Global futures, global communities? The role of culture, language and communication in an internationalised university

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Montgomery, Catherine (2008)
  • Publisher: Roskilde University Press
  • Subject: G400 | X200

This paper is one of a set of working papers that focus on the cultural and linguistic practices in internationalised university contexts across a number of different countries including the UK, Denmark and Australia. The research network CALPIU which is based at Roskilde University in Denmark is interrogating the nature of cultural and linguistic practices in contemporary Higher Education. This is being done from a range of research perspectives with different foci on language, culture and social or academic identities. This particular paper concentrates on presenting a student view of internationalised Higher Education in contrast to other papers that emphasise staff perspectives (e.g. Preisler 2008, this volume). Here we consider the role of culture, language and communication in an internationalised university and suggest that the development of intercultural competence in students (and indeed staff although this is not researched here) should be considered to be an integral aim of internationalisation. The paper examines how international students’ experience of studying in Higher Education in another country may prepare them for living and working in a global context. It is noted in research on UK home students’ experience (Ball et al. 2000; Shipton 2005) that being at university changes students’ perceptions of themselves and others. It is suggested in this paper that the international nature of mobile students’ experience may accentuate this development and provide them with a changed perspective on what it means to live, study and socialise with people from different cultures. This perspective could enable students to develop intercultural competences that may contribute to their professional and personal futures. This self?awareness and wider intercultural view of self being developed in the international student may be contrasted with a more mono?cultural experience of some home students who may not be benefiting from the social and cultural diversity being created by internationalisation in Higher Education. This paper draws on data from a study carried out in 2003 that investigated the social and cultural experience of a group of international students in a UK university. In addition to this, the CALPIU sub?project intends to further the findings of this data by carrying out research into current student perspectives on the role of culture, language and social interaction in an internationalised university in 2008. This part of the project aims to establish to what extent student views on studying and living in an international education environment have changed over the past five years.
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