22 SES 12 A, Internationalisation: Experiences and Support
By way of a preliminary understanding, according to a broad definition from Knight, (2006) internationalisation consists of two components: namely internationalisation at home referring to activities that help students develop international understanding and intercultural skills and internationalisation abroad referring toall forms of education crossing borders, mobility of students, teachers, scholars, programmes, courses, curriculum and projects. The term is often used loosely to refer to any activity that involves cross border, cross cultural or international connotations and has therefore, according to Knight (2010:14), become a ‘catch all phrase’. Internationalisation in this context can also be framed within exchange relations according to Emerson’s power-dependency theory (Emerson, 1964) locating power at the interdependencies among actors embedded in social relations. It may also be argued that the discourses of internationalisation illustrate Foucault’s power-knowledge concept (Foucault, 1977) which states it is not only power that has the exclusive right to generate knowledge, but also that knowledge gives power over people.
International education is not a new phenomenon with international connections being sustained since medieval times (Knight & De Wit, 1995). However, it seems that the scope of ‘internationalisation’ can now be found to have a particular meaning to some when applied to the strategic planning of higher educational institutions, and is concerned with maintaining and developing a cultural and educational identity of the local campus environment while opening doors to learning, teaching and research opportunities with a global ‘perspective’. Nonetheless, interpretations of global ‘perspective’ depend on which ideological or political paradigm or vantage point is taken, i.e. globalisation and economic competition from a conservative or neoliberal agenda or intercultural and transnational /cosmopolitan relations from a more liberal / socialist perspective, or a combination thereof.
On arrival at a new campus in new country, international students are at a crucial stage in their academic careers, transitioning from study or work in their home countries to study in the UK. Although some students adapt easily to new challenges both socially and academically, others may have difficulties adapting to different ways of thinking and different cultural expectations. This lead to our main question: What is it like to be an international student in Scotland?
The objectives of this research are to have a deeper understanding of social, academic, economic and cultural issues affecting international students studying in Scotland and a more nuanced understanding of the quality and kinds of relationships formed in cross-cultural encounters in Higher Education.
This research will use collaborative group work techniques to gather information. Focus groups discussions will be employed alongside a collaborative drawing technique called the rich picture (RP). We intend to use the RP tool to gather insight because visuals have the vast capacity to communicate irrespective of possible language, culture and education barriers and thus making it useful for communicating with international student participants. The RP is a familiar tool used in computing information systems (Berg & Pooley, 2013) to gather understanding about human activity for system design to assist the exploration of different world views within a complex situation. The RP is a physical picture drawn by many hands which encourages discussion and debate for groups and allows them to arrive at an agreed understanding which makes it a powerful device in participatory processes. In recent work (Berg & Guion Akdağ, under review) the RP was used to aid understanding of the issues facing international students by comparing student feedback forms with the RP. This previous work suggested that the RP is a good complimentary tool to formal methods of enquiry and thus gives insight into more tacit perceptions from students such as emotion, sentiment, reaction and mood.
Bell, S., Berg, T., and Morse, S. 2015. Rich Pictures: Sustainable Development and Stakeholders – The Benefits of Content Analysis. Sust. Dev., doi: 10.1002/sd.1614.Anon., n.d. Berg, T. & Pooley, R., 2012. Contemporary Iconography for Rich Picture Construction. Systems Research and Behavioral Science. Berg, T. & Guion Akdağ, E., 2016. Using collaborative pictures to understand student experience. Cambridge Journal of Education: under review Emerson, R. M., 1964. Power-Dependence Relations: Two Experiments. Sociometry, 27(3), pp. 282-298. Foucault, M., 1977. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. New York: Random House. Knight, J., 2006. Internationalization of Higher Education: new directions, new challenges. The 2005 IAU Global Survey Report, Paris: International Association of Universities. Knight, J., 2010. Five myths about internationalization. International Higher Education, Volume 62, pp. 14-15. Knight, J. & De Wit, H., 1995. Strategies for internationalisation of higher education: Historical and conceptual perspectives. Strategies for internationalisation of higher education: A comparitive study of Austrailia, Canada, Europe and the United States of America, pp. 5-32
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