Postcards from the field

This new initiative aims to facilitate dialogue about Internationalisation at Home and foster our community of practice. The main goal is to connect professionals and encourage the exchange of knowledge in order to learn from each other.

Submit a postcard

  • What strategies are you implementing at your institution?
  • Have you recently attended an event/conference/workshop of relevance where you gained new insights?
  • Are you currently conducting research in the field?
  • Have you developed any best practices?
  • Have you facilitated a teaching project with interesting outcomes?
The message can be maximum 200 words.

Learn from your peers

Programme or curriculum design

Trym N. Holbek, University of Stavanger, Norway

At the University of Stavanger we are working to increase the level of integration between national and international students. An important project which has been running for several years now is the Department of Early Childhood Education’s (ECE) International Week. Teacher education is strongly anchored in the national curriculum, which is why internationalisation is a crucial tool for educating tomorrow’s teachers. The International Week is based on a model from a network initiative by the Comenius Association, of which we are an active member.

The International Week is offered to all education students and provides a series of guest lecturers from network partners who join visiting students for one week from the same partner institutions. This fosters not only mobility by giving them a first taste of a stay abroad, but sets the stage for integrating both students and staff. The week is managed by the international coordinator of the ECE department together with an administrative studies coordinator. The returning theme of 'Outdoor Education' sets us apart from the majority of ECE providing institutions in that the outdoors are strategically used to develop students’ skills and competence.

André Schappo, Loughborough University, United Kingdom

I consider Computer Science to be ideally suited to Internationalisation at Home. The aim is to teach students how to build software for the world. This entails encompassing world cultures and languages and embedding them into software. I am a long time practitioner of such internationalised Computer Science teaching. Topics I have covered over the years includes: software internationalisation & localisation, Unicode, building adaptive internationalised websites, language tags, fonts, keyboard mappings, input methods, Unicode regular expressions, e-mail addresses internationalisation, etc. I do not expect the students to know any language other than English. When designing and coding software it is essential, however, to understand the characteristics of human language scripts, eg Chinese and Japanese do not separate words with the space character, Chinese is much more compact than English, Korean letters are formed into syllable squared blocks, etc.

  • Computer Science exercises can be easily internationalised, eg:
  • In addition to sorting English text, task the students to sort Thai text.
  • Construct SQL queries that can find matches of non-English text. 
  • Display dates in the correct format for the current geo-location.

Organisational/strategic perspective

Oana Bordeanu, National University of Arts Bucharest, Romania

Greetings from the National University of Arts Bucharest! Our university is currently developing an internationalisation project – that will take six months to complete – focusing on updating the curricula, on participation in education fairs and conferences in order to broaden our views on the subject as well as trying to create new long-term strategies for attracting foreign students to our institution. We also prioritise training our academic staff – through courses held by academic fellows from EU universities. They gain new insights in the ways of teaching and collaborating with peers from other universities through projects that could apply virtual mobility/online international learning. In the past year we have created a special art history course for the incoming students and now we are working on updating our International Student Guide. Also, we are engaged in several educational projects with fellow academics and students from various art institutions fromthe  EU, the most recent one being  the European Academy of Participation / Summer School Bucharest.

Teaching, learning and assessment

University Jason Williams, Cardiff Metropolitan, United Kingdom

Students at Cardiff Metropolitan University (CMU) generally do not value the opportunity or recognise the benefits of exploring their subject area within an international context and further to this, computing students tend to be the least interested in the international workplace, yet they work within a sector that offers a wealth of opportunities for their particular skill set. Concomitantly, this problem has been recognised by other institutions and discussed at length within the Businet organisation.  The main aim of Businet is to promote intercultural awareness and this has resulted in the development of a Businet week that each member hosts within their own institution. These projects are self-funded by students and partly funded by the host member. Each individual project covers a wide range of topics, offering students areas of study that they may find interesting to study and at the end of the week, students are offered a certificate of attendance. CMU offers a week on games programming, where students develop a small games programme and attend sessions to support this. 

Staff development, engagement and connections

Nikolien van Lidth de Jeude, HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, the Netherlands

At HU UAS Utrecht we've been working bottom up for some years now and we have really reached some kind of flow regarding internationalisation! We started with discussing our network connections: how and who to reach for what. We then discussed communication-expectations and coordinator roles and decided which forms of contact would suit different kind of situations. The base of the framework that arose from this is our ‘internationalisation inner circle’. In this structure we’ve been able to realise a lot of knowledge-sharing activities and to connect in the execution of activities. For example: we started a Teacher HUB within our CARPE network via a LinkedIn group and shared activities. We offered professionalisation with regard to internationalisation (TED Talk training, dealing with cultural differences in the classroom, etc) and many have already joined. And we have frequent knowledge-sharing where people not only discuss, but also connect activities between different programmes. I am really interested in hearing your creative ways to share and connect! 

Robert Coelen, NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands

As part of strengthening our IaH, we felt we needed to give our staff the opportunity to better understand the impact of an experience abroad first hand, whilst at the same time enhance their enthusiasm for opportunities we provide our students in the form of international inter-campus mobility. A qualitative approach yielded much insight into what they gained from the experience and how we might better prepare them. Part of these insights gained have been translated into substantial week-long intercampus conferences, where we work on jointly developing our education. These conferences have attracted up to about 70 participants from all campuses. Our education, you might say, is being developed with what we call primary internationalisation of the curriculum, where colleagues from different geographic locations, and various cultural backgrounds jointly enhance the curriculum. The result is a curriculum that can be used under variable cultural and national conditions.

Online collaborative learning

Punita Lumb, Centennial College, Canada

I’m writing from Toronto, Canada where Internationalisaation at Home (IaH) in the community college system is still relatively new. I’m happy to say that we’re currently working on an IaH initiative that includes digital citizenship through various online platforms to connect our classes to other learning institutions globally. Currently, we’re working with interested faculty to identify potential internationalisation outcomes in their courses and then identifying potential global partner classes. We then host sessions using technology to connect the two or more classes. So far, we’ve participated in over ten real time, live classes with over five countries during which students have discussed social topics like consumption and waste, sexual harassment in the workplace, racism and so on. We are now examining asynchronous ways classes can connect over a longer term for deeper learning opportunities through a sustained dialogue over the term of the course. I’m looking forward to further opportunities to connect our faculty and students with global learning opportunities at home. I’m also looking forward to reading about what other institutions are doing.

Hans Hasselt, Saxion University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands

Greetings from sunny and warm, Deventer, the Netherlands! Recently I have been experiementing with online collaboration between groups of students from KIST (Rwanda) and our students here at Saxion UAS. We offered them two different assignments, one about entrepreneurship in Kigali and one about climate change measures in The Netherlands. To be able to present interesting opportunities for another society, students need to obtain information about the other country and culture. For that they depend on the other local group of students. While the collaboration only consisted of assignments, an introduction, some milestones for midterm reviews and final presentation, the students organised their informal communication and knowledge transfer themselves. Although many 'incidents' occured in the colloboration process, the students learned to understand that these were meaningfull learning opportunities and solved many of them. The best part was seeing the students' motivation to contribute to the other society and really get to know other people and their culture. I (finally) found a simple and motivating way for students to make small steps (eg 6 EC)  in internationalisation, while still being at home.