ESDI - EStrategia De Internacionalización

The global context & Internationalization of Higher Education as a process

The globalization phenomenon affects not only the economy and the trade, but also the institutions of higher education (HEIs). The international contacts of the HEIs increased in the last years quickly and become more and more complex. International oriented training programs require at present the incorporation of a complete variety of internationalization elements, such as: conferences in foreign languages, exchange of students and personnel, the introduction of a system of credit transfer, visiting lecturers and scientists and the like. In consequence, a suitable and efficient infrastructure to further internationalization aspects leading to an international campus is necessary.

At world-wide level the HEIs work under an increasing economic pressure. This affects of course all the processes, duties and tasks and very often especially those related to the internationalization process of a university. Because of decreasing economic resources the necessity to institute efficient processes becomes even more important. A suitable infrastructure, in terms of employees and equipment, is the base to generate successful efforts and results of high international level.

Without any doubt, internationalization at the moment belongs to the top priorities of the agenda of HEIs, not only in the German discussions. Commonly it is considered to be a powerful answer to the question of how to respond suitably to a fast and radically changing environment that is characterized by an increasing competition.

Thus internationalization has begun to move from a more peripheral and individual angle to a totally institutionalized activity that incorporates the university leaders. This change of attention and key participants happens along with a necessity to develop a strategy of internationalization of institutions, causing thus also a shift of paradigm in the processes of daily work of all the units that take care of international subjects.

Individually oriented processes of work and the existing group of activities must be connected, professionalized and transformed into processes and activities that foment the institutional strategy. To this matter, it is essential to develop a procedures manual, for each International Office, in order to provide written protocols, guidelines and expectations of performance in the area of internationalization allowing for target agreements.

The development of a procedures manual and the respective strategies, including the alignment of activities, cannot be realized successfully by means of a single step, but they need a careful planning, implementation and evaluation with feedback bows (descendent and ascending) and adaptations over a certain period of time.

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