International Students’ Reflections on Employability Development Opportunities During a One-Year Masters-level Program in the UK
Keywords:internationalization, employability, international students, work-integrated learning, employment development opportunities
This article explores reflection and reflective thinking, drawing upon qualitative research on international students’ perceptions of developing their employability while studying in the UK. It addresses a gap in the literature by making a connection between internationalization and employability, concepts that are mainly framed as separate discursive realms. The literature on internationalization is focused around international student recruitment and the benefits to the host institution; the employability discourse is oriented towards national policies on the development of human capital through home students in the domestic market. The reflective thinking demonstrated by the international students illustrates the challenges they faced in seeking opportunities to enhance their employability within and outside the university; and to (re)assess learning opportunities that are integrated with work experience. The findings suggest that there is scope for embedding employment development opportunities (EDOs) at a systemic level in order to enhance the experience of international students.
Arambewela, R., & Maringe, F. (2012). Mind the gap: staff and postgraduate perceptions of student experience in higher education. Higher Education Review. 44(2), 63-84.
Archer, W. (2016). International taught postgraduate students: The UK’s competitive advantage. London: HE International Unit.
Barton, G. M., & Hartwig, K. (2017). The importance of positive intercultural exchanges for international students on work placements in higher education. In G. M. Barton & M. Ryan (Eds.), Professional learning in the workplace for international students: Exploring theory and practice, (pp. 3-12). Springer.
Barton, G. M., & Ryan, M. (2017). Reflection and reflective practice for international students and their supervisors in context. In G. M. Barton & K. Hartwig. (Eds.), Professional learning in the workplace for international students: Exploring theory and practice, (pp. 93-110). Springer.
Bennett, D., & Ferns, S. (2017). Functional and cognitive aspects of employability: implications for international students. In G. M. Barton & K. A. Hartwig. (Eds.), professional learning in the workplace for international students: Exploring theory and practice, (pp. 203-224). Springer.
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006) Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77–101.
Brookfield, S. (1987). Developing critical thinkers: Challenging adults to explore alternative ways of thinking and acting. Open University Press.
Dewey, J. (1933). How we think. Prometheus Books.
Durkin, K. (2008). The adaptation of East Asian master’s students to western norms of critical thinking and argumentation in the UK. Intercultural Education, 19, 15-27. https://doi.org/10.1080/14675980701852228
Fakunle, O. (2020) Developing a framework for international students’ rationales for studying abroad, beyond economic factors. Policy Futures in Education https://doi.org/10.1177/1478210320965066.
Fakunle, O. (2019a). International student perceptions on studying abroad and developing employability during a UK Masters (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). The University of Edinburgh.
Fakunle, O. (2019b). 18 June. Empowering the student voice in internationalisation. World Education News +Reviews.
Fakunle, L., Allison, P. & Fordyce, K. (2016). Chinese postgraduate students’ perspectives on developing critical thinking on a UK Education Masters. Journal of Curriculum and Teaching, 5(1), 27-38. http://dx.doi.org/10.5430/jctv5n1p27
Gillies D. (2015). Human capital theory in education. In: Peters M. (Ed.) Encyclopaedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-287-532-7_254-1
Goodwin, K., & Mbah, M. (2019). Enhancing the work placement experience of international students: towards a support framework, Journal of Further and Higher Education, 43(4), 521-532.
Gribble, C., Blackmore, J., & Rahimi, M. (2015). Challenges to providing work integrated learning to international business students at Australian universities. Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, 5(4), 401-416.
Kingston, E. & Forland, H. (2008). Bridging the gap in expectations between international students and academic staff. Journal of Studies in International Education, 12, 204–221.
Huang, R., Turner, R. & Chen, Q. (2014). Chinese international students’ perspective and strategies in preparing for their future employability. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 66(2), 175-193.
Hillage, J. & Pollard, E. (1998). Employability: Developing a framework for policy analysis. Department for Education and Employment.
ICEF Monitor (2019). Stealth applicants and the role of the institutional website. https://monitor.icef.com/2019/10/stealth-applicants-and-the-role-of-the-institutional-website/.
Lacina, J. G. (2002). Preparing international students for a successful social experience in higher education. New Directions for Higher Education 117, (1), 21-27.
Lomer, S. (2018). UK policy discourses and international student mobility: The deterrence and subjectification of international students. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 16(3), 308-324. https://doi.org/10.1080/14767724.2017.1414584
Marginson, S. (2012). Including the other: Regulation of the human rights of mobile students in a nation-bound world. Higher Education 63, 497-512.
Maxwell, J. A. (2013). Qualitative research design: An interactive approach. Los Angeles: Sage.
Nilsson, P. A., & Ripmeester, N. (2016). International student expectations: career opportunities and employability. Journal of International Students, 6(2), 614-631.
O’Sullivan, M. & Guo, L. (2010). Critical thinking and Chinese international students: An East-West dialogue. Journal of Contemporary Issues in Education, 5, 53-73.
Page, A. G. & Chahboun, S. (2019). Emerging empowerment of international students: How international student literature has shifted to include the students’ voices. Higher Education, 78(5), 871-885. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-019-00375-7
Rodgers, C. (2002). Defining reflection: Another look at John Dewey and reflective thinking. Teachers College Record, 104(4), 842–866.
Tian, J. & Low, G. D. (2011). Critical thinking and Chinese university students: A review of the evidence. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 24(1), 61-76. https://doi.org/10.1080/07908318.2010.546400
Tomlinson, M. (2008). ‘The degree is not enough’: Students’ perceptions of the role of higher education credentials for graduate work and employability. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 29(1), 49–61. https://doi.org/10.1080/01425690701737457
Tran, L. T. (2008). Unpacking academic requirements: international students in management and education disciplines. Higher Education Research and Development, 27(3), 245-256. https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360802183804
Tran, L. T. & Soejatminah, S. (2017). Integration of work experience and learning for international students: From harmony to inequality. Journal of Studies in International Education, 21(3), 261-277. doi: 10.1177/1028315316687012
Tymon, A. (2013). The student perspective on employability. Studies in Higher Education, 38(6), 841-856. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2011.604408
Yorke, M. (2004). Employability in the undergraduate curriculum: some student perspectives. European Journal of Education, 39(4), 409-427. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1465-3435.2004.00194.x
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of International Students
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
All published articles are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 Unported License.