EAIE 2023: key insights for Internationalisation at Home

Are you looking for practical insights for Internationalisation at Home (IaH)? During a Nuffic Connects session on the EAIE, 6 take-aways for successful implementation were shared.
studenten Hogeschool Utrecht werken samen op laptop

In September, representatives from the international higher education community gathered in Rotterdam for the EAIE Conference and Exhibition to discuss internationalisation. What did they take home?

1. Defining “internationalisation” requires a continuous dialogue

While you might understand it in one way, for example from a perspective of policy, colleagues from different departments might be employing a didactic approach. Moreover, students' experience of IaH can differ greatly as well. For effective internationalisation within your institution, a dialogue between disciplines could be very fruitful.

Another takeaway on defining concepts was the relation between inclusion and internationalisation. Most policies do mention both, but do not always explain how they are linked. It is worthwhile to investigate local diversity and not solely focus on how to include international students.

2. Invest in a Community of Practice

Organizing a Community of Practice creates a network for sharing ideas, and helps you find peers within and beyond your institution. This way of collaborating is also suitable for setting up professionalization in IaH. Helping others get started and getting advice based on other’s expertise, as well as giving recognition to those who pioneer, is the first step towards organizing a movement.

IaH needs to start bottom-up and be integrated; just listing off projects is not enough. This also includes linking initiatives that result in internationalisation of the curriculum: for example, an international office might unknowingly be working on the same topic as a green office, and therefore miss opportunities.

3. Get your stakeholders on board: look beyond the ‘usual suspects’

Besides involving peers from your network, it is important to engage other parties for implementing IaH. Several tools were shared that help you decide on an approach for these stakeholders. What links them is the focus on finding what incentive a stakeholder needs: what makes IaH of added value to them, what do they gain from it? An example that demonstrates these benefits is Nuffic’s model of international competences for teachers, which establishes a connection between international activities and professional development.

"Internationalisation at Home needs to start bottom-up and be integrated"

The IaH stakeholder matrix features descriptions of possible stakeholders in IaH in higher education. The Hero’s Journey is a model that maps the stages that a person or organisation goes through when faced with a new development. Knowing that your idea will ‘shake up their ordinary life’, makes you consider a small first step and look for a favourable wind. In December Nuffic will organize a webinar on this model and its uses for implementing IaH.

4. Gaining international competencies is for everyone

Whilst discussing examples of projects for students, it was noted by attendees that gaining international competencies is sometimes only available outside of the regular curriculum. This makes us wonder to what extent internationalisation is supported throughout our institutions. It also shows that IaH is worth investing in, and that we need to work on providing teachers the right tools to give both themselves and their students international skills.

5. COIL projects can be further finetuned

COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning)* has become a prominent topic at EAIE and conference attendees made use of this when looking for potential partners. As we are getting used to working with COIL, a subsequent step is improving the projects we design. For example, while we seek to prepare students to be able to work from home, anywhere, with anyone, guidance is still required. It is often assumed that students can just seamlessly work online, but this is not always the case. It was therefore suggested to investigate transversal skills as an end goal.

Similarly, effective projects are based on ‘what works’: applying insights from research on COIL. For example, Johnson & Johnson found that students are only truly collaborative when they trust each other. Another example is the research of Sjølie et al. which showed the importance of building in reflection in the assignments.

Interested in discussing IaH further? Please contact Anouk Vermeulen, projectmanager IaH in higher education (a.vermeulen@nuffic.nl).

*In this article the terminology of COIL was chosen. In Dutch higher education VIS (Virtueel Internationaal Samenwerken) is subsidized by the Dutch ministery of education (OCW).