Discover the topic everyone's talking about at NAFSA

Discover the topic everyone's talking about at NAFSA

Spending the week at the NAFSA conference in Houston, Texas, I have discovered that the buzz phrase of the week is ‘comprehensive internationalisation’. For those of you engaged on the policy and strategic level of internationalisation of higher education, this is something that you may have a particular interest in. It will certainly be something that our American colleagues will refer to when discussing the approach to internationalisation.

Comprehensive internationalisation can be defined as “internationalisation that is seen as pervading the institution and affecting a broad spectrum of people, policies and programmes, leads to deeper and potentially more challenging change….[and is] a broad, deep and integrative international practice that enables campuses to become fully internationalised.”

The concept saw daylight about a year and a half ago and has become ‘the thing’ in the USA. A paper was written on it by John K Hudzik, Comprehensive Internationalisation: from concept to action.
At almost every conference in the US, the topic is present and discussed from various perspectives. From a European point of view, the topic is interesting. I have, on a couple of occasions, had the opportunity to present on the subject and found it to be a very relevant concept. It is a good, comprehensive definition of what we have been trying to accomplish in Europe over the last 5–10 years. That does not mean that we know it all, nor that we have achieved it all, but it does put a good name on our endeavours and will be of help in channelling our future efforts, clarifying our strategies and establishing our priorities. Furthermore, and this is perhaps the most important part, it helps us to identify and document our achievements so far. By using the comprehensive internationalisation concept as a reference, I’m sure that you will find out that you have done more and achieved more than you were previously aware of.

I would like to invite you to a discussion on how you think this concept can contribute to the internationalisation process in Europe? Is it of interest to explore further? Could the EAIE contribute to the concept in any way?

All the best from a very warm Houston,