The most significant worldwide change in the academic arena has been manifested in the form of internationalizing of the higher education characterized by the mobility of the students. Mobility of learners has been the major driving force behind the Internationalization of universities over the past few decades. According to Knight and De Wit (2002), there is a strong correlation between globalization and Internationalization of higher education. Globalization can be considered as a catalyst whereas internationalization is the reaction. Internationalization of higher education by definition is the process of integrating the global aspects into an institution’s system of study, teaching and service delivery. Universities in industrialized countries tackle the issue of increased global integration and the coming out of the so called global community. These institutions are intensively associated with the international cities that comprise the main nodes of a networked globe. The major analyses of Internationalization in higher education points to a wide range of worldwide dimensions in higher education ( De Wit, 2002). Over the years, Internationalization has been analyzed from several perspectives not only in terms of the prevalence of students and the physical mobility, but equally in terms of administrative and academic staff included in programs meant to support Internationalization (Teichler, 2007). Various programs have been initiated to support the mobility of students to other foreign countries for academic purposes.
Student’s movement was established with hope that such a move can result in changed attitudes and improve development. In the year 1997, for instance, the Council of Europe signed a union in Lisbon for a multi-party legal structure to improve worldwide acknowledgment of advanced learning and periods of study. It was as a result of this agreement that the convention on the identification of credentials with regards to higher education in the European region is referred to as “the Libson Convention”.
Benefits Derived by Students Who Travel to Study Abroad
When students travel to a foreign land for academic purposes, using their home born lenses, they seek to assess the environment, people, the culture, politics but most importantly the education system. From these experiences, the students learn that as humanity, we have a lot to share not only through observation but equally through listening to others with open minds, heart and ears (Bochner, 1982).
Second, international exposure, gives the students a memorable field experience that contributes towards their positive development both in their individual capacities as students and as professionals. The relationship they develop with the foreign students, the people in the education system has a profound and lasting effect on their lives. The best way to gain international awareness is through experiences gained while studying abroad.
Equally, students who have the privilege of studying in international colleges are more likely to succeed in their careers compared to those who study domestically. Available evidence suggests that employers place greater preference study abroad experience. This is more so especially among the non-governmental organizations and multinational corporations. In most cases, an individual’s international exposure is listed as part of the job description and the overall prerequisites for employment. Even the absence of sectoral preferences for international exposure, students who have studied abroad enjoy significant tangible benefits owing to their experience. This is more so when they understand how to market their competencies and skills. The employer biases towards those with international experience are further motivated by the fact the organization would love to tap not only the intellectual skills but equally the interpersonal skills that the individual developed and strengthened while studying abroad. This is confirmed in a study done by Ran Corporation in 2003 in which it was found that successful career professionals who work in international organizations generally possess five characteristics; analytical and problem solving skills, relationship and interpersonal skills, ability to adapt to changing situations and tolerance for ambiguity, ability to work in different cultures and collaborate with people from various backgrounds and finally personal traits of dependability, self reliance and character. These traits are easily developed by a student who spends his/her time studying abroad more specifically if the country is not in the West to the extent that the student faces significant challenges in terms of cultural and language differences. This together with out of class experience for instance travel, home stay, internships or work offers an unmatched opportunity to develop a set of competencies that will set the individual apart from the crowd.
The main benefits of Internationalization of higher education are the increased trust, contact, mobility and knowledge among the students. In addition to this, Internationalization plays a great role in the development of the “open mind” of native students, as well as the ones that come from other countries. Thus, students become more open to new ideas and new cultures. The specific benefits of Internationalization of evolution countries according to Dwyer and Peters (2004) include; carrying out professional study and innovation, increasing the movement of the students, participating in credit transfer and worldwide accreditation.
Internationalizing of higher education provides high opportunities and situations for academic growth, ever-increasing number of intercontinental students in the institution of higher education that offers diversified and vast opportunities for university teachers to academically restore themselves before the worldwide human resource. Each learner comes from diverse countries and continents with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees to learn and study and must be considered as a great source of global intelligence, experience and knowledge that can contribute to increase worldwide relations and broaden their knowledge of their learning institutions.The international student movement offers a diversified situation to their faculties and universities. Students come from different backgrounds, different countries and different expectations therefore it becomes very relevant to organize various faculties in the universities in such a way that they meet up the expectations and demands of worldwide students for which they have opted for.
Accreditation benefits the learners because the skills and knowledge in their course of study are essential for graduation or for professional study. It also helps their parents and them to choose between institutions and devote cautiously in programs of up to standard quality. Learners will have the capabilities and skills needed for particular roles. This makes employment more dependable and easier because it reduces on job training costs. Learners through visible examples have a chance to find out, inspire reformers, motivate others to change or emulate, leading others to improve as a consequence creating competition. It is an enhancement of reform.
Internationalizing of higher education increases the likelihood of their testimonials being acknowledged in the host nations. This benefits the learner by escalating opportunities and thus helping to reduce the problem of under employment. This benefits the country at large in forms of improved services and well-informed population. The massive rise in the number of graduates in other countries threatens the comparative advantage in graduate exhaustive sectors of invention especially if the graduates are relatively cheaper than their own workers.
The mutual recognition of credentials facilitates students’ mobility and allows the learners with foreign credentials to work in their home countries and internationally, this is done especially in the MENA countries which promote student mobility and recognition both in the home and the host country (World Bank/AFD, 2011). They engage in cross regional and regional dialogue thus more information shared facilitates the recognition of domestic degrees and understanding of foreign qualifications. Faculty and student build global networks which underpin research, national innovation and expansion schemes (Chataway & Berry, 1989).
The learners benefit from worldwide understanding in terms of learning and implementing the methods and systems of planned management, strategic thinking, university community’s contribution and attractive strategic plan growth.
Benefits upon Students in Host Countries Who Share Curricular and Life Experiences with International Travelers
According to research that has been carried out, the interaction between international students and the domestic indicates that there is a social impact of international students on domestic students particularly on friendship formation and social contact. It equally appraises similar writing on stereotypes. The finding of the study highlights the fact that international students anticipate superior contact and that their association with the domestic students are linked to with emotional, social, and educational paybacks for the international students. The interactions between domestic and international students enables them to relate in a friendly manner for instance their friendship enables them to share their academic work like class group discussions and also share social and psychological ideas among themselves.These interactions enable them to grow academically, socially and psychologically.
From the findings by Klineberg and Hull (1979), more than 2500 international university students in 11 countries develop bonds with the domestic students. This applies regardless 57 percent of the student population confessed that their close friends were of the same nationality as them. Research carried out by Trice and Elliott (1993) in the United States shows that “Japanese students spends 82% of social time and 88% of the study time with other Japanese” (Barnhart & Groth, 1987).
The report by Dwyer (2004) provided the same results regarding friendship among student of different nationalities at the University of Hawaii, “thirty six students from Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan and the Philippines reported a liking for the similar cultural associates: 29% host nationals, 43% of their friends were co-nationals and 27% members of additional edifying groups” (Dwyer, 2004).
Isabelli (2003) conducted a research in the United Kingdom to find out the infrequent bonds that existed between the domestic and the international students. Their research showed that of 32 international students of the Oxford University hall of residence, only 70% had no British friends and 17% stated that their best friends were of a British origin (Isabelli-Garcia, 2003). A study carried out by Dwyer in the year 2004 among international students in Cambridge and Oxford universities showed that 44% of the students came from other nations while 20% included domestic students. Albhais (1985) carried out a broad study in London and found out that a strong liking for co-national friends varied across cultural groups: 60% African, 49% Asian, 50% Oriental, 47%European, 61% Middle Eastern, 48% South American, 28% North American and 39% West Indian. 56 percent had no friend of British origin and those who where for Briton as one of their best friend fell below 50 percent when voting was done. The differences in co-national likings are prejudiced by a number of factors, presence of co-nationals.
New Zealand and Australian studies indicates that there is a low occurrence of inter cultural friendships. Ruhter et al. (2004) interviewed students of the University of Murdoch in Western Australia and found out that out of the eight international students that he interviewed none of them had Australian friends.
A study on international students undertaken in New Zealand reflects a liking for co-national friendships and a low level of interaction with domestic students. In his 2003 survey at Canterbury Universities, Chin (2003) found out that 23 percent out of a total of 224 Asian students reported having no kiwi friends. Furthermore, they were more at ease to consult Asian students, whenever they encountered any problems in their academic work. This has a negative social impact because if students cannot interact freely then they cannot be in a position to share ideas in other fields like academics and sports.
In fact low rate of interactions between local and international students does not replicate satisfaction in the worldwide group. It is expected that they make more local friends to whom they desire and have greater contact (Klinerberg et al., 1979).
According to Ruhter (2004),most of the students who go to study abroad experience low levels of interactions than what they actually expected an example are the Chinese students who go to study in Canada. On the contrary, most of the international students interviewed at Murdoch University had a high prospect of interacting with other students. However, on the ground things were different and the international students were disappointed. Becker (1990) carried out a research in Australia and found out about 34% of the international students did not have Australian friends. Chin (2003) carried out a study with the Koreans in Australia and reported that 67% of the students were not contented with their interactions with Australians and 56% of the students found it hard to be in contact with them.
Several researchers have raised their concerns about social isolation and the problems encountered by international students in getting together and increasing on their level of interaction with the locals in spite of their wish to do so. Studies also reveal that international students experience bigger challenges and more concern in their interactions and have less pleasing relations than domestic students (Furnham & Alibhai, 1981).
According to chin 2003, it is evident that students from the host countries also go to study abroad this is done through the education exchange programs which encourage students’ interaction from different countries. For instance, the U.S. receives a large number of international students but other countries like China, Japan, and France also sent students abroad for further studies.
According to Choi (1997), international students find it hard to interact with domestic students. The association between the domestic and the international and domestic students are linked to not only academic but equally social adaptation. Interactions between the international and domestic students are usually associated with social and academic benefits. Interactions at the social level particularly with domestic friends and spending leisure hours with them reduce stress levels among the international students (Steinberg, 2002).
International studies in the New Zealand provide that high satisfaction with the relationships and successful communication depend on the decrease of communication difficulties that might commonly occur. Ward and Kennedy (1993) suggest that international students who highly interact with the domestic students are likely to have good relationships. They also develop better communication ability and additional self-belief in the use of their second language (Chin, 2003).
Most of the universities and colleges abroad had a great focus on the students and curriculum in foreign language studies, natural sciences and business. Internationalizing of education has a great impact curriculum because the exposure of students to international issues has made most of them to study courses like information technology brought about by the changes in technology.
The existence of non-domestic learners in the group of students has influence on the way education is conducted, in addition to on the content of the classroom actions. The changes may be alleged to be either negative or positive. As Akande & Slawson (2000) state, “the educational settings that boast learners from varied cultural and national backgrounds have built-in possessions for widening an intellectual point of view and internationalizing the content of the schooling material” (p.14). Furthermore, differences in cultural aspects between the domestic an international students is likely to create curiosity not only among the international students but equally amongst the domestic students and the teachers (Obong, 1997).
International students usually relocate their local peers at the various learning institutions and this is based on the recruitment and retention policies that have been established. In New Zealand, international students are not usually displaced because of the measures put upon by the Education Act.
It is generally alleged that the existence of international students can enhance worldwide understanding and enrich campuses (McCollow, 1989). In general, most of the international students are negatively affected both socially and psychologically in comparison to the domestic students.
Due to the globalization and open frontiers, there is an increase in the number of international students in most of the countries. However, there is still much to learn about positive sides of educational and social aspects of Internationalization. Internationalization of higher education has brought about changes in the interactions between domestic students and international students, educational content and process. The presence of the international students in the classroom has a positive effect on the development of the ties between countries and exchange of cultural values and traditions which in its turn, has a positive influence on the positive outlook of future professionals. It is clear that the developments do not happen suddenly as a result, to achieve optimal benefits, there has to be a planned intervention at the strategic level.
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