Creating global students: opportunities, challenges and experiences of internationalizing the geography curriculum in higher education

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Internationalization is now a fundamental component of universities, prompted by the generation of fees from international students, the advocacy of international “branding” and reputation, and to address the necessity for graduates to remain competent in an expanding global job market. While emphasis has been placed on the internationalization of institutions to attract foreign students, competitiveness of higher education prompted by the above mentioned factors has led to the need for increased relevance and demand of higher education to wider society.

Internationalization of curriculum is a result of the shifting perspectives among students and their relationship to it. The objective of an internationalized curriculum is to further students’ advancement in terms of skills, knowledge and attitudes that will prepare them as graduates and professionals who are capable of working and living effectively in a dynamic and connected world. Global citizenship is seen as a counter-hegemonic educational measure which confronts the present course content and pedagogies, but is capable of transformative learning.

It is critical to take into account the nature of implementation when designing an internationalized curriculum. The conceptual framework should demonstrate the several “layers of context” that can lead to communication and leadership, with disciplinary knowledge as a result of societal paradigms and institutional policies. It should also can be ingrained into local, national and global contexts through teaching, learning and opportunities. Any attempt to forge “Global Students” through the design and implementation of an internationalized curriculum will be accompanied with opportunities and challenges. The internationalization of curriculum lies at the intersection of policy and practice. Governments and universities managers will have to examine the roles of responsibilities of universities in the West when building interconnected global education networks and the desire to develop international teaching and research collaborations. Further, academics will also have a prominent role to play in terms of the design and delivery of compelling curricula.

There may be innovative methods of designing and delivery curriculum. However, resources and technologies will also have to be utilized at a certain level of competency to establish “global students” such as student and staff mobility, joint curriculum development, distance learning, international field courses and placements.

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