Barriers to Internationalisation at Home (IaH): Domestic students’ perspectives in high schools

Ms Manaia Chou-Lee1

1Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

To meet global, international, and intercultural dimensions when internationalising schools (IoS), educational practitioners are being asked to engage students in practices and discussions around social justice, diversity, and cultural practices. Internationalisation at home (IaH) is an important aspect of meeting these needs. The intentions underpinning these concepts (among others) are to form meaningful and purposeful intercultural connections between students as well as create interactive spaces where both domestic and international students can form positive relationships. However, research has indicated that, more often than not, surface-level interactions are occurring across diverse groups in schools which minimises the potential of a transformational experience for all students and consequently, limits positive experiences for international students.

As genuine reciprocity across intercultural interactions with diverse nationalities and cultures are critical to the process of IoS, this presentation provides insight into the barriers of IaH from the perspectives of domestic students themselves. Data has been drawn from focus groups and individual interviews, collected over a 3-year longitudinal study, from 31 domestic students in 5 secondary schools. Findings indicate that ingrained behaviour and actions as well as the curriculum – supported by political, economic, and social structures in schools and the community – limit meaningful discussions and genuine reciprocity between students. Addressing these barriers will be problematic; however, must be examined further in order for meaningful connections to occur as students transition beyond the secondary school context into the globalised world.

Manaia’s career in education – teaching, management and leadership – has spanned 25 years across New Zealand, Australia, Scotland and Japan. Currently, she is a recipient of a Postgraduate Research Scholarship completing a PhD on domestic students understanding of and engagement with internationalisation of schools (IoS) at Deakin University. She is also a sessional academic teaching international education papers within the Master of Teaching course. Being passionate about student voice, well-being and agency, she is a member of a transnational project team studying the connectedness with international students in Australian secondary schools as well as the convenor of ‘Children and Student Voice across all sectors’ for the Australian Association of Research in Education (AARE).

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