Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Director of International Affairs delivers paper on internationalisation at home


Director of International Affairs, Merle Hodges recently presented a paper on Internationalisation at Home (IaH) during the European Association of International Education (EAIE) conference, which was held in Spain.

The EAIE is a non-profit organisation whose main aim is the stimulation and facilitation of the internationalisation of higher education in Europe and the rest of the world.

IaH is a concept that is widely being discussed by higher education practitioners. It involves internationalising the curriculum to ensure that all students have an international experience, even if they never travel.

Hodges said the reality is that not all students will have the opportunity to travel while at university, but through IaH they can have an international experience.

Hodges, who was invited to the conference by an EAIE IaH Specialist, outlined four case studies in her paper, which showcased CPUT’s efforts on an Institutional, faculty, departmental, and individual level to internationalise the curriculum.

This included the Theewaterskloof Project, which sees Dutch and CPUT students working alongside one another in the community as well as the exchange programme between Malmo University and the Faculty of Informatics and Design.

Hodges also touched on research collaborations between students from The Hague University and students at the Mechanical Engineering Department.

She also outlined the efforts of Thandi Jiba, an International Relations Officer, who is assisting Chinese students with integration in local communities.

“Because of my presentation I was invited to the Special Interest Group (SIG), which is focusing on researching internationalisation at home,” said Hodges.

The CPUT Office of International Affairs is now planning to conduct research on this concept.

“The model I am proposing is a buddy system,” she said.

This system will see international and local students collaborating on various projects.

The interaction between students will then be analysed to determine if the students benefitted from the interaction.

Hodges said delegates were impressed with CPUT’s activities.

She was also invited to present the CPUT model at the South African Nordic (SANORD) conference, as an example of a North-North-South network at Rhodes University to International Directors.

As the newly elected Deputy President of the International Education Association of South Africa (IEASA) Hodges was tasked to promote the SA IaH initiatives, nationally and internationally in collaboration with the University of Cape Town’s Dr Loveness Kaunda, chair of the IEASA Directors forum.

By Candes Keating

Photograph: Director of International Affairs Merle Hodges

Written by CPUT News