According to Professor Cousins, internationalisation is more about providing opportunities for overseas students to interact with Australian students, so that both groups develop cross cultural understanding and gain knowledge/experience that will advantage them after they graduate from the institution. Professor Cousins suggested that internationalisation is often thought of in terms of making the curriculum more internationally relevant, but this is not what her research suggest that international students actually want.
"International students want to learn and socialise with local students" Professor Cousins insisted. She indicated that including teamwork that included a diverse mix of international and domestic students was perhaps the most effective way of ensuring a sharing of skills, expertise and cultural understanding.
So where would you begin to achieve a high level of internationalisation in higher education in Australia? If Professor Cousins is correct, two immediate changes are required:
- Stop quarantining international students in learning situations where there are few, if any Australian students.
- Begin with your course/unit assessment and design problem-based assessment that requires at least some teamwork and where the context is global and student teams are allocated to include high levels of cultural diversity.