Going Global: Is it really about education or something more? The geopolitics of higher education, World Class Universities, and international student experiences.



Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

In this episode, I talk with Dr Evgenia Likhovtseva-Quinn about her research on World Class Universities, BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) nations, the geopolitics of higher education, and international student recruitment amidst the COVID_19 pandemic.

Click HERE for Accessible Transcript

Evgenia has lived and studied all over the world, so it is perfectly natural that her passion for internationalization in higher education and global higher education administration would be cultivated by her own personal experiences as well as her formal education in philosophy and public policy and management. Evgenia’s PhD research centered around higher education policy and the status of World Class Universities in BRICS nations as well as her work in Trinity College Global Relations Office has continued to fuel her desire to engage in further research on the experiences of international students studying abroad.

We talk about our own personal experiences as international students, and how being an international student makes you look at the world through a different lens as you learn about the culture that you are immersed in. We talk about the things you learn about yourself, and about contributing positively to those other countries in some way, as well. We are all different but there are so many similarities and finding common ground is essential.  Being an international student changes your personality as you try to connect and get to know other people and adjust to your new culture and environment. The global growth that is achieved through international learning experiences are transformational for the student and highly beneficial for the universities who embrace them.

Evgenia talks about the prestige of World Class Universities and flaws within the world university ranking system that affect non-traditional colleges and universities (like BRICS).  She explains the concept of geopolitics of education and how it impacts the way in which international student recruitment is approached.  The cold war came up and the way that Russia reached out to other countries to recruit international students to come learn and return to their own countries post-cold war.  She says that building relationships, trust and partnerships with other countries is key to diversifying your student body.

We talk about processes of learning for international students and the stigma of the ‘validity’ of an education from fully online colleges and universities. She shares her experiences teaching and researching in China and how censorship in communist countries can be very challenging for international researchers because participants are monitored, not open to talking, or just repeat information that is already available on open source.  We discuss the challenges that international students faced when the pandemic hit and many were forced to leave their studies behind and return to their home country with their education and life on hold.  Some institutions handled it very well while others contributed to incredible heartache for international students and their families.  This brings up the importance of regional colleges and universities and their place in society and delivering high quality education regardless of whether they are listed as a World Class University or not.

A brilliant and fascinating conversation you don’t want to miss!  Come #ListenAndLearn

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