Internationalising support services

For a university to be considered an international university it is key that internationalisation is integrated throughout the university, at all levels, including support services.

Workshops online in internationalisation for administrative staff at partner universities - virtual exchange

No sessions planned for 2023.

Digital poster "Internationalising support services"

Support services - part of the curriculum

When discussing the internationalisation of the curriculum, we refer to the different aspects of a student’s journey during their time at university involving both the informal and the formal curriculum. The support services at a university are a key element in the student’s journey, therefore, the importance of involving them and learning from their expertise is a crucial factor in the success of integrating internationalisation into the curriculum of a university.

SUCTI-training in Tarragona, Spain
SUCTI-training in Tarragona, Spain Photo: Emma Hägg

“Systemic University Change Towards Internationalization” (SUCTI)

In 2016, an Erasmus+ Strategic Project, called “Systemic University Change Towards Internationalization” (SUCTI), was set up to examine what tools, if any, are available for the involvement of the administrative staff into the process of internationalisation. The findings of the SUCTI project, presented in 2019, confirmed that the involvement of the administrative staff is crucial for internationalisation to be fully integrated into campus activities, both inside and outside the classrooms, but also showed the lack of available training or resources in this area. Following these finding the consortium created a set of interactive workshops, where support staff from a university could be trained to develop workshops on how to internationalise their colleagues.

Bringing the training to KI

Parts of the IoC-team (Emma Hägg and Karen Gustafsson) participated in the pilot version of the first SUCTI-training in October 2019 in Tarragona, Spain. After the SUCTI-training in Tarragona a workshop was adapted to the KI-audience with both theoretical and interactive elements. The training for KI-staff was split into two mornings covering the following subject areas:

  1. What is internationalisation?
  2. Who are our students and your collagues?
  3. Elements of cultural competence
  4. Available tools and resources
  5. How can you, the support services, contribute to Internationalisation of your university?

After a successful first iteration in November 2019, the workshop was again held twice in the Spring 2020 both classroom and virtual involving approximately 45 members of staff. Another six workshops were held later in 2020 and two more in 2021.

Great to get internationalisation defined, to clearly show how internationalisation is "funneled down" from Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to us on the floor.

Participant in pilot Nov 2019 (authors transl.)

I think you have a good starting point - to let the participants reflect on their own approach.

Participant in pilot Nov 2019 (authors transl.)

Sharing best practises and taking it further...

The training in 2020 has been carried out within the IoC-project but as this STINT-project finishes by the beginning of 2021 the training needs to be evaluated. KI management needs to decide weather they would like to develop the course further and formally place it within the professional development scheme for administrative staff. The training fits very well with the goals of KI Strategy 2030 and the reactions by the participants so far have been very positive.

By the summer 2020 the course has been partially moved onto Canvas, where it could be further developed into a blended learning course. On a learning platform it also becomes more  accessible for KI-staff but also easier to share with partners.

"Internationalising support services" was presented though a digital poster on the NU-conference 7-9 October 2020. It has also been presented in a national network for HEI International Offices (UNSI) where a possible future collaboration has been discussed. The project has also inspired a new initiative on the same theme which as resulted in a joint project with colleagues in the Philippines with the support of a STINT Initiation Grant. This new project SiiUss will be initiated during 2021.


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Emma Hägg

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Emma Hägg