International Student Engagement in Higher Education Essay - Essay Prowess

International Student Engagement in Higher Education Essay

International Student Engagement in Higher Education Essay


International Student Engagement in Higher Education


Engaging international students in higher not only enhances diversity in education, but also makes learning interesting. The engagement of international students breaks the barriers in higher education that have impact on contemporary lifestyles. For instance, it eliminates unethical issues including racial and cultural diversity. Moreover, it globalizes education by enabling students to interact irrespective of their location in the world. Practically, it enhances exchange of ideas thus making learning easier and interactive. Therefore, the engagement of international students in higher education can assist learners to compare their curriculum with other curriculums offered globally. This way, the learners can help their institutions improve education in higher learning institutions (Heale, Pawson & Solem, 2010). 

Literature Review

Coates (2005) indicates that the extent to which students are engaged determines the quality of learning in higher learning institutions. He further states that students perceive higher education as a way of realizing their attachment to the external world. Students take the engagement process as a challenge to determine their level of education. In most cases, students value the engagement process as something essential in their lives in the higher learning institutions. On the other hand, Turner (2008) explains that friendship networks enable international students to cope with stress. Students with more social support tend to excel in their higher education studies as compared to the isolated students. Turner states that students undertaking their higher education studies tend to appreciate the making friendship networks with students from other countries more than they do with students from their host country.

One of the challenges to the engagement of international students in higher learning institutions is the perception of being the minority in an institution dominated by students from one country. Moreover, adapting to customs of the host nation is difficult to many international students since they may not get enough social support by the majority group from the host nation. As a result, the students are likely to feel isolated and learning in different environment from their homeland. In turn, this may reduce their participation in vital activities that contribute to learning and personal development in the higher learning institutions. For this reason, they neglect the social element of the higher learning and concentrate on academic achievement. On the contrary, higher learning is not about academic achievement alone. Higher learning should involve wholesome development of the learners (Jones, 2010).  

Description of the Research Problem

Engagement of international students is an essential element of higher education learning for international students. It gives them the opportunity to feel appreciated by other learners from the host nation. Involving international students portrays commitment to pluralism in all its forms, and thus enhancing the establishment and coexistence of sub-communities. Moreover, it permits the students to identify themselves as valuable members of the community and receive support from people like themselves. However, the effectiveness of their engagement in the higher learning institutions is questionable (Harper & Quaye, 2009). 

In some cases, there is racial discrimination in higher learning institutions which is a major setback to the efforts of engaging the international students. Despite worldwide efforts to condemn discrimination in learning institutions, some institutions are plagued by different forms of discrimination. Congregating students from different parts of the world does not necessarily indicate that they are interacting. Therefore, the development of a better framework for the interaction of international students with the students from the host nation can make there learning experience better (Jones, 2010). 


International students are an essential element of higher learning institutions. The international students create diversity in the institutions making the institutions look more like the modern communities. For this reason, the role played by the international students cannot be overlooked since it demonstrates the commitment of the institutions to globalize education. However, the extent to which engagement of the students by the institutions and host nation students support the engagement programs is wanting in most of these institutions. Therefore, it can be hypothesized that most higher learning institutions do not fully support the engagement of international students (Jones, 2010). 

Population and Sample

The research will sample students from 4 higher learning institutions with international students. A randomized sampling procedure is appropriate for this research since it can eliminate biases towards particular views on the engagement of international students. Due to the randomized method of sampling, the research will sample even students from the host nation. This is important because it gives the views of the host nation students on the engagement of the international students. The sampled population will be categorized into two groups. The first group will comprise of the engaged students while the second group will comprise of the isolated or unengaged students. In the two groups, the engaged students will be considered as the independent variable while the unengaged students will be taken as the dependent variable. All the factors that make students engaged will be considered as the control data (Blanche, Durrheim & Painter, 2006).

Research Design

The experimental design is the most appropriate for this research, where all the sampled population will be assigned to the two groups randomly. The research is a randomized experiment making the experimental designs more effective. For this reason, the research has pre and post experiments which make the experimental design more appropriate. Moreover, causal and intervention measures are well structured in this research making the application of the experimental design easier. The research can be able to determine other control factors since it is divided into two major groups, in which one group has some factors which are that portrayed by the other group. The two groups have statistical similarities preventing biases. Experimental design uses both qualitative and quantitative data to devise causal and intervention measures. However, this may consume a lot of time to get the ultimate solutions to the research problem (Ryan, 2007).

Data Collection Instrument and Administration

            The research will measure the experiences of higher education students in their institutions.  One of the experiences to be measured is the involvement of the international students in the institution’s activities in an out of their classrooms. The second value to be measure is their reading and writing. Thirdly, the research will assess the involvement of the international students in special educational programs. These education programs include internships, industrial attachments, workshops, seminars, and senior capstone courses. Fourthly, the research will evaluate the campus environment especially the quality of relationships of the students with peers, faculty members, and administrators.  Finally, the research will evaluate the students’ satisfaction with academic. In addition, the students will be asked to estimate their personal, educational, and social growth (Blanche, Durrheim & Painter, 2006). 

Data Analysis

            A correlational statistical analysis will be appropriate for the analysis of the data obtained from the research. It explores the relationship between the related variables. The relation of the variables can help the researcher to comprehend the causal factors thus develop intervention measures. Correlation can assist the researcher to determine how the social elements of the higher education can affect the academic performance of the international students. Moreover, using the method, the surveyor can determine how other factors relate to each other. For instance, factors such as internships, industrial attachments, workshops, seminars, and senior capstone courses can be analyzed correlatively to determine how they impact on each other. Rating scales can provide the quantitative part of the correlation the collected data. A correlation coefficient is used a factor that determines the strength of the relationship (Blanche, Durrheim & Painter, 2006). 


            The internal validity of the research may be compromised by the accuracy of the responses given by the sampled students. For instance, the some students may have negative attitudes towards their learning institutions. Therefore, the students may give biased responses to express their discontent with the institutions. The surveyor should thus show the students that he research is only meant to improve their life in school and not otherwise. The internal validity of the research an also be affected by the environment where the research is conducted (Robinson & Taylor, 2014). If the research is conducted without considering the privacy of the students then the students’ responses may not be accurate (Blanche, Durrheim & Painter, 2006). 

            The external validity of the research can be compromised by the methods used in the whole research. Therefore, results of the research must be presented in forms that can be substantiated. This way, the findings of the research can be adopted by adopted by relent institutions. For this reason, the quality of the research methods and procedures will play a vital role in their adoptability.


Blanche, M. J., Durrheim, K., & Painter, D. (2006). Research in practice: applied methods for the social sciences (2nd ed.). Cape Town: UCT Press.

Coates, H. (2005). The value of student engagement for higher education quality assurance. Quality in Higher Education, 11 (1): 25-36.

Harper, S., & Quaye, S. (2009). Student engagement in higher education. New York, NY: Routledge.

Healey, M., Pawson, E., & Solem, M. (2010). Active learning and student engagement. London: Routledge.

Jones, E. (2010). Internationalisation and the student voice. New York: Routledge.

Robinson, C., & Taylor, C. (2014). Ethics and student engagement: Exploring practices in Higher Education.Student Engagement And Experience Journal3(2). doi:10.7190/seej.v3i2.107

Ryan, T. P. (2007). Modern experimental design. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley-Interscience.

Turner, Y. (2008). Culture and Pedagogy: international students and inclusive practices in local HE classrooms.

Zhao, C., Kuh, G., & Carini, R. (2005). A Comparison of International Student and American Student Engagement in Effective Educational Practices. The Journal Of Higher Education76(2), 209-231. doi:10.1353/jhe.2005.0018

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