Free articles: Reconceptualizing international education for student success

Poster-SizeInternational Education Week (IEW), which occurred this week, is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. It is a joint initiative between the US Department of State and the US Department of Education which promote programs to prepare Americans for a global environment and to support future leaders from abroad to study and learn in the US.

According to a report released by the Institute of International Education earlier this week, the US enrolled a record-breaking number of international students during the 2013-2014 school year, welcoming 886,052 undergraduate and graduate students to colleges and universities throughout the country.

Meanwhile, the number of American students studying abroad increased by a mere 2 percent between the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years to 289,408, a much lower increase from previous years.

With these numbers, one might wonder: what encourages and discourages Americans from studying abroad? Why are there many more students looking to receive an education in the US?

In honor of IEW, we have chosen a few articles that reconceptualize international education in order to dig deeper into the process of studying outside one’s home country. These articles have been made free until the end of the year.

As education is rapidly changing, it is appropriate to consider how to best conceptualize international education. In this article, the authors argue for a conceptual relocation from ‘international student’ to ‘international study’ as a means to bridge the diverse literatures on international education. ‘International study’ enables the recognition of multiple contributions of international students as agents of knowledge formation; it facilitates circulation of knowledge; and it is a means to acknowledge the complex nature of international education in which students and educators are emotionally and politically networked together through knowledge.

This study examines the influence of cultural intelligence (CQ) on the cultural effectiveness among a university’s short-term business study abroad program participants. The authors conceptualize cultural effectiveness as the degree of psychological comfort and success in managing intercultural demands. Results of the study demonstrate that initial levels of motivational CQ were positively associated with increases in cultural well-being and peers’ perceptions of suitability for overseas work.

In cross-cultural research, international education is largely understood as an adjustment to host country norms and institutions, a notion that prioritizes social order and stability. The student is seen as lacking in relation to these norms and the student’s home country identity is seen as a barrier to be broken down. In contrast, this article sees higher education, and within that international education, as a process of self-formation within unequal conditions in which students manage their lives, fashioning their own changing identities, under social circumstances largely beyond their control.

This study looks at the value of studying abroad, such as the learning outcomes above and beyond those which may be achieved in domestic or traditional campus-based courses. Results suggest that it is the combination of location (abroad) and academic focus that yields the greatest increases in specified learning outcomes.

Have your own experience as an international student you’d like to share? Feel free to send it to camille.gamboa@sagepub.com and we will feature it in a future blog post.

     
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