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Internationalization is About Cultural Change
June 1, 2011 - 2:31pm

Internationalization is about changing culture. The best higher ed internationalization strategy in the world is doomed to fail if it doesn’t include a comprehensive plan for changing the culture of your institution. Rather than ignore prejudice and outdated attitudes towards other countries, international students, and global scholars; institutions have to build cultural change into their strategy. Too often, an institution’s internationalization strategy is developed at the most senior executive levels and implemented haphazardly and irregularly on campus. A successful plan is one that not only includes institutional partnerships, recruitment strategies, curriculum development, and international student opportunities but one that also trains staff, administration, and faculty on both “soft” issues such as cultural sensitivity as well as “hard” issues such as international shipping, communications, travel, and visa regulations.

If your institution isn't ready for internationalization, then it needs to get ready and you have a role to play in that cultural change.

This morning, I attended a #NAFSA11 session on Global Trends in Internationalization. The panel was led by Darla Deardorff from the Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA) and included Francisco Marmolejo from CONAHEC, Rajika Bhandari from IIE, and John Hudzik from NAFSA.

A quick list of takeaways:
--Formal knowledge delivery in international education is no longer enough; students want marketable skills as well.
--When it comes to international education, there is a large disconnect between k-12 and postsecondary education in the US.
--There is a large increase in non-degree study in the US (lack of time and expenses may be driving this)
--There has been an exponential increase in the number of US students participating in work and internships abroad.
--States such as Indiana and New York have developed marketing schemes that brand their states as study destinations in the hopes of recruiting international students.
--The theme of next year’s NAFSA Conference is on Comprehensive Internationalization (yes!)


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