Internationalisation at home? Home and international students' integration into engineering education
Licentiate thesis, 2022
The concept of internationalisation at home argues that students can benefit from the exchange of ideas and broadened horizons on their own campuses, through bringing together home and international students. The aim of this thesis is to investigate the process of integration from a student perspective (both home and international), in particular, the effect of practices like intercultural group work on academic and social integration. Intercultural group work has been interpreted as students from different nationalities working in pairs or groups in a course. For engineering students, intercultural group work is an essential skill for the global workplace many will work in.
Using a co-constructivist approach, the two appended articles present data collected through interviews and through student diaries, to build a picture of student experiences of integration into engineering education, including academic, social, human and structural elements.
There are four key findings. Firstly, in-depth interviews revealed the complexity within the categories of “home” and “international” student experiences in group work. The feeling of being an insider in a group is affected by many more factors than nationality such as previous experience, the nature of the group work and personal aspects like openness and adaptability. Secondly, the longitudinal nature of the first study revealed critical incidents within the groups which affected the group dynamics. Thirdly, diary data showed the students’ appreciation of intercultural pair work in bridging the academic and social divide that can be experienced at the start of a programme. Finally, the use of an integration model highlighted the importance of looking at both human and structural factors in planning intercultural group work.
These findings suggest the importance of a pedagogical structure around intercultural group work. Intercultural group work can facilitate integration, but care is needed. The teacher plays a crucial role in forming the groups, supporting them and facilitating the project in other ways, such as choice of task. The findings also suggest a programme perspective, such that consideration is given to timing of pair and group activities in the programme as a whole.
internationalisation at home
intercultural group work
Chalmers, Communication and Learning in Science, Language and Communication
Learning and teaching
Licentiate theses - Department of Communication and Learning in Science, Chalmers University of Technology: 2022:1
Seminar room 1, library and Zoom
Opponent: Professor Jan Van Maele, KU Leuven, Belgium