Examining domestic students’ perspectives of internationalisation through the lens of general capabilities

Year: 2018

Author: Chou-Lee, Manaia

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Although the focus of internationalisation has been in higher education, increasingly more international students are attending Australian secondary schools, particularly in the states of Victoria and Queensland. In addition, an emerging trend is the numbers of international students increasing in government schools relative to private schools (Rahimi, Halse & Blackmore 2017). As the school environment becomes more diverse, genuine interactions and building of relationships with and between international students, local students and other groups in the community are considered to reduce societal tensions in a culturally diverse society. This has prompted a more prominent federal and state government policies, to internationalise secondary schools with the aim of shaping and preparing young people to be part of an integrated community and environment – locally and internationally – to benefit Australia economically, socially, culturally and politically (Department of Education 2016).To ensure all students receive a holistic education, which includes intercultural interaction, schools are weaving general capabilities into the curriculum (ACARA 2017; VCCA 2015). As such, the intercultural capability is directly linked to internationalisation in schools (Arkoudis et al. 2010; Halse et al. 2016). Although recognised less, additional capabilities – ethical and personal and social – are situated within the dimensions of internationalisation. While discourses justifying internationalisation claim that the presence of international students is of benefit to domestic students (DET 2016; Victoria State Government 2014) because it exposes them to new experiences and cultural differences, little research focuses specifically on whether these claims are substantiated by domestic students themselves.
This paper examines how domestic students engage with processes and practices of internationalisation in schools, using the intercultural, ethical and personal and social capabilities (VCCA 2015) as an analytical tool. To do this, responses from focus group and semi-structured interviews with forty-five domestic students across five Victorian schools in Catholic, independent and government sectors have been examined. The paper will undertake a policy analysis of internationalisation and draw on intercultural theories (Halse et al 2016) to focus on the domestic student experience.