RESEARCH THESIS PROPOSAL
1. A field of study for the thesis
Internationalization at home and the intercultural competency development in higher education in China: How do domestic students develop their intercultural communicative competence (ICC) in the process of internationalization in higher education?
2. the context of the study
As stated above, this research will investigate how Chinese students develop their ICC in the internationalization process of higher education in China. More specifically, the approaches studied here are mainly the interaction and communication between home students and international students. Choosing this topic to study is a combination of reflection on previous studies and the current situation of higher education in China. In this part, I am going to introduce the general background of my study, via making a brief review on previous research that are closely related to this project.
Internationalization in higher education:
The term internationalization began to be used widely by higher educational sector in the 1980s to promote international studies, educational exchanges, and technical assistance (Klasek, 1992). Since then, there has been an explosion in the number and types of international initiatives undertaken by higher educational institutions, organizations, and governments (Knight, 2012, p. 27).
In the globalization process, higher education can no longer be viewed in a strictly national context (Zha, 2003), and “internationalization” has been one of the most critical factors shaping higher education in the last three decades (Knight, 2012). Looking back into the previous studies and reports, there are various reasons for arguing that internationalization becomes increasingly important in the higher educational sector in this globalizing world.
“Internationalization” is generally defined as increasing cross-board activities amidst persistence of borders. According to Rudzki (1995), the internationalization of higher education can be understood as “a defining feature of all universities, encompassing organizational change, curriculum innovation, staff development and student mobility, for the purposes of achieving excellence in teaching and research” (p. 421). This definition was considered as a combination of internationalization as a phenomenon with a conceptual model with which to analyze the process. It is further enhanced by the identification if activities in each of the four dimensions of the process, namely organizational change, curriculum innovation, staff development, and student mobility (Rudzki, 1995). In addition, Knight (2000) divided the concept of internationalization into “internationalization at home” and “cross-border education”. In a further development of the “at home” concept, Knight (2012) pointed out it was in fact “an intercultural and international dimension in the teaching/learning process, research, extracurricular activities, relationships with local cultural and ethnic community groups, and integration of foreign students and scholars into campus life and activities” (p. 34). His arguments and strategies indicated from this also highlighted the feasibility and importance of internationalizing higher education at home, with the intercultural education integrated in various dimensions.
This also suggests that internationalization of higher education involves different dimensions: Academic activities (e.g. student/faculty exchanges, curriculum, recruiting/ hosting international students) and organizational factors (policy statements, annual planning and review system) (Qiang, 2003). However, according to Zhang & Xu (2000), higher education in China is at a disadvantage in the internationalization process, since it has to “face more serious cultural conflicts and more intense competition for knowledge and qualified personnel than elsewhere” (p.101). That asked Chinese universities to become more receptive to outside...
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