Developing an understanding of the positives associated with international education and what is currently limiting it, with Angelica Xidias.
‘We need to think about international students in a different way… At best international education becomes intercultural education in which self-forming individuals engage with each other with a cosmopolitan relational space criss-crossed by changing differences. They are open to each other and learn much from each other.’
It is possible to understand the idea that the potential of international education in under-realised. Internationalising education can contribute to the globalisation of industries, the international workforce and the overall understanding of global issues. However, cultural competence and openness to the unlocked potentials of international education requires flexibility, empathy and cultural negotiation, as Marginson (2012: 10) states that ‘we need to empathize with the Other, without forcing the Other to be the same as Us’.
There are a number of aspects that can be seen to limit the overall reception of international education within our society and our ability to understand divergent points of view. Marginson (2012: 1) describes international education as not currently being ‘the rich intercultural experience it could be’ and thus limiting our sense of responsibility to the human community as a whole. Reasons behind these limitations include local parochialism, stereotypical assumptions and concerns regarding visas and migration.
Cultural negotiation and an ability to cope with ambiguity and uncertainty is key to unlocking the idea that international education is predominately a vital opportunity for intercultural encounters, engagement with issues, history, politics and cultural diversity with an unlimited amount of possibilities in regard to globalisation. The first steps in achieving this should be by encouraging an environment of openminded communication and learning.
Information regarding the University of Wollongong’s opportunities for international education can be found at the Global Campus Network.
Marginson, S (2012) ‘International education as self-formation: Morphing a profit-making business into an intercultural experience’, Lecture delivered at the University of Wollongong, 21 February 2012, available online at http://focusonteaching.uow.edu.au/content/groups/public/@web/@cedir/documents/doc/uow119828.pdf