Educational Benefits of Internationalizing Higher Education: The Students' Perspectives
Hayle, Elaine Marcia
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This study explored the educational benefits of institutional efforts to internationalize education as perceived and experienced by domestic and international undergraduate students at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. The intent of the study was to (1) understand the ways in which students reported benefiting from the range of programs and activities associated with Internationalization-at-Home initiatives, and (2) ascertain which of the three dominant internationalization frameworks (Global Competency, Academic Capitalism, and Academic Colonialism) likely inform the institutional practices experienced by these students. Using a social-constructivist approach, this qualitative study employed an inter-related set of data collection instruments and processes including a web-based survey, focus group interview, and document analysis. Senior undergraduate students from the faculties of Arts and Science, Applied Science and School of Business, participated in the study which was carried out in 2007. Four themes emerged from the analysis of data generated by the web-based survey and the focus group interview. Expressed as benefits to either the students and/or to the institution itself, these themes include: (1) a broadened knowledge and understanding of other nations, cultures, and global issues; (2) networking and the development of social and emotional skills; (3) the generation of revenue; and (4) contributing to the reproduction of Western knowledge. Overall, these themes collectively speak to the institution’s internationalization goals, and a measure of commitment to more than one internationalization goal, with less than a half of the student participants reporting that developing global competence was the main benefit derived.