Research summary: Internationalisation at home: Dutch higher education policies

Van Gaalen, A. & Gielesen, R. (2016). Internationalisation at home: Dutch higher education policies. In Jones, E., Coelen, R., Beelen, J. & de Wit, H. (eds) Global and Local Internationalization. Sense Publishers.

Aim: To explore how ‘internationalisation at home’ strategies can be encouraged at Dutch universities

Data & methods: analysis of internationalisation policy/strategy documents of 54 Dutch higher education institutions

Results:

  • 91% of the institutions studied have a central internationalisation policy
  • The main goal of institutional internationalisation policies is to develop students’ international and/or intercultural competencies.
  • These competencies are often not specified; when they are, they include an attentive and inquisitive attitude; intercultural effectiveness and communication; knowledge of foreign languages; flexibility and the ability to apply knowledge, and innovation according to international standards.
  • Not all students can achieve such competencies through mobility, since 22% of Dutch students went abroad as part of their studies between 2003 and 2013, meaning 78% stayed in the Netherlands. ‘Internationalisation at home’ could reach all students if integrated into the curriculum.
  • ‘Internationalisation at home’ strategies include inviting foreign lecturers, participating in international projects, offering intercultural skills modules and incorporating different intercultural perspectives into courses

Conclusions: few institutions have a clear, coherent, detailed internationalisation at home strategy or monitoring/assessment tools. Terms like curricular internationalisation, internationally oriented curricula and international classroom are not defined. There is a lack of staff training in this area. ‘[I]nstitutions [should] consciously create situations that facilitate intercultural collaboration and guide students through the process of intercultural learning.’

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