September 28, 2009, by Teaching at Nottingham

Reciprocity: learning from the international experience.

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Chris Ennew, NUBS: “I think the reciprocity thing operates at a number of different levels, so we could talk about a very macro institutional level, that as an institution, we get to learn a lot more about some of the challenges of operating in different environments, and in turn, we offer insights into our ways of organisation, of management and insights in to our pedagogy. But I think the, you know, if you like, the more general point about reciprocity, which relates, not just to having international campuses but actually also to having international students, in whatever location, it’s about what you learn from them and what you’re able to give in return. And, you know, I think both consciously and unconsciously, I’ve learned a lot from my students. You know, either because they’ve consciously been keen to help me understand their country, their society, their universities and how they work, or just subconsciously because they’ve made me stop and reflect on my own views and perspectives.”

Dariusz Wanatowski, Faculty of Engineering: “For education, in general, I think definitely, it’s also good, because students, they can also learn other cultures so I think, that’s the main benefit of that. And I think that’s the also reason why some students want to go to overseas universities for exchange. Not only to, to study the subject but also, or, maybe first of all, to experience other cultures. I think that definitely, that definitely helps British students, and also international students.”

Nicola Pitchford, School of Psychology: “Their focus was on learning from myself and my colleague co-delivering the course, finding our opinions on things, what did we think about this, what did we think about that. That wouldn’t work here because of X, Y and Z. I learned a lot about the Malaysian education system which I knew nothing about before I went out there.

“They were wanting to know why and they were wanting to have the evidence base to be able to go back to their school principals and you know, back to their school authorities and say, ‘Look’, you know, ‘there is actually in western research, there’s actually a very, very strong evidence base for this and you need to take this very seriously’.”

Martin Binks, NUBS: “I think the extent to which learning is valued, and education is valued, and respected, varies significantly between different cultures, and countries, and the position they’re in both in terms of the level of economic development and the distribution of income within their country, and so I think that therefore it does… Those differences are very important to understand, and I think students learn from each other in both directions

“So I think a lot of international students coming here will start to adopt, or may start to adopt, some of the… almost through peer pressure, some of the ‘western’ characteristics that they see around them. But, similarly, in the opposite direction I think sometimes some of the western students slowly start to realise that not all the world thinks in the same way that they do, and also that their values may be… you know, maybe they should question their values in terms of what they care about and what they find rewarding because I think the sort of, the stereotypical western consumerism can often look quite shallow when you put that next to some of the more deeply held beliefs that come from other cultures. So I think it cuts both ways really.”

Chris Barnatt, NUBS: “I think we’re now getting to the point where we start to get some of the benefit because the scale of the overseas campuses is growing up, they’ve been in place long enough to start building some of their own sort of heritage and values and that we’ve got exchange in both directions.”

Christopher Barnatt
Nottingham University Business School
Martin Binks
Nottingham University Business School
Chris Ennew
Nottingham University Business School
Nicola Pitchford
School of Psychology
Dariusz Wanatowski
Department of Civil Engineering

Extracts from interviews with staff and students about experiences of internationalisation. This video was originally published as part of PESL’s Learning from internationalisation collection. Produced November 2009.

Posted in Internationalisation