Citizens of somewhere: How a cross-cultural discussion group offers opportunities for intercultural understanding
Increasing international student numbers in higher education institutions mean there is a need to address the challenges that these students face and make the most of the opportunities they bring. The internationalisation initiative ‘Conversation Club’ is a weekly discussion group for overseas and home students at London College of Communication (UAL), which is aimed at building community. This article discusses comments gathered from these student discussions alongside secondary research on the subject and explores the importance of an informal, out-of-classroom setting for providing an insight into student life that could be used to improve the experience of international students, while increasing home students’ intercultural competency.
internationalisation, intercultural competencies, inclusion, cultural stereotyping, silence, criticality
Sarah Macdonald taught English and the arts in further and higher education in Japan from 2003 until 2010 and has lived and worked in France and the United States. She is passionate about literature, cinema and social justice and is a practising writer. Before moving to Japan, she wrote and edited for various publications in London and Scotland. She has science and arts degrees from the University of Edinburgh and Birkbeck College and an MA in Creative and Life Writing from Goldsmiths. As an academic support lecturer at London College of Communication, in addition to facilitating Conversation Club, she collaborates with colleagues to run creative writing sessions, lunchtime academic skills workshops and embedded classes in the Screen School.
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