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Student Mobility and Internationalisation

Rationales, Rhetoric and 'Institutional Isomorphism'

Vered Amit

Drawing on interviews with Canadian and Australian officials, this article examines the frame of student mobility within the broad discourse of internationalisation. Difficulties in definition and admitted shortfalls in achieving progress even on the more easily articulated benchmarks of student mobility, do not seem to staunch the enthusiasm of a variety of officials for the idea of internationalisation. This article will examine some of the contradictions framing these institutional discourses of internationalisation. These include the gaps between institutional claims and their substantiation, between lauding the internationalism inculcated by student mobility programmes and the more mixed motivations or engagements of student clients, and between claims for the entrepreneurial potential of internationalisation as against the uncertainty of its outcomes. I argue that a long-standing Western view of travel as a vehicle for self-cultivation and transformation combined with competitive efforts to keep up with perceived trends in the fields of post-secondary education are producing a momentum that is elusive even as it threatens to bulldoze its way across important institutional practices and procedures.

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Vered Amit and Noel Dyck

This special issue reports the findings of a research team of senior anthropologists, Vered Amit and Noel Dyck, and three graduate research assistants, Heather Barnick, Meghan Gilgunn, and Kathleen Rice, collaboratively investigating the workings of policies on the movements of student and youth from Canada. Specifically our focus is on three different types of movement: international student exchanges, working holidays, and international athletic scholarships. While our focus is on movement out of Canada, these are, to say the least, forms of mobility that have their analogues, sometimes on a much larger scale, in many other affluent industrial countries.