Students are stories: Individual experiences of intercultural group work in engineering
Övrigt konferensbidrag, 2020

Within international higher education, students have been divided into two groups, “home” and “international”, both administratively and within research. This presentation seeks to problematise these labels by highlighting the range of student backgrounds and experiences encompassed within these concepts.

Internationalization and student mobility in university education has been strongly promoted (Carroll and Ryan 2007; Leask 2015). Globally, the trend in international student mobility has been for students from Asian countries travelling to English-speaking countries, though the trend is changing. At the same time, whilst we are in the middle of the pandemic, it is difficult to speculate about the future, yet this is also part of ongoing discussion. In terms of higher education and global mobility, it is clear that this situation will have a long-lasting impact. In Sweden, English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI) courses made up 28% of the total university courses given in the academic year 2018/2019 (Forsberg, 2018), placing it in the top five of European countries offering EMI courses per capita. International tertiary students favour fields in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM): one-third of them enrolled in these fields in 2016 (OECD, 2018).

In a qualitative longitudinal study of five Master engineering students involved in intercultural group work, their individual stories are illustrated, showing the complexity behind the terms “home” and “international”. The presentation suggests using the concepts “insider” and “outsider” to investigate the students’ experiences and exemplifies the factors that lead to insider or outsiderness.

intercultural group work


home students

international students



Becky Bergman

Chalmers, Vetenskapens kommunikation och lärande, Fackspråk och kommunikation

EARLI SIG10, 21 & 25
Virtual, Netherlands,



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