How to incorporate internationalisation into the curriculum?
How to incorporate internationalisation into the curriculum? By incorporating internationalisation into the curriculum, you safeguard the continuity and quality of international activities. However, how should you go about it? Nuffic, the Dutch organisation for internationalisation in education shares key conditions for doing this.
Key condition #1 | Let it be everyone’s responsibility, not just one department’s The most fervent advocates of internationalisation are usually the staff in the International Office, work placement abroad coordinators or highly enthusiastic teachers. The International Office handles international relations and often has no direct power over the curriculum, while curriculum developers are not always aware of exactly what internationalisation entails. To get internationalisation into the curriculum, try to involve all kinds of people: educationalists, teachers, students and management. In this way you will prevent promising international initiatives from fizzling out as well as endorsing the importance of internationalisation.
Key condition #2 | Avoid a box-ticking culture Make sure you find enthusiastic people and ensure a broad base of support. However, this can be easier said than done. Education is continually modernising and changing. Teachers are sometimes sceptical. Internationalisation is seen more as an obligation: a box they have to tick. Keep your main focus on what graduates need in order to launch a career in, for example, Amsterdam or Paris. What is the state of the job market in this dynamic and intercultural city? We should research how internationalisation can help to satisfy these needs as internationalisation will therefore become part of the solution rather than being seen as an extra problem to solve.
Key condition #3 | Start a dialogue The best way to start a dialogue is to spread the word and share your best practices with each other. Keep raising the subject, not to convince your colleagues per se but more to start a dialogue. As Johan Cruyff once said, ‘you only see it once you understand it’. Once you all recognise its importance together, support spreads like wildfire and it becomes embedded into the culture. Identify where the energy is. Avoid starting with your more resistant colleagues and find your ‘tribe’: people with similar international experience and/or enthusiasm.
Key condition #4 | Get involved with existing initiatives Incorporating internationalisation is all about looking at what you are already doing and considering how you could add an international component to it. Get involved in initiatives for related issues, such as the Sustainable Development Goals, Global Citizenship, inclusion and diversity. If you are organising guest lectures, consider whether you could invite international lecturers. If a study trip is organised, look for possibilities to go abroad. Start small, but think big.
Key condition #5 | Facilitate professionalisation Boost the teachers’ international competencies to ensure they are optimally capable of implementing internationalisation. Teachers can gain international skills in various locations and within various contexts. Both abroad and at home. This is a vital factor, as without internationally skilled lecturers, we won’t be able to train internationally skilled students.
Key condition #6 | Focus on an inclusive approach To many people, internationalisation means completing a work placement abroad, although it can be done in their own city or province. Internationalisation at home adds immense value thanks to its inclusive approach. All students have the opportunity to gain international experiences and skills. In the Netherlands for example, students of a Sport and Exercise programme organise sporting activities with migrants. It’s a win-win situation: young newcomers get to take part in society and students gain intercultural skills.
©Nuffic, May 2022 | Author: Danielle Scholtes, Project Manager, Nuffic