This project will explore ways to internationalise the student experience within their domestic learning environment
Nidhi Piplani Kapur is one of 14 students at South East Technological University (SETU) to be recently awarded the Irish Research Council (IRC) Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship.
Embedding a culture of internationalisation into the curriculum through ‘Internationalisation at home’- Preparation for the changing context of Higher Education in Ireland is the title of Nidhi Piplani Kapur’s research project supervised by Dr Don O’Neill and Dr Suzanne Denieffe, School of Humanities, and Dr Helen Murphy, School of Education and Lifelong Learning, SETU Waterford.
Internationalisation at Home
In Irish third level education, traditionally a small minority of students have benefited from an international mobility experience as part of their studies. This project will explore ways to internationalise the student experience through Internationalisation at Home (IaH), by integrating international and intercultural dimensions into the formal and informal curriculum for all students within their domestic learning environment.
The concept of IaH has been endorsed by global organisations such as the United Nations and the European Union. IaH will make internationalisation accessible for all students and particularly for those who are unable to benefit from an international mobility experience due to economic, physical, or personal circumstances. It will bridge skill deficits in graduates from Irish HEIs and build multicultural competencies required by the industry. In an Irish context, the focus of internationalisation has been largely concentrated on international student recruitment and student mobility. While IaH is referenced by the Department of Education and Skills in its International Education Strategy for Ireland (2016-2020), an examination of the literature and institutional websites reveals a lack of research in the area in an Irish Higher Education (HE) context.
First study in an Irish context
Nidhi’s research project Embedding a culture of internationalisation into the curriculum through ‘Internationalisation at home’- Preparation for the changing context of Higher Education in Ireland aims to address this gap and will draw on emerging international literature and models of international best practice from Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) where IaH has been successfully implemented. The project will also involve gathering data to ascertain how IaH is understood and represented in Irish HEIs.
This will be the first study in the area of IaH in an Irish HE context, the findings will represent a significant contribution to knowledge for Irish HEIs and serve to inform a framework for institutional strategy and national policy in relation to curriculum development in the Technological University sector and higher education in general. In addition, it is envisaged that the findings will be transferable to other countries where there is an interest in developing a culture of IaH.
Solving global and societal issues
Delighted by the news of securing this award, Nidhi said, “A journey of thousand miles begins with a single step. I can’t agree more with this Chinese proverb. Being a Non-EU student, taking this journey of thousand miles all the way from India, at the peak of my career in international education, it was extremely rewarding and reassuring to secure the IRC award in my first attempt. This reinforces the novelty and potential of the impact of such a project to positively contribute to developments in higher education in Ireland and the world. Truly grateful, particularly to my supervisors Dr Don O’Neill, Dr Helen Murphy, and Dr Suzanne Denieffe, for their unrelenting support, trust, and guidance.”
Nidhi brings a wealth of experience, with over a decade in academia. In India, she set up Symbiosis Centre for European Studies (SCES) focused on the Internationalisation of Higher Education (IoHE) initiatives with Europe at Symbiosis International (Deemed University), (SIU). She published and participated in international forums reflecting on Internationalisation in India and launched creative IaH initiatives that were India’s first-E-Academies; Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL), publications and Work from Home (WFH) international internships. She led teams for Annual IoHE conferences at SIU and recently worked with the World Bank on a project on IoHE.
Her understanding of the research area from both academic and administrative perspective along with a strong extensive network in IaH, is directly relevant to this research project. It will provide a strong basis on which to build new models in the Irish HE landscape and is particularly timely due to the evolving national strategy for internationalisation and the launch of SETU in 2022.