Students say they aren't integrating or developing language skills, despite studying abroad. Source: Shutterstock

Universities are not creating global graduates due to a lack of ‘internationalisation’ – defined as social and academic integration, communication and foreign language skills, or global skills and support – according to a new report.

The report, ‘The Internationalisation of Higher Education: Developing Global Graduates’, carried out by the University of Warwick, notes employers are increasingly demanding globally-aware graduates, but universities delivering on this.

“Higher education institutions currently rely on structural indicators to measure internationalisation, such as the numbers of international students and staff,” the report authors, Helen Spencer-Oatey and Daniel Dauber, write.

“Yet a diverse campus is not synonymous with an internationalised university and does not automatically create global graduates; it is a valuable pre-requisite but needs to be accompanied by integration and personal development opportunities.”

More needs to be done to encourage integration, study says. Source: Shutterstock

Students surveyed agreed with this sentiment, with one saying:

“There is no emphasis on intercultural skills in my course. There is plenty of recognition that we’ll be working in a global workplace/market but never on the skills needed.”

Out of the 2,360 students surveyed from six universities across the UK, Ireland, Belgium and Germany, 75 percent said ‘internationalisation’ was important or very important to them despite 50 percent saying they had not achieved this.

Asian students ranked internationalisation as of higher importance compared with domestic and EU students, as well as saying they experience the biggest difference between what they aspire to and what they experience.

Universities should be pushing students outside their comfort zones and engaging with difference in order to grow into ‘global graduates’, according to the study.

The study suggests universities should emphasise academic and social integration to foster meaningful internationalisation and create ‘global graduates’.

Universities are also encouraged to support staff in fostering integration across students from diverse backgrounds to aid internationalisation.

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