Enabling students to articulate connections between their international learning experiences in their degree and their professional selves upon graduation
Thursday 4 July: Conference day two, 10:30am – 11:00am parallel session
Room 7 – 301-G053 Med Chem
Dr Beate Mueller
University of Technology Sydney, Australia
Incorporating international learning opportunities in Higher Education degrees has gained momentum in recent years as universities seek to prepare students for increasingly globalised careers upon graduation. The international options are diverse and can include students completing a program of study at a partner university, engaging in field work, or taking up an internship or practicum. Beyond the specific disciplinary knowledge contained in such programs, graduate capabilities around global engagement and employability skills such as intercultural understandings and communication skills are generally also assumed to be enhanced through students’ participation in the international program. However, there are growing calls in the research literature to acknowledge that students also need support to reflect on their international experiences in order to make clear such newly enhanced skills. Without an explicit program surrounding the international experience, many students can struggle to identify and articulate their attributes and skills to future employers. Through well-designed pre-departure and return programs and reflection tasks, students can be supported to develop strategies to develop these employability skills.
This presentation outlines a research project with the aim to understand the kinds of challenges students face to connect their international experiences with their future professional selves and the kinds of interventions academics can design to support these students. The experiences of students from a range of disciplinary backgrounds who had completed a learning abroad program were collected. Interviews focussed on what they found most challenging in identifying the relevance of the international program and broader employability skills, and the strategies they used to do this. In addition, samples of students’ articulations of their professionally relevant skills were also examined to interrogate the effectiveness of specific academic interventions. The presentation will be of interest to teaching academics and management engaged with incorporating international perspectives into the curriculum.
Students – Future Graduates