As universities recruit more international students, they need to work out their media messaging about the benefits for local and national communities, as well as their campuses, the “Worldviews 2013” conference in Toronto heard.
Views differed as to whether universities should sell the economic benefits, or use the media to promote wider cultural and social advantages. Both could help or hinder the integration of international students.
Teboho Moja, clinical professor of higher education at New York University, said: “Media reporting of the economic benefits is over-emphasised.” The result was insufficient awareness of what international students could contribute.
This reflected attitudes within universities, which were not doing enough to promote integration both on campus and with their wider local communities, she told a session on “International Students and Campus Integration: Institutional strategies and media representations”.
In the United States, international student offices focused on practicalities such as visa issues, rather than intercultural learning, Moja said. Orientation programmes brought groups of international students together, but rarely involved domestic students.