Internationalisation of higher education and employability | 2012 winter EAIE Forum member magazine


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Countless studies advocate the benefits of international study abroad, but what skills do students actually develop during these periods? And what about those immobile
students bound to their native country? Should more be done to enable them to develop similar skills to their mobile counterparts? This is an extract from the 2012 winter issue of European Association for International Education's member magazine, EAIE Forum Become an EAIE member to access top-notch resources on a wide range of internationalisation topics.

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Internationalisation of higher education and employability | 2012 winter EAIE Forum member magazine

  1. 1. Discussing international education employabilityInternationalisation and Employability: Are we missing a trick? How do employers value international experience? prepare your students for the global job market EAIE Dublin 2012 Conference Report winter 2012
  2. 2. Contents forum 04 Editorial 10 Eastern promise The rise of Asia 15 Internships as a bridge to deeper engagement Create winning partnerships 18 Should employability be the main goal of universities? Retaining academic standards 24 Employer Q&A Defining the ideal graduate 26 How do students value international experience? The Erasmus Student Network Survey 29 Improve the employability of your students 10 things you can do 31 Perspectives A graduate’s view on study abroad 32 turning the page An interview with Gudrun PaulsdottirPublished by 35 Hot off the pressEuropean Association for International EducationPO Box 11189, 1001 GD Amsterdam, The Netherlands Your guide to the latest publicationstel +31-20-344 51 00, fax +31-20-344 51 19e-mail, 36 enrich your eaie istanbul experience Top 10 city highlightsEditor Michael CooperPublications Committee Michael Cooper (Chair),Jill Archer, Mary Bishop, Ole Faaborg, Linda Johnson, 63 calendarFrank Wittmann Upcoming events in the fieldMarketing & Communications Manager Elise KuurstraGraphic Designer Nhu Nguyen CONFERENCE REPORTPublications Coordinator Sarah Fencotte-mail 40 EAIE takes Dublin by storm The conference evaluationAdvertisingContact for more information. 47 Twitter fountainThe EAIE welcomes requests for advertising space fromcompanies and organisations whose aims and values Your conference tweetsare compatible with those of the Association and itsmembers. Acceptance of advertising does not imply 48 A time for debateendorsement by the EAIE. Dialogue reflectionsPrinted by Drukkerij Raddraaier, Amsterdam 52 Sugata MitraCopyright © 2012 by the EAIE An interview with the futuristic professorAll rights reserved. Extracts from Forum may bereproduced with permission of the Editor. Unless statedotherwise, opinions expressed by contributors do not 57 2012 EAIE Winnersnecessarily reflect the position of the EAIE. Award winners, medal winners and moreISSN 1389-0808 61 Thank youCover illustration Chris Lemmens (istock) To our partner and sponsors
  3. 3. forum winter 2012 03 06 “We cannot simply rely on the mobile minority of students to respond to employers’ needs” Elspeth Jones 12 “We have seen a year-on-year climb of 34 places in the Times Good University Guide League Table for graduate prospects”How can universities deliver job-ready graduates? 21 “Globally, 62% of employers confirmed that international education is considered as part of their recruitment process” The QS Global Employer Survey 39 “All over Europe and beyond, little fires have been lit – new ideas, problems to tackle and renewed enthusiasms” Dublin Conference Report
  4. 4. 06 forum winter 2012 Internationalisation and employability: are we missing a trick? Elspeth Jones Consultant in International Education and Emerita Professor, Leeds University, UKIllustration: Chris Lemmens (istock)
  5. 5. forum winter 2012 07 Countless studies advocate the benefits of international study abroad, but what skills do students actually develop during these periods? And what about those immobile students bound to their native country? Should more be done to enable them to develop similar skills to their mobile counterparts?Cultivating soft skills International mobility in terms of personal growth, self-efficacy,“Even if domestic graduates never leave Studies have identified profound trans- maturity and enhanced intercultural com-their own country, on graduation they formational learning in students through petence. From an analysis of such studieswill be forced to compete in international, international mobility experiences in a range it is clear that the list of skills developedor multinational, work and discovery of geographical contexts. These include ques- shows a remarkable similarity to thoseenvironments.”1 tioning personal identity and sense of self, shown to be required by employers in other A recent British Council/Think Global with significant results being widely reported studies, as Figure 1 shows.survey2 found that 79% of chief executivesand board level directors of businesses in the Figure 1: Key skills comparisonUK think that in recruiting new employ-ees, knowledge and awareness of the wider Key skills required by Key skills developed through international employers mobilityworld are more important than achieving ahigh degree grade. Increasing globalisation • Self-awareness • Self-awareness, self-confidence, sense of iden-and the interconnectedness of multinational • Initiative and enterprise tity, and personal independencework environments have intensified the • Willingness to learn • Being informed, greater interest in global af-demand for graduates capable of operating • Planning and organising fairs and cross-cultural perspectives • Organisational skills, project management,in culturally diverse contexts and studies • Integrity decision-making, creativity and taking onhave shown that employer requirements • Commitment/motivation responsibility • Problem-solvingare broadly consistent from one country to • Vision, independence, experience, broader • Flexibility outlook and attitudeanother. • Self-management • Problem-solving, coping strategies and risk- In countries from west to east and north • Team work takingto south, universities are seeking to design • Communication skills • Patience, flexibility, adaptability, open-minded-curricula incorporating the skills employers • Foreign languages ness and humanityare looking for. Often described as ‘soft’ or • Networking • Team work and team leadership skills • Leadership • Fluency, accuracy and appropriateness of lan-‘transferable’ skills, they relate to generic • Customer service guage competencepersonal and interpersonal qualities which • Interpersonal skills • Mediation skills, conflict resolution, sensitivity,are independent of the field of study. Re- • Intercultural skills humility and respectsearch shows that some of these skills are • Forging of relationships and networksdeveloped through international mobility • Challenge to personal stereotypes, cultural relativismexperiences and yet the connection between • Enhanced intercultural communication, con-outcomes from these programmes and the ducting business interculturallytransferable skills employers require have • Cultural empathyrarely been made. • Non-judgmental observation, respect for local values without abandoning one’s own • Cultural understandings, ways of thinking and adaptation to complex cultural environments
  7. 7. forum winter 2012 09Given that findings of this kind have been However, this requires us to recognise Further explorationreported from a range of studies, it suggests and value the cultural insights which our In summary, if the transformationalthat students will benefit if we design inter- students (and staff) can offer by embracing potential of internationalisation for studentnational experiences into higher education a broad notion of ‘culture’. A group of stu- learning is to be realised beyond the mobilecurricula. Yet there continue to be chal- dents in a contemporary European univer- minority, the relationship between ‘inter-lenges in ensuring that academics, students sity is likely to include people from differing national’ and ‘intercultural’ needs furtherand employers are aware that international national, religious, ethnic backgrounds, exploration within our curricula. A numberexperiences can offer such benefits. of different genders, sexual orientation or of questions for further reflection arise: with physical disabilities. Such diversity can 1. Are curriculum designers and theOptions for non-mobile students offer creative ‘intercultural’ opportunities, wider academic community aware ofPerhaps an even more important challenge and one route to enhancing intercultural the potential power of the internationalis to consider how internationalisation of competence – an important objective of learning experience in enhancing stu-the curriculum ‘at home’ can offer similar curriculum internationalisation – may be on dent employability?opportunities for the static majority of our own doorsteps. 2. Are the students who take part in such experiences aware of this and can they We are yet to make the most of diversity in our ‘sell’ this to employers? universities and local communities 3. Are employers aware of the transferable skills which can arise from interna- tional experiences?students, ie those who do not take part in For example, international community 4. What contribution can internation-an international experience as part of their volunteering has been shown to yield alisation of the curriculum at homeprogramme of study. beneficial learning outcomes of the type make to employability for non-mobile There is growing recognition that the described here. Could the same be true students?intercultural competence required to oper- for local ‘intercultural’ volunteering, such 5. How can we make better use of lo-ate effectively in global contexts is equally as with different religious or faith groups, cal multicultural contexts to offerimportant for living in our increasingly shelters for homeless people or drug addicts, similar learning outcomes as have beendiverse and multicultural local communi- women refuges or with people who have demonstrated through internationalties. And yet the increasing demand for severe mental or physical disabilities? experiences?graduates with first-hand experience ofliving and working among other cultures International versus intercultural Chesterton said, “the whole object of travelsuggests we are not making the most of lo- We are yet to make the most of diversity in is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at lastcal diversity. We cannot simply rely on the our universities and local communities to to set foot on one’s own country as a foreignmobile minority of students to respond to support intercultural learning in domestic land.”3 If international mobility experiencesemployers’ needs. The kind of employability settings. As such, we do not know whether in higher education can bring about such askills arising from international mobility internationalisation (or ‘interculturalisation’) change in perspective, we owe our non-should also be available through an interna- of the curriculum ‘at home’ can offer parallel mobile students similar opportunities. Thetionalised curriculum at home for the static development of intercultural competence question for academics is whether we canmajority of students. and transferable employability skills. It open curricula to creative approaches which comes down to viewing international and may offer equivalent outcomes throughUtilising local diversity intercultural as two sides of the same coin, intercultural engagement and internation-To synthesise and simplify the distinctive to incorporating relevant learning out- alisation of the curriculum at home.elements of international mobility experi- comes into our curricula for all students,ences, they offer experiential learning op- not simply through mobility opportunities, This essay is based on a forthcoming journal article by the author: Internationalisation andportunities in an inter-cultural context, tak- and to introducing assessment tasks which employability: the role of intercultural experi-ing people beyond their standard comfort measure whether these have been achieved. ences in the development of transferable skills,zones. However, if we view internationalisa- We will only be able to promote the value of to be published in 2013.tion as one dimension of diversity in higher the internationalised curriculum ‘at home’education, it is clear that domestic environ- to students and to potential employers when 1. Zimitat, C. (2008) Internationalisation of the undergraduate curriculum. In: L. Dunn and M. Wallacements could play an equivalent role in offer- we can demonstrate the benefits and out- (Eds), Teaching in Transnational Higher Education. London, England: opportunities to engage with ‘cultural comes of such experiences as clearly as they 2. Think Global and British Council, (2011). The Globalothers’. Our multicultural classrooms can have been demonstrated in the literature on Skills Gap: Preparing young people for the new globalbe a resource to be used purposefully in de- internationally mobile students. economy. 3. Chesterton, G. K. (1909) Tremendous Triffles.veloping intercultural skills for all students.