Internationalization Process

More and more often mission statements of colleges in the US emphasize the importance of diversity, public and community service to national and international communities, as well as enabling their faculty and students to address the issues facing the nation and the world. Colleges place their strategic focus on innovation, diversification, and internationalization, and establish international centers and offices that provide invaluable help and support to the members of their international communities: students, scholars, and faculty coming from different countries and domestic students going to study abroad.
Major internationalization efforts of US colleges are the following:
  • creating more study abroad programs for domestic students;
  • recruiting more international students and actively searching for high school graduates with high mobility abroad;
  • creating support systems for international students and faculty (immigration support, cultural and language programs, etc.),
  • expanding collaboration with industrial firms and corporations to recruit faculty, and provide internship opportunities for the students;
  • actively forming partnerships with foreign universities.

Outbound: International Experiences for Domestic Students

Community colleges realize the need to prepare their students for today’s global society, and one of the most efficient ways of doing it is to provide the students with international exchange and study abroad opportunities, so that they could experience them first hand. This endeavor presents specific challenges for community college administrators and faculty: they need to make these programs accessible and affordable for their diverse students who often work, study part-time, and have families.
Here are some resources that could help community college leaders, administrators, and faculty to find answers to their questions about availability, challenges, and opportunities for study abroad programs and internationalization of education:

Community Colleges for International Development, Inc
The Center for Global Education
American Association of Community Colleges
California Colleges for International Education
California Community Colleges Study Abroad Opportunities
Hillsborough Community College: Internationalization of Education
Portland Community College: Internationalization Initiative
Diversity Abroad

Welcome the World
The growing presence of international students and internationalization of the system of education processes bring change to the higher education institutions in the US. As a result of international student population growth, more decisions in education and policy of education institutions are driven by economic, technological, and social changes resulting from globalization. US higher education institutions host 21 percent of all international students worldwide. According to the 2014 Brookings Institute report on international students in the US (Ruiz, 2014), the number of international students in the US increased from 110,000 in 2001 to 524,000 in 2012, with over 160,000 in language training programs and over 40,000 students earning an Associate’s degree in programs that community colleges are offering. According to the Open Doors press release, international student numbers are growing in 41 states across the US (2014).

Global Friends: International Community

Every year more international students are looking at community colleges as a starting point for their academic and career pursuits, because community colleges offer hospitable student-centered environment, are affordable, and provide an efficient segway for transitioning between different academic and cultural systems. International students appreciate the quality of higher education in the US, availability of versatile and specific disciplines, appeal of American culture and lifestyle, welcoming immigration and visa policies in the US, and opportunities to intern and work in their chosen field after graduation.
English has become a global economy language and a key mobility driver, with at least 750 million speakers worldwide. Studying English as a second language during secondary education years enables the students to consider higher education institutions in the English-speaking countries, ease the transition to the life and studies overseas, and helps cultural adjustment.
The most popular fields of study with international students are STEM and business fields, with two thirds of all international students pursuing their degree in those areas. The largest growing group of international students consists of students coming from the countries that are not members of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD (Ruiz, 2014). The majority of international students are coming to the US from South and East Asian countries with emerging market economies, primarily from China, India, and South Korea, with an increasing number of students coming from Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, Brazil, Iran, and Kuwait.
Resources consulted:
Bhandari, R., Blumenthal, P. (2011). Global student mobility and the twenty-first century Silk Road: National trends and new directions. In R. Bhandari & P. Blumenthal (Eds.), International students and global mobility in higher education: National trends and new directions. (pp. 1-25). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Goodman, A. E., Gutierrez, R. (2011). The international dimension of U.S. higher education: Trends and new perspectives. In R. Bhandari & P. Blumenthal (Eds.), International students and global mobility in higher education: National trends and new directions. (pp. 83-106). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Lasanowski, V. (2011). Can speak, will travel: the influence of language on global student mobility. In R. Bhandari & P. Blumenthal (Eds.), International students and global mobility in higher education: National trends and new directions. (pp. 193-209). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Open Doors. (2014). Press release: International students in the United States and study abroad by American students are at all-time high. Retrieved from Institute of International Education

Ruiz, N.G. (2014). The Geography of foreign students in US higher education: Origins and destinations. Retrieved from Brookings Institution

Spring, J. (2008). Research on globalization and education. Review of Educational Research, 78 (2), 330-363. doi: 10.3102/0034654308317846

Stromquist, N. P. (2007). Internationalization as a response to globalization: Radical shifts in university environments. Higher Education, 53, 81-105. doi: 10.1007/s10734-005-1975-5

Tubbeh, L., Williams, J. (2010). Framing issues of international education. New Directions for Higher Education, 150, 7-16. doi: 10.1002/he.386