"It's so much easier to go with what's easy": "mindfulness" and the discourse between home and international students in the United Kingdom

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Peacock, N. ; Harrison, N. (2009)

A recent aspect of U.K. higher education has been the internationalisation of university campuses, driven by a rapid increase in student numbers from overseas and growing pressure to prepare all students for global careers. It is often assumed by policy makers that the benefits of an internationalised university will include opportunities for enhancing cultural awareness and capability among U.K. students, with contact with other cultures helping to foster a sense of global citizenship and responsibility. This article reports initial findings from two English universities which suggests that U.K. students instinctively take a strategic approach to cross-cultural interaction based on perceptions of cultural proximity and comfort. Although U.K. students do appear to identify some of the gains predicted by policy-makers, these are often low level, incidental, and unconnected to wider learning. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that data collection and analysis has been hindered by a strong taboo around discussions of diversity.
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