Document Type


Publication Title

Internationalization of Higher Education: The Dynamics of Educational Ecology (IHE)


Multilayered processes of globalization, in recent decades, have loosened higher education’s predominantly national frameworks and have embedded them in contexts that are “multiscalar” and “multisectoral”, captured by the ubiquitous term “internationalization”. Internationalization, seen to be a response by higher education institutions and systems to processes of globalization, is no longer a peripheral activity within higher education institutions but has come to guide the very logic of their functioning, affecting multiple areas of decision-making (Altbach & Knight, 2007). These “qualitative leaps” have altered the conceptualization of internationalization as a “gradual change” to a purposeful systematization and routinizing of the idea in universities, regardless of their capacities and levels of operation, thus foregrounding them to be simultaneously local, national, and international (Teichler, 2004). This reconceptualization of borders in turn casts the goals of internationalization, especially those concerning student learning and development outcomes – the focus of this chapter – increasingly in notions of “global citizenship”, acquisition of international, and intercultural competences (GII) (Soria & Troisi, 2014). These purported “ends” provide powerful leitmotifs for universities (but also ranking agencies) to articulate, foster, and incentivize internationalization energetically across areas of higher education functioning, such as teaching, research, collaborations, to name a few.Against this background, international student mobility, which I use to include both recruitment of international students and facilitation of international student exchange, has been a key “means” to implement and measure internationalization initiatives of universities. However, ever since the “internationalization at home” factor, following certain setbacks of the European experience, became a reality to contend with in the early 2000s,notions of “comprehensive internationalization”, “deep internationalization”, “transformative internationalization” are the new paradigms within which universities are compelled to not only “align rhetoric with practice” (de Wit & Leask, 2015)but also question the “sustainability” of such endeavours (Ilieva, Beck & Waterstone, 2014) (Wit, 2017) (Handa, 2018), making it imperative to integrate internationalization “into the ethos and key functions of higher education” (Hudzik, 2015).This chapter aims to develop the concept of “sustainability of internationalization”, which is still somewhat of a hazy term. Internationalization as concept and internationalization in practice, as I will argue, create “disjunctures” within the discursive and praxis contexts of internationalization. It is essential to critically examine the sites of these disjunctures so as to be better able to exploit the potential of internationalization for “good”, thereby making it “sustainable”. In the following sections, I seek to locate these disjunctures in the interlinked frameworks of i) Conceptualization of internationalization ii) Notions of global citizenship and iii) International student mobility. The chapter concludes with a discussion on the concept of “sustainability” and the potential of curriculum internationalization as a means to both mediate the disjunctures and enhance internationalization activities of universities.

Publication Date

Spring 3-1-2019