Won't somebody think of the students...?

Won't somebody think of the students...?

The EAIE has officially launched the summer 2017 issue of its member magazine, Forum. This issue’s theme takes a close look at international students and what higher education professionals can do to ensure they have a positive international experience. It is also Forum Week on the blog, and in today’s post, Laura Rumbley, Chair of the Publications Committee and Editor of Forum, discusses the trials and triumphs of today’s international student.

For many of us, ‘thinking of students’ seems to occupy most of our time. If we have positions focused in some way on international student mobility, we’re constantly concerned with where the students attending our institutions come from (or where the might come from in the future), what their needs are, how their experiences are playing out in our programs, and what the future holds for them.

If these are the kinds of questions that intrigue you – or that you think should be of greater interest to colleagues or superiors with whom you work – then the current issue of EAIE’s Forum magazine is something worth checking out, and perhaps passing around the office.

Evolving our knowledge of the international student

The topic we’re exploring in this issue is precisely ‘the international student’. This is a topic with which many of us feel thoroughly informed, but it’s interesting and timely to consider some new angles on the international student experience, and to remind ourselves of the myriad ways in which our understanding of, and our support systems for, can evolve meaningfully.

Take for example, the notion of the full ‘international student lifecycle’ –  which includes the crucial period of re-entry and reintegration of students post-study abroad. Contributors Daniela Craciun and Adriana Perez-Encinas urge us to consider this often overlooked part of the international mobility story, in light of the fact that it has important implications not only for the mobile students themselves, but for the wider aspirations many of us have for the internationalisation at home agenda at our institutions.

Expanding our perspectives on the international student

Learning across different regions of the world is another interesting way to expand our understanding of the international student experience. Bryce Loo gives us a perspective on what the African student experience in the United States can offer in the way of information and insights for European higher education. Intrigued? So am I!

Spreading the word about examples of innovative practice is one of the things Forum does best, and in this issue, we offer some examples of programming in Ireland and the United Kingdom designed to empower and integrate international students more effectively, and to draw in stakeholders from across campuses and local communities. We’re also reminded of the fact that new approaches to supporting international student mental health, career development and retention are continually evolving. Are you up to speed?

Rearranging our classification of the international student

Finally, many of you may find the article authored by Elspeth Jones to be especially thought provoking. She asks us to consider whether – in an age of significant diversification of our domestic student bodies – “are international students so different?” Or is there more similarity than we might imagine between the students we so readily (and perhaps superficially) categorise into ‘us’ and ‘them’?

These ideas and more are brimming on the pages of our current issue, and we hope that as you take some (hopefully quiet) summer moments to reflect on the important work you do with international students throughout the year, that you’ll browse through the ideas presented in our current Forum issue, and consider what they mean to you.  For me, students really are the heart of the matter, and they deserve our constant careful attention and consideration.

Today is the start of Forum Week on the EAIE blog, where we will be posting three additional articles not included in the magazine. Be sure to check in the rest of the week for more great content on the international student. Download your magazine now and be on the lookout for your printed copy in the mail soon. Not yet a member but want to see what the magazine is all about? Download the editor’s pick then join us today!

Laura is Chair of the EAIE Publications Committee and Associate Director at the Boston College Center for International Higher Education, USA.

Laura E. Rumbley
EAIE, the NetherlandsLaura is Director, Knowledge Development and Research, at the EAIE.