009) point to the importance of
being motivated to learn about/engage with cultural difference, as well as key attitudes such as
openness, curiosity and respect. Unfortunately, the principle of homophily (Dunne 2009)can
mitigate against such factors, acting as a negative pull.
Integration, diversity and empirical research
If integration is so important yet not automatic, we need to consider the extent to which it is
being achieved. Numerous studies, quantitative (e.g. Rienties and Nolan 2014;UKCOSA
2004;Wardetal.2005; Williams and Johnson 2011), qualitative (e.g. Brown 2009;Dunne
2009; McKenzie and Baldassar 2017) and mixed method (e.g. Spencer-Oatey et al. 2017)
carried out in a range of countries (e.g. Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, the UK and the USA)
have identified that generally speaking there is little mixing between domestic and interna-
tional students in terms of frequency/number of friendships. In terms of studentsattitudes
towards integration, there is understandably a range of views (e.g. Montgomery 2010;
1
Lilley et al. (2015, p. 241) identify the following broad markers for the global citizen: leaves comfort zone,
thinks differently,engages beyond immediate circle of peers, family and friends,shows a mature attitude and
initiativeand considers self, life, others, career and the world beyond narrow expectations.
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Sweeney et al. 2008), although survey studies tend to report just mean figures. Moreover,
many studies, especially at the national level (e.g. Australian Government Department of
Education and Training 2016;Generosaetal.2013) and including those that use i-graduates
International Student Barometer/Student Barometer use level of satisfaction as their measure,
which, as explained below in the methodology section, only provides a partial picture.
Another rather surprising feature is that internationalisation research frequently focuses either on
domestic students (e.g. British Council 2014; Higher Education Policy Institute 2015; National
Union of Students 2017; Neves and Hillman 2018) or else on international students (e.g. Fink et al.
2007; Generosa et al. 2013; Universities UK International Unit 2015,2016), but rarely on both
together. Yet some of the rare studies that have simultaneously researched international and domestic
students have reported some interesting findings. For example, Rienties and Tempelaar (2013) state
that European, Latin American and Middle Eastern students reported similar levels of integration to
domestic Dutch students, while students from Southern Asia and in particular Confucian Asia score
significantly lower on academic and social adjustment(p. 198). Clearly, it is important to move
beyond the binary distinction between home and international students.
So, despite the plethora of studies on internationalisation and integration in particular, there
are still several limitations to the picture we can build from them, for the following reasons:
&International and domestic students are rarely researched together and asked the same
questions about their experiences relating to diversity.
&In surveys of international students, they are typically treated as a single group, with no
differentiation for country or region.
&In surveys, frequently, only mean percentage figures are reported (e.g. 76% are satisfied
with host friendships), with little indication of the range of viewpoints.
&Much research into integration is limited to peoples satisfaction with/experience of mixed
nationality friendships and group work and does not explore other aspects.
&Despite the emphasis in many university strategies on developing global graduates/global
citizens, few studies explore studentsattitudes towards this objective or the support they
receive in relation to it.
To take a first step in addressing these current limitations, we devised a tool and ran a study to
gain some initial insights.
Methodology
The findings reported in this article were gathered via a specially designed online question-
naire. The following sections outline and explain the methodological approach in detail.
Design of the tool
The Global Education Profiler (GEP) is a needs analysis/diagnostic tool that probes students
global education viewpoints and experiences. It was designed by combining (a) conceptual
insights from the field, (b) existing research into peoples experiences of internationalisation
(as reviewed above, plus additional studies such as Jones 2010; Spencer-Oatey and Dauber
2015) and (c) research into the competencies required by employers (e.g. British Council
2013; Diamond et al. 2011).
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The GEP probes a number of different facets relevant to cultural diversity and the
development of intercultural competence: social integration, academic integration, communi-
cation skills, foreign language skills and global opportunities and support. It does not aim at
measuring any levels of intercultural competence, but rather provides systematic insights into
studentsperceptions of the opportunity benefits and experiences associated with diversity and
the development of intercultural competence. In this paper, we focus on three constructs: social
integration, academic integration and global opportunities and support.
Social integration (SI) probes the amount of interaction and social cohesion across people
from diverse backgrounds. This important measure provides insights into studentsnon-
academic life, which can have a substantial bearing on their general well-being, which in turn
can also influence their academic performance. It is not limited to friendship frequencies, as in
many studies. Items used to measure SI include:
&I have good opportunities to socialise with people from many different cultural
backgrounds.
&I regularly take part in events that bring students together from diverse cultural
backgrounds.
Academic integration (AI) probes the interaction and cohesion of students from diverse
backgrounds within classrooms and courses, as well as with academic and support staff in
the department. This is crucial in nurturing studentsprofessional growth and provides the
foundation for the development of global graduate skills. It is not limited to diverse group
work, as in many studies. This construct was measured using items such as:
&I have good opportunities on my course to meet people from many different cultural
backgrounds.
&Academic staff encourage me to contribute relevant examples from my background
experience in class discussions.
Global opportunities and support (GOS) probes two interconnected facets: (a) the opportuni-
ties available to students, such as volunteering, work experience and study abroad, which help
stimulate intercultural growth through encouraging engagement with difference and (b) the
explanations and support provided by the university for understanding and fostering intercul-
tural skills. GOS was captured in the questionnaire with items such as:
&There are good opportunities to participate in volunteer activities during my course.
&People have explained to me what intercultural skillsare and why they are important for
my future.
&My experiences on my course are helping me develop the intercultural skills needed for
working in global contexts.
&Teaching staff help me in developing the intercultural skills I need to work in a global
context.
There are ten items per construct and respondents rate each of the component items on 6-point
Likert scales in two ways: Importance to meand My actual experience, thereby addressing
three important questions that every internationalising higher education institution (HEI) needs
to keep in mind at all times:
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(1) What is important to students?
(2) How far do students experience what is important to them?
(3) How big a gap is there between what they value and what they experience?
The sequence in which the items appear within any one construct is randomised for each
participant, and people are asked to rate each of them on two 6-point Likert scales. At the end
of each construct section, respondents are given the opportunity to add any open comments if
they wish.
The importance scale (IMP) reveals what is important to studentsboth the importance of
the constructs (e.g. SI and AI) and the individual items that are particularly important to them.
The higher the importance scores are, the greater the studentsaspirations are for a global
education experience. As explained above, this attitudinal element is an important prerequisite
for personal growth.
The experience scale (EXP) reveals what respondents feel they are actually experiencing
with respect to each of the five constructs. As also explained above, experiences of difference
are the other important foundation for personal growth. High diversity experience scores are
another indicator of an enriching context. The higher the experience scores are, the greater are
studentsopportunities for/engagement with aglobal education experience
Reliability scores were obtained for each scale (IMP and EXP) for all constructs, and all
were extremely high (Cronbachsα> 0.85). In addition, confirmatory factor analysis was
performed separately for each of the IMP and EXP scales for each construct, which further
corroboratedthestabilityofthechosenconstructs(RMSEA
IMP =0.06,RMSEA
EXP = 0.06).
Naturally, the results from the GEP can be reported as mean scores (per construct and/or per
item), but another helpful way is to display them on a matrix. When the two scales (IMP and
EXP) are combined, with cut-off points halfway on each scale, they yield four quadrants that
provide an overview picture of the diversity engagement context. When peoplesIMPand
EXP scores are both high, this is the most positive situation and so this quadrant is labelled
flourishing.Whenpeoples IMP scores are high but the EXP scores are low, this is a
problematic situation because of the failure to meet peoples expectations/desires, and so this
quadrant is labelled unfulfilling.Whenpeoples IMP scores are low but EXP scores are high,
the context is positive in terms of actual experiences, but peoples aspirations are low. This
quadrant is labelled nurturing. The fourth quadrant is the most problematic in terms of
developing global graduatesbecause students not only attach low levels of importance to it
but also experience it very little. This quadrant is labelled limiting.Figure1illustrates these
different perceptual contexts. In our analyses, chi-squared tests with Yatescontinuity correc-
tion were used to probe the statistical significance of differences within each quadrant of
participantsIMP and EXP ratings.
It is important to mention that these are different measures from student satisfaction.
Participants are not asked to rate the quality of the experience, but how much/littlethey
experience certain aspects of their university life. Thus, conceptually, these scales are different
from commonly used Likert-scales which ask participants to rate their satisfaction with
different aspects of their campus life. However, by combining the IMP and EXP scores it is
possible to gain insights into their level of satisfaction, but with a more differentiated
perspective into the bases of their ratings. This is because if satisfaction is high, it is actually
unclear whether their satisfaction is because they regard the particular feature as important and
are genuinely experiencing it (and would fall into the flourishing quadrant) or because they do
not care about whether they experience it or not (and thus fall into the limiting quadrant). In
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other words, with a satisfaction scale, it is not possible to interpret the reasons for such
satisfaction. In the worst case scenario, a university might have perfectly satisfied students
who have no aspirations whatsoever to engage with internationalisation and diversity on
campus.
The GEP was used to explore the following research questions:
RQ1: What are the interconnections between the importance (IMP) that students attach to SI,
AI and GOS and their experiences (EXP) of them?
RQ2: What similarities and differences are there in these perceptions among students from
different regions of the world?
The participants
The GEP was completed online by domestic and international students at six English-speaking
universities. Three of these were in the UK, one was in the Republic of Ireland, one in Belgium
and one in Germany. Five of the institutions were traditional universities with strong academic
reputations; the sixth one was an applied technical university. For the analysis reported in this
paper, three regional groupings of student origins that were the most frequent in the dataset are
focused on: domestic, European Economic Area (EEA) and Asian. Domestic students were
defined as students reporting their nationality to be the same as the country in which their
university was located, e.g. students of Belgian nationality at a Belgian university were
classified as domestic, while students of Belgian nationality at a UK university were classified
as EEA. Similarly, students of British nationality at a UK university were classified as
domestic, while students of British nationality at a European university were classified as
EEA. Asian students are defined by their nationality and classified as Asianusing the UN
Country Classification System (United Nations 2018).
2
This resulted in a sample size of 2360
students who completed the survey in full. Of these, 1455 were domestic students, 265 were
EEA students and 640 were Asian students. Given Rienties and Tempelaars(2013) findings
2
The UNs(2018) classification of Asia includes the countries of Central Asia (e.g. Kazakhstan), Eastern Asia
(e.g. China), Southeastern Asia (e.g. Malaysia), Southern Asia (e.g. India) and Western Asia (e.g. Jordan).
NURTURING FLOURISHING
LIMITING UNFULFILLING
Importance to students
Students’ experience
HIGH
LOW
HIGH
LOW
Fig. 1 The Global Education
Profiler's (GEP) four quadrants
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on the impact of geographical region of origin, we wanted to move beyond a binary split of
home/international. However, the characteristics of the sample prevented any meaningful
statistical analyses based on national groups alone. So, the rationale for creating these three
clusters is largely for statistical reasons. These were the largest student cohorts in the sample,
and the number of respondents which were not covered by these three clusters was marginal
and statistically not useful. See Table 2for the demographic characteristics of the participant
sample.
Due to growing concerns regarding survey fatigueof students, gaining full access to a
large number of HEIs for research purposes has become extremely difficult in certain areas of
Europe. For the purpose of this study, it was not possible to collect data from entire institutions.
Instead, participating institutions chose which students to invite, for example by cohort year or
by faculty. Subsequently, all students were emailed by their respective institutions to partici-
pate in the study. Thus, the presented data reflects a diverse data set from different institutions
and different student populations.
Findings
Data was analysed using the programme R V.1.1.383 and the commonly used statistical
packages psychas well as effsizeto compute the reported statistics.
Interconnections between IMP and EXP
Pearson correlations between IMP and EXP were carried out for each of the constructs (see
Table 3).
As can be seen, a significant positive correlation emerged for all of them, which in almost
all cases was moderate. However, for the Asian respondents, the correlation was noticeably
weaker for GOS.
While the two scales are clearly thematically linked, further tests showed some significant
differences. Paired sample tests were conducted on the IMP and EXP scores for each construct
and they all came out as significantly different (based on Wilcoxon, p< 0.001 for all con-
structs). Moreover, as demonstrated by the findings reported below for each construct, these
overall findings mask a noticeable amount of individual variation in the IMP/EXP intercon-
nections, limiting insights for strategic planning purposes unless unpacked more fully.
The results obtained for each of the constructs are presented in turn below.
Table 2 Demographic characteristics of the participant sample
Domestic EEA Asia
Nationality (top 3 most frequent) UK Germany China
Belgium France India
Ireland Italy Malaysia
Gender (M/F) 44/55% 51/48% 44/55%
Age (mean/median) 22/20 22/21 23/22
Level of study
UG 87% 76% 52%
PGT 9% 18% 46%
PGR 3% 6% 2%
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Social integration
The mean scores for SI, overall and by region, are shown in Table 4.
Figures 2,3and 4show the spread of results according to region of origin and, as can be
seen from the scatterplots, there is a wide range of different viewpoints and experiences, both
within and across regional groups. Table 5gives the percentage of respondents attributing
importance (or great importance) to SI as well as the percentage of those who are experiencing
it to a high or very high degree. This Table 5data, in conjunction with the scatterplots, shows
that the majority of students, whatever their region of origin, attributed importance or great
importance to SI, but that the percentage was much lower for domestic students (67%) than for
EEA and Asian students (both 86%).
When comparing ratings of experience with ratings of importance, Table 5also shows that
the proportions of students experiencing high or very high levels of SI was lower than the
proportions attaching importance to it, especially for Asian students. This difference in IMP/
EXP ratings was statistically significant for each of the three groups (domestic X2= 146.27,
p<0.001; EEA X2= 12.075, p<0.001;AsianX2= 49.812, p< 0.001). Moreover, the propor-
tion of students experiencing high or very high levels of SI was particularly low for domestic
students. Looking at it from the converse perspective, 25% of EEA students and 37% of Asian
students reported little experience of mixing socially with people from different backgrounds,
and for domestic students, this was as high as 48%. At the same time, as can be seen from
Figs. 2,3and 4, 24% of domestic students fell into the limiting quadrant (i.e. they experienced
low SI, and also felt it was not important to be socially embedded into the university
community), compared with only 7% for EEA students and 11% for Asian students.
The positive aspect of these findings is that overall, all three groups attributed importance to
social mixing. Nevertheless, the low experiential levels indicate that SI is an important issue
that universities need to address, especially in relation to domestic students.
Academic integration
The mean scores for AI, overall and by region, are shown in Table 6.
Figures 5,6and 7show the spread of results according to region of origin and, as can be
seen from the scatterplots, once again there is a wide range of different viewpoints and
Table 3 Pearson correlations of IMP and EXP scores for SI, AI and GOS (all correlations are significant at
p<0.01)
Overall Domestic EEA Asia
SI 0.468 0.464 0.460 0.410
AI 0.457 0.478 0.442 0.413
GOS 0.447 0.431 0.468 0.284
Table 4 Mean scores for SI, overall and by regional cluster
Overall Domestic EEA Asia
Importance 4.11 3.89 4.50 4.49
Experience 3.70 3.59 4.13 3.81
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experiences, both within and across regional groups. Table 7gives the percentage of respon-
dents attributing importance (or great importance) to AI as well as the percentage of those who
are experiencing it to a high or very high degree. This Table 7data, in conjunction with the
scatterplots, shows that the majority of students, whatever their region of origin, attributed
importance or great importance to AI, but that once again the percentage was very much lower
for domestic students than for EEA and Asian students.
When comparing ratings of experience with ratings of importance, Table 7also shows that
the proportions of students experiencing high or very high levels of AI was lower than the
proportions attaching importance to it. While the importance scores were relatively high
(ranging from 65% to 89%), the experience scores fell below this (ranging from 53 to
74%).This difference in IMP/EXP ratings was statistically significant for each of the three
groups (domestic X2=140.43, p< 0.001; EEA X2=13.14, p<0.001; Asian X2=44.9,
p< 0.001). Moreover, the proportion of students experiencing high or very high levels of AI
was particularly low for domestic students. Looking at it from the converse perspective, 26%
of EEA and 30% of Asian students reported little experience of mixing academically with
people from different backgrounds, and for domestic students this was as high as 47%. At the
same time, as can be seen from Fig. 5, 24% of domestic students fell into the limiting quadrant
(i.e. they experienced low AI, and also felt it was not important to be academically embedded
into the university community). This was much less the case for international students from
EEA and Asia (Figs. 6and 7), where only 8% of students reported these attitudes.
Fig. 2 Domestic students: scatterplot of participant ratings for SI
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All these findings indicate that AI is an important issue that universities need to address.
Global opportunities and support
The mean score for GOS, overall and by region, are shown in Table 8.
Figures 8,9and 10 show the spread of results according to region of origin and, as can be
seen from the scatterplots, there is once again a wide range of different viewpoints and
experiences, both within and across regional groups. Table 9gives the percentage of respon-
dents attributing importance (or great importance) to GOS as well as the percentage of those
who are experiencing it to a high or very high degree. This Table 9data, in conjunction with
the scatterplots, shows that the majority of students, whatever their region of origin, attributed
importance or great importance to GOS. The proportion was particularly high for Asian
students and that for domestic students was very much lower than for both EEA and Asian
students.
When comparing ratings of experience with ratings of importance, Table 9also shows that
the proportions of students experiencing high or very high levels of GOS was very much lower
than the proportions attaching importance to it. Once again, this difference in IMP/EXP ratings
was statistically significant for each of the three groups (domestic X2= 140.74, p< 0.001; EEA
X2= 20.966, p< 0.001; Asian X2= 31.062, p< 0.001). Moreover, the proportion of students
Fig. 3 EEA students: scatterplot of participant ratings for SI
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experiencing high or very high levels of GOS was particularly low for domestic students.
Looking at it from the converse perspective, overall, almost half of all the students in the
dataset reported that they had little or no experience in this area. While 39% of Asian students
and 43% of EEA students gave low ratings for their experience of GOS, more than half of the
domestic students (58%) reported such low levels. Perhaps even more worrying, 27% of
domestic students regarded this area as having little relevance for personal development,
compared with 14% for EEA students and 7% for Asian students (see Figs. 8,9and 10).
All these findings indicate that global opportunities development is an important issue that
universities need to address.
Fig. 4 Asian students: scatterplot of participant ratings for SI
Table 5 Percentage of respondents attributing importance/great importance to SI and the percentage who
reported high/very high experiences of it
SI rated as important or very important
(flourishing + unfulfilling)
High or very high levels of SI experience
(flourishing + nurturing)
Domestic students 67% 52%
EEA students 86% 75%
Asian students 86% 63%
Higher Education (2019) 78:10351058 1047
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Summary of findings
In terms of our research questions, these findings can be summarised as follows:
RQ1: What are the interconnections between the importance that students attach to SI, AI
and GOS and their experiences of them?
&The majority of students regard the various facets of internationalisation as important or
very important to them (i.e. their ratings fell within the flourishing or unfulfilling quad-
rants, but there is a consistent, statistically significant gap between their IMP and EXP
ratings).
&The scatterplots show that, while there is a broadly positive correlation between IMP and
EXP, there is also considerable variation from it.
Table 6 Mean scores for AI, overall and by regional cluster
Overall Domestic EEA Asia
Importance 4.11 3.82 4.46 4.62
Experience 3.76 3.59 4.06 4.00
Fig. 5 Domestic students: scatterplot of participant ratings for AI
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&This variation is particularly noticeable for GOS.
RQ2: What similarities and differences are there in these perceptions among students
from different regions of the world?
&Asian students overall attach the highest levels of importance to the various facets and
reported the biggest gaps between IMP and EXP ratings.
&Domestic students overall consistently attach lower importance and lower levels of
experience to the various facets than other students.
&For students from all regions, the biggest gaps between IMP and EXP are for GOS.
Discussion and policy implications
The importance of measuring both IMP and EXP together
As reported in the literature review, intercultural theory and research indicate that there are two
foundational elements needed to stimulate the development of intercultural competence: (a)
positive attitudes (e.g. openness and curiosity) towards diversity and motivation to learn about/
engage with it and (b) experiences of difference that take people out of their comfort zones and
Fig. 6 EEA students: scatterplot of participant ratings for AI
Higher Education (2019) 78:10351058 1049
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stimulate new thinking and behaviour. Up to now, as also reported in the literature review, very
few studies have measured both elements in the same study. Sometimes they are not differ-
entiated, as in satisfaction surveys; sometimes only one element (especially EXP aspects) is
probed. This study has shown that measuring both elements is important. While there is a
broad positive correlation between the two, the correlation is not always strong (for example,
GOS for Asian students) and there is a consistent statistically significant difference between
IMP and EXP ratings. The scatterplots show that many respondentsratings fall quite a long
way (or a very long way) from the diagonal (i.e. the diagonal is where IMP and EXP scores are
the same and indicate satisfaction). Separating out the variables yields valuable information for
strategic planning purposes. Studentsratings that fall close to the diagonal will emerge as
satisfied in studies that use ratings of level of satisfaction, yet this includes those in the limiting
Fig. 7 Asian students: scatterplot of participant ratings for AI
Table 7 Percentage of respondents attributing importance/great importance to AI and the percentage who
reported high/very high experiences of it
AI rated as important or very important
(flourishing + unfulfilling)
High or very high levels of AI experience
(flourishing + nurturing)
Domestic students 65% 53%
EEA students 87% 74%
Asian students 89% 70%
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quadrant. These students are satisfied because the issue is not important to them. So, thought
needs to be given as to whether this matters or not. If it does (and we would argue that it does
matter, if the benefits of diversity are to be capitalised on), then special thought needs to be
given as to how best to motivate these students. In other words, students are likely to respond
differently to any developmental initiatives, activities or situations, according to the combina-
tion of their IMP and EXP perceptions. We offer the following tentative advice for the four
main groupings of our matrix:
&For students in the flourishing quadrant, the focus needs to be on the routes to growthin
other words, helping these people reflect on and learn from their experiences, so that they
can foster the global skills that employers are looking for.
Table 8 Mean scores for GOS, overall and by regional cluster
Overall Domestic EEA Asia
Importance 4.20 3.87 4.50 4.75
Experience 3.45 3.23 3.72 3.80
Fig. 8 Domestic students: scatterplot of participant ratings for GOS
Higher Education (2019) 78:10351058 1051
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&For students in the unfulfilling quadrant, the focus needs to be on helping them gain more
experiences of difference. Understanding the barriers to integration is a necessary first step;
next, it will be important to help these students overcome such barriers.
&For students in the nurturing quadrant, the focus needs to be on raising their awareness of
how their experiences can benefit them and, as for those in the flourishing quadrant,
helping them reflect on and learn from their experiences, so that they can articulate to
others the gains they are making.
&Students in the limiting quadrant are probably the most challenging group of students to
deal with from an intercultural growth perspective. The first step needs to be one of
gaining insights: understanding why they regard integration as unimportant as well as what
barriers they face in experiencing it. Then, students need to be helped to appreciate the
benefits of integration and supported in overcoming the barriers to achieving it.
Reflections on the constructs of SI, AI and GOS
Previous research has demonstrated that integration into the university community can bring a
range of benefits and that experiences of difference through moving out of ones comfort zone
have particular potential for stimulating intercultural growth.
Fig. 9 EEA students: scatterplot of participant ratings for GOS
Higher Education (2019) 78:10351058
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The items we used to probe SI and AI are not limited to friendship patterns and working in
diverse groups as respective measures of these constructs, as has been common in much
previous research. We have included a broader range, including mixing with diverse others in
their accommodation and through taking part in various activities (SI) and including discussing
academic topics with diverse others and feeling comfortable in participating in classroom
activities (AI). Statistical tests confirmed that the ten items per facet were probing one single
construct reliably.
Very often, previous research on integration has focused on mixing between domestic and
international students. However, as Montgomery (2010) has pointed out, international students
may perceive and experience great benefits from mixing with other international students from
diverse backgrounds. This in itself can be very valuable, as it can still offer significant
Fig. 10 Asian students: scatterplot of participant ratings for GOS
Table 9 Percentage of respondents attributing importance/great importance to GOS and the percentage who
reported high/very high experiences of it
GOS rated as important or very important
(flourishing + unfulfilling)
High or very high experiences of GOS
(flourishing + nurturing)
Domestic students 68% 41%
Other EEA students 82% 57%
Asian students 90% 61%
Higher Education (2019) 78:10351058 1053
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experiences of difference. However, this potentially leaves the domestic students with far less
engagement with difference, as this study has demonstrated. While they too may experience a
certain level of diversity because of in-country cultural variation, previous research (e.g.
Rienties and Tempelaar 2013) indicates that it is likely to be smaller in scale and may also
be of a different nature from the out of the comfort zoneexperiences of mixing with people
from very different socialisation settings. In future research, it would be helpful to dig deeper,
not only at the national level, but also national internal factors such as ethnicity and socio-
economic background.
In terms of the construct GOS, it is interesting to note that the largest gaps between IMP and EXP
existed here. This was particularly true of the Asian respondents, 90% of whom rated this as
important or very important and only 61% of whom felt they were experiencing this, a gap of 29%
(see Table 9). However, even though domestic students gave lower ratings, there was still a gap of
27%. This indicates that this is an area where universities need to devote significant effort at
improving the situation. In fact, a European project, Indicators for Mapping and Profiling
Internationalisation (IMPI 2012), included several such support items in their toolbox.
Internationalisation rankingsan alternative trajectory
Throughout this paper, we have argued that compositional measures of internationalisation
provide only one angle. We have argued that cultural diversity, if taken advantage of, can bring
a range of benefits, and that integration can help develop one that is frequently associated with
internationalisationthe development of global graduate/global citizen perspectives, skills and
qualities. In view of this, we suggest that a trajectory of growth in internationalisation could be
conceptualised as shown in Fig. 11.
In other words, universities could aim to move from compositional internationalisation to commu-
nity internationalisation and through this help foster intercultural competence in their graduates.
Limitations
There are several limitations to the current study. Firstly, in terms of sampling, we cannot claim
that the sampling is random or that respondents are representative of their particular institution.
Fig. 11 Trajectory of growth in internationalisation
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This is a problem that is inherent in voluntary survey completion, within the broader context of
student survey fatigue. Nevertheless, we would still maintain that the study offers systematic
insights into studentsattitudes towards cultural diversity and their experiences of it. By
drawing on so many different institutions, it was possible to limit the statistical effect of
particular contextual factors on the final outcomes.
Secondly, although the number of respondents was comparatively large, it was not large
enough to conduct meaningful statistical analyses by nationality (rather than by region) or even
by other major regions (e.g. Africa and the Americas). It would be interesting in the future not
only to explore the impact of nationality and/or of other regions but also to be able to probe the
impact of size of national cohort on peoples attitudes and experiences. An even larger dataset
would hopefully facilitate that and also allow systematic investigation of other variables,
including level of study (undergraduate, postgraduate taught, postgraduate research), field of
study (e.g. social sciences/humanities and physical/medical sciences), ethnic background and
socio-economic background. Moreover, the latter data (i.e. ethnicity and socio-economic
background) would also allow us to probe how the constructs interrelate with perceptions of
equal opportunities.
Thirdly, analysing and reporting studentsviewpoints and experiences is just the first step of
the journey. The critical next step is to find ways of moving as many students as possible from
the limiting, nurturing and unfulfilling quadrants to the flourishing quadrant. Our findings
indicate that a one size fits allsolution will be inadequate, not least because people vary so
much in terms of their IMP and EXP ratings. Nevertheless, as indicated above, the variation in
itself may offer some guidelineswhether the hindrance is motivational or experiential or a
mixture of the two, and hence where the primary developmental focus should be. Develop-
mental ideas can also be checked against the features of relevant intercultural growth models
(e.g. Deardorff 2006; Lilley et al. 2015; Spencer-Oatey 2018).
Concluding comments
In this article, we have acknowledged that seeking to enhance internationalisation
through increasing the numbers of international students and student mobility numbers
is avaluable prerequisite for enhancing the quality of education and research and for
fostering studentspersonal growth in intercultural competence and sensitivity. However,
we have argued that in themselves they are insufficient. Drawing on theorising and
research in the intercultural field, we point to the importance of both attitude/motivation
(IMP) and of experiences of difference (EXP) and argue that students need to perceive
both positively if they are to capitalise on the benefits that diversity can offer them. We
have proposed a trajectory of internationalisation that reflects this perspective. From a
measurement point of view, we maintain that while IMP and EXP are thematically linked
variables, they are sufficiently independent to be probed separately. Data gathered using
a newly developed tool, the GEP, has demonstrated the various insights that measuring
them in combination can provide. The tool can also be used for benchmarking purposes
in relation to the trajectory we have proposed. Of course, a critical next step is to find
ways of stimulating interest in diversity among those who care little about it and of
helping everyone move forward on the journey towards greater intercultural competence.
We hope that the nuanced information provided by the GEP can be one element that
helps in this challenging but vital endeavour.
Higher Education (2019) 78:10351058 1055
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Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and repro-
duction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a
link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
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... 707). On the other hand, meaningful and equal interpersonal relationships seem to reduce stress and psychological well-being in international learning communities [26,27]. Thus, we discussed creating and maintaining interpersonal relationships and set activities that drew attention to similarities [28], encouraging students to have personal discussions at the beginning of the more task-oriented group meetings. ...
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The fields of intercultural communication (IC) and intercultural education are in flux and the paradigmatic shift is away from essentialist approaches on culture and interculturality towards seeing IC and interculturality as flexible, fluid, contradictory, political, and ideological constructs. This study presents a virtual exchange project, a joint introductory course on IC between a Finnish university and a French university. One of the objectives of the course was to provide students with a more critical, non-essentialist perspective on interculturality. This study presents an analysis of 32 students’ texts (learning logs) that are processed qualitatively using content analysis to find answers to questions of (1) how students make sense of their experience of learning IC through multilingual online interactions, and (2) how different approaches on culture and interculturality are reflected in students’ leaning logs. The learning logs are written by participants during their six-week learning experience. The findings indicate that students gained confidence in interacting with people from diverse backgrounds and using multiple languages. How students reacted to and reflected on the more critical perspective on interculturality varied greatly, with many learning logs seeming to juggle between different approaches. The online environment was considered a major source of concern prior and at the beginning of the course, but as the course progressed it did not represent a barrier within the documented experiences. Our analysis aims to help teachers of IC to better address the needs of different learners. We also discuss the challenges and possibilities of a multilingual intercultural virtual exchange with a view to creating safe and motivating spaces for teaching and learning about interculturality.
... De Wit et al. (2015), in a review of Knight's (2003Knight's ( , 2004 well-known definition of internationalisation, describe it as: 'the intentional process of integrating an international, intercultural or global dimension into the purpose, functions and delivery of post-secondary education, in order to enhance the quality of education and research for all students and staff, and to make a meaningful contribution to society' (De Wit et al., 2015, p.29). As such, it is not surprising to read or hear that there exists so-called ranking of universities based on their level of internationalisation (Spencer-Oatey & Dauber, 2019). ...
Thesis
Universities face numerous challenges each year, including the process of making decisions concerning the admission or otherwise of applicants (Tesfa, 2013). This could be compounded by an increase in student numbers and a decrease in university resources, predicting future academic success (Alghamdi, 2007). Educators and admission officers together try to decide what leads to the success of learners at certain colleges or on particular majors within universities. Administrators responsible for the admission policy need to be accurate and objective when making such decisions, using suitable admission standards which help in reaching a decision characterised by equity, accuracy, and objectivity (Alsaif, 2005). The purpose of the present study is to investigate the predictive validity of the current admission standards applied at the College of Education at KFU in Saudi Arabia and explore which score among the current criteria used offers the strongest contribution to students’ academic success. Furthermore, since this study attempts to include students from both gender groups, and very few studies have included both genders at the general level, and, to the best of my knowledge, none has been done in the Saudi context, this study aims to explore any possible variation between the criteria items in terms of gender grouping. Additionally, since none of the previous studies have addressed the issue of students changing their major after initially being admitted to certain majors at the university, this study attempts to explore the academic performance of students who changed their major after starting their university study. The participants in this mixed methods research largely drew on two resources: the first resource refers to the data that was collected from the Admission and Registration Office in the Education College. The database includes all fulltime students (males and females) who have attended the Education College at King Faisal University from the academic year 2010 up until their graduation in 2014. The sample did not include students who had left the Education College at KFU before the end of the academic year 2014 and any students who had not graduated by the end of the academic year 2014. The total number of participating students was 693. In addition, the researcher conducted face-to-face interviews with 8 academics who work at the Education College in KFU and who teach a number of education courses. These lecturers and professors were interviewed about a range of experiences and practices. Results indicated that a statistically significant relationship exists between the student accumulative rate in High School (SGPA) and the accumulative rate in the College of Education (CGPA) at King Faisal University at Alahsa (r = 0.562, p<0.01), between the General Aptitude Test (GAT) and Education College GPA (r = 0.324, p<0.01), and between the Achievement Test (ACT) and Education College GPA (r = 0.268, p<0.01). High School GPA is the most important factor in predicting the performance of students in the Education College, followed by the Aptitude Test, then the Achievement Test. Beta coefficients were 0.512, 0.163 and 0.006 respectively. Regarding the result, it was clear that females exhibited better performance compared to males in both the General Aptitude Test and the High School percentage. In addition, the students who changed major had a higher High School percentage mean compared to those that did not change major, and the mean difference was statistically significant. On the other hand, for the General Aptitude Test, those that did not change major had higher mean scores compared to those that changed major, and the mean difference was statistically significant.
... Higher education globalization has provided an unprecedented opportunity for access and diversity of thought for the global community (Spencer-Oatey & Dauber, 2019). International student enrollment has skyrocketed because of a globally connected economy. ...
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Numerous students participate in and reap the documented benefits of the Erasmus+ European exchange programme. However, one of the main issues regarding the mobility is the incoming Erasmus students’ lack of social integration with host university students. This research explores the reasons behind Erasmus students’ low social integration at two small-sized universities of applied sciences in Croatia. Twenty-five Erasmus students described their relationship development with domestic Croatian students, online communication patterns, and experience with two pre-defined integration strategies. Semi-structured interview findings and thematic analysis suggest that most incoming Erasmus students were highly satisfied with their Erasmus mobility experience; however, the majority demonstrated low social integration with Croatian students. Further, the strong and vastly spread Erasmus student community shapes student expectations regarding their social life prior to mobility. Through the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) students form online connections and quickly develop relationships with other international students, an activity that potentially hinders social integration with Croatian students. This study incorporates Kim’s (2001) cross-cultural adaptation theory and extends her host social communication concept by discussing the integral role that pre-departure online communication plays in the social integration process.
Article
In this article we discuss the collection and nature of diversity data relating to origin (ethnicity, race, nationality, indigeneity), gender/sex and disability in higher education institutional workforces across 24 locations within Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America and Oceania. The research emerges from the Curtin Open Knowledge Initiative project (n.d.), in which we analyse data relating to published research literature, its open access status, citations and collaborations for institutions, publishers and research funding bodies. Our project explores demographic data relating to workforce diversity and research production; we examine who creates knowledge and how diversity is transmitted through research. Collecting and analysing higher education workforce demographic diversity data reveals a global datascape with considerable variation in practices and data collected. The data reflect political and social histories, national and international policies and practices, priorities and funding. The presence and absence of public data provide an opportunity to understand differing national situations and priorities beneath the statistics. We open a conversation about how the concepts of equity, diversity and inclusion differ between groups of countries, which makes global comparisons difficult. By identifying higher education data and gaps, we also encourage institutions and countries to review their workforce demographics and their intersection with research production. Awareness of institutional diversity levels through data analysis can guide institutions towards knowledge openness.
Article
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For many international students the prospect of employment in overseas locations post-study is a strong desire. The concept of employability has infiltrated the literature but little is known about how volunteering experiences might impact international students’ preparedness for work placement during their programs of study. Using theoretical framing related to types of employability literacies, this paper shares data from interviews with international students who volunteered. Findings revealed several themes aligning with linguistic proficiency, cultural awareness, attitudes and mindset, and vocational literacies. Additional themes such as hospitable relationships and building trust were also revealed which could relate to sustainable citizenship. Many benefits result from volunteering experiences for both international students and their hosts, but more work is needed to support hosts through cultural awareness programs and international students due to their study commitments and limited time.
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The world of higher education is changing and the world in which higher education plays a significant role is changing. The international dimension of higher education is becoming increasingly important, complex, and confusing. It is therefore timely to reexamine and update the conceptual frameworks underpinning the notion of inter-nationalization in light of today’s changes and challenges. The purpose of this article is to study internationalization at both the institutional and national/sector level. Both levels are important. The national/sector level has an important influence on the international dimension through policy, funding, programs, and regulatory frameworks. Yet it is usually at the institutional level that the real process of internationalization is taking place. This article analyses the meaning, definition, rationales, and approaches of internationalization using a bottom-up (institutional) approach and a top-down (national/sector) approach and examines the dynamic relationship between these two levels. Key policy issues and questions for the future direction of internationalization are identified.
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According to UNESCO statistics, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) sends far more students to study overseas than any other country in the world. Similarly, from the receiving countries’ point of view, PRC students form by far the highest proportion of international students. In many respects, this is a success story, but it also poses a number of risks to universities. This paper focuses on one of those key risks that of student dissatisfaction (including from PRC students themselves). Using a sequential mixed-method study, it addresses two research questions: (a) Chinese students’ level of satisfaction with their social integration into the university community and (b) the barriers that Chinese students’ perceive in becoming more socially integrated into the university student community. The research finds that many Chinese students are dissatisfied with their range of friendships and that they find it more challenging to socialise with students of other nationalities than other students do. They point out a number of barriers to integration, with cultural distance playing a major role, but also argue for the impact of individual factors. The paper concludes by considering the implications for universities and suggestions for further research. FULL ARTICLE AVAILABLE FROM: http://www.springer.com/-/3/AViYqonBX4Rvx3H7vACU
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In recent years, research on higher education has increasingly examined the realities of internationalisation, with a particular focus on international students’ experiences and internationalisation at home programs. These studies have explored the friendships of international students, including their relationships with both locals and internationals from other countries. However, local students’ perspectives and experiences of friendship are largely absent from this literature. The few accounts examining local students’ lives explicitly focus on improving their cross-cultural knowledge and engagement, or on rare cases of local–international student friendships. The overriding assumption in this literature is that the understandings and social practises of local students are major barriers to their relationships with internationals. This paper addresses this gap by exploring local students’ perspectives on the absence of friendships with their international peers. We utilise findings from a research project on internationalisation at home, involving interviews and focus groups with local and international students and staff at an Australian university. Focusing on locals’ discussions of potential friendships with internationals, we propose that these missing friendships are an important area of study. We find that these friendships are missing for several interrelated reasons: local–international friendships are considered unnecessary and are therefore unimagined by locals, who tend to assume that similarity and affinity naturally lead to friendships, and the structures and spaces that might facilitate friendships are absent. Ultimately, uncovering why these friendships are missing sheds fuller light on how relationships might be facilitated, potentially informing and improving universities’ internationalisation initiatives.
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Integration is a concept that is referred to very widely in relation internationalization, yet its meaning is rarely explored and its benefits are often assumed. In this article, we start by reviewing the conceptualization of integration across different fields, notably education and the internationalization of education, intercultural communication, health psychology, and organizational studies. We propose that the varying interpretations within and across these fields can be synthesized by considering the different levels at which integration can be analyzed—individual level, community level, and institutional level. We then review the multiple benefits that integration can bring at these different levels, while acknowledging their interconnections, and noting the potential risks from ignoring integration. We end by proposing a framework to help universities and all of their members (staff and students) develop their own strategies and priorities for enhancing integration.
Book
Research and practice in the field of acculturation psychology is continually on the rise. Featuring contributions from over fifty leading experts in the field, this handbook compiles and systemizes the current state of the art by exploring the broad international scope of acculturation. The collection introduces readers to the concepts and issues; examines various acculturating groups (immigrants, ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples, expatriates, tourists, refugees and asylum seekers); highlights the global contexts for acculturation in a variety of societies; and focuses on acculturation of a number of special groups, such as young people, the workplace, and outcomes for health and well-being. This comprehensive new edition addresses major world changes over the last decade, including the increase in global migration, religious clashes, and social networking, and provides updated theories and models so that beginners and advanced readers can keep abreast of new developments in the study of acculturation.
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Many universities in different parts of the world are seeking to enhance the cultural diversity of their staff and student body and yet repeated studies have shown that good integration can be difficult to achieve. Although several studies have examined the reasons why such integration is difficult, there has been very little research into the actual process of social integration. This paper addresses this gap through a qualitative study of intercultural learning. Students were asked to focus on a behaviour that was personally or professionally important to them but that they were having difficulty adapting to. The paper reports the varying, unfolding experiences of six of these students as they faced the affective, behavioural and cognitive challenges of adjusting to different greeting patterns and the strategies they used for gradually overcoming them. Drawing on the literature and the findings, an intercultural growth model is proposed. The paper ends with a discussion of the implications of the findings for enhancing social integration at university.