Two sides of the same coin? Internationalisation and employability - students’ perceptions of employability and career outcomes from International Studies

Keywords: employability, international studies, language learning, student perceptions, study abroad

Abstract

The Australian higher education sector has promoted internationalisation opportunities for students, including through international studies (IS) courses that entail language and culture study and international exchange. Educators promote internationalisation for many reasons, including enhanced employability, and international studies degrees are increasingly offered in combination with professional courses. Students, however, do not necessarily share in the belief that international opportunities and language study will increase their employability. A thematic analysis of statements (n=223) supplied on student applications to withdraw from combined international studies courses in favour of single professional degrees, reveals that students fail to see employability benefits and may even perceive their international studies course as a professional liability. Understanding these beliefs can allow educators to more effectively promote the value of not only international studies degrees, but also language and culture study and exchange opportunities, and to counter some of the myths that prevent students from undertaking international opportunities.

Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Author Biographies

Beate Mueller, University of Technology Sydney, Australia

Lecturer in International Studies, School of International Studies and Education, University of Technology Sydney

Julie Robert, University of Technology Sydney, Australia
School of International Studies and Education, University of Technology Sydney

References

Accenture (2014). What awaits 2014 grads in the working world? Retrieved from https://www.accenture.com/in-en/~/media/Accenture/Conversion-Assets/DotCom/Documents/Global/PDF/Strategy_3/Accenture-2014-College-Graduates-Survey-Infographic.pdf

Arcidiacono, P., Hotz, V., & Kang, S. (2012). Modelling college major choices using elicited measures of expectations and counterfactuals. Journal of Econometrics, 166(1), 3–16. https://doi:2010.1016/j.jeconom.2011.06.002

Asia Education Foundation (2014). Senior secondary languages education research project. Asia Education Foundation. https://docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/senior_secondary_languages_education_research_project_final.pdf

Australian Education International. (2010). International graduate outcomes and employer perceptions. Australian Government Department of Education and Training.

Australian Graduate Outcome Survey. (2016). Impact of study abroad. Australian Government Department of Education and Training.

Baik, C., Naylor, R., & Arkoudis, S. (2015). The first year experience in Australian universities: Findings from two decades, 1994-2014. Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education. The University of Melbourne.

Baldry, S., Märtsin, M., & Eivers, A. (2018). Traveling without a destination? A dialogical analysis of professional identity construction among Australian double degree psychology students. Identity, 18(2), 94–108. https://doi.org/10.1080/15283488.2018.1447483

Bird, A., & Stevens, M. J. (2013). Assessing global leadership competencies. In M. E. Mendenhall., J. Osland, A. Bird, G.R. Oddou, M. J. Stevens, M. Maznevski, &G. K. Stahl (Eds.). Global leadership: Research, practice, and development (pp. 113-139). NY: Routledge.

Boyatzis, R. E. (1998). Transforming qualitative information: Thematic analysis and code development. 2nd ed. USA: SAGE.

Bridgstock, R. (2016). Graduate employability 2.0: Social networks for learning. Discussion Paper. http://www.graduateemployability2-0.com/resources/articles

British Council. (2017). Broadening Horizons 2017: Addressing the needs of a new generation. https://www.britishcouncil.org/education-intelligence.

Campbell, E., & Storch, N. (2011).The changing face of motivation: A study of second language learners’ motivation over time. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, 34(2), 166–92. https://doi.org/10.1075/aral.34.2.03cam

Cardwell, P. J. (2019). Does studying abroad help academic achievement? European Journal of Higher Education, 10(2), 147–163. https://doi:2010.1080/21568235.2019.1573695

Clarke, M. (2018). Rethinking graduate employability: The role of capital, individual attributes and context. Studies in Higher Education, 43(11), 1923–37. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03075079.2017.1294152

Crossman, J.E., & Clarke, M. (2010). International experience and graduate employability: Stakeholder perceptions on the connection. Higher Education, 59, 599–613. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10734-009-9268-z

Culver, S. M., Puri, I. K., Spinelli, G., DePauw, K.P., & Dooley, J. E. (2011). Collaborative dual-degree programs and value added for students: Lessons learned through the evaluate-e project. Journal of Studies in International Education, 16(1), 40–61. https://doi:2010.1177/1028315311403934

Cushner, K., & Karim, A. (2004). Study abroad at the university level. In D. Landis, J.M. Bennett, & M.J. Bennett (Eds.), Handbook of Intercultural Training, (pp. 289–308). California: Sage.

Daly, A.J. (2011). Determinants of participating in Australian university student exchange programmes. Journal of Research in International Education, 10(1), 58–70.

Daly A. J., & Barker M.C. (2005). Australian and New Zealand university students’ participation in international exchange programs. Journal of Studies in International Education, 9(1), 26–41.

Daniels, L., Stewart, T., Stupnisky, T.R., Perry, R., & LoVerso, T. (2011). Relieving career anxiety and indecision: The role of undergraduate students’ perceived control and faculty affiliations. Social Psychology of Education, 14(3), 409–426.

Department of Education, Employment & Training. (2019). Research snapshot. International mobility of Australian university students. https://internationaleducation.gov.au/research/research-snapshots/pages/default.aspx

Dowling, D., Rose, S., & O'Shea, E. (2015). Reconsidering humanities programmes in Australian universities - Embedding a new approach to strengthen the employability of humanities graduates by empowering them as 'Global Citizens'. Social Alternatives, 34(2), 52–62.

Dwyer, M., & Peters, C. K. (2004). The benefits of study abroad. Transitions Abroad, 37. Retrieved from https://www.transitionsabroad.com/ publications/ magazine/0403/benefits_study_abroad.shtml

European Commission. (2014). The Erasmus impact study. Luxembourg. https://doi.org/10.2766/75468.

Farrugia, C., & Sanger, J. (2017). Gaining an employment edge: The impact of study abroad on 21st century skills & career prospects in the United States. IIE Center for Academic Mobility Research Impact.

Fornasiero, J., Reed, S. M. A., Amery, R., Enomoto, K., Xu, H. L., & Bouvet, É. (Eds.). (2020). Intersections in language planning and policy: Establishing connections in languages and culture. Switzerland: Springer.

Forsey, M., Broomhall, S., & Davis, J. (2012). Broadening the mind? Australian student reflections on the experience of overseas study. Journal of Studies in International Education, 16(2), 128–139. https://doi:2010.1177/1028315311407511

Fry, G. W., Paige, R. M., Jon, J. E., Dillow, J., & Nam, K. A. (2009). Study abroad and its transformative power. (Occasional Paper No. 32). NY: Council on International Education Exchange.

Gayton, A. M. (2018). A context-specific approach to L2 motivation in Anglophone settings: A first step towards theory development. The Language Learning Journal, 46(4), 384–397. https://doi.org/10.1080/09571736.2015.113008

Gulsecen, S., & Kubat, A., (2006).Teaching ICT to teacher candidates using PBL: A qualitative and quantitative evaluation. Educational Technology & Society, 9(2), 96–106.

Graduate Prospects. (2005/6). Prospects directory salary and vacancy survey, Graduate Market Trends (Winter), Graduate Prospects (pp. 11-17), Manchester.

Green, W., King, E., & Gallagher, J. (2019). How can international learning experiences enhance employability? Critical insights from new graduates and the people who employ them. In R. Coelen & C. Gribble (Eds.), Internationalization and Employability in Higher Education, (pp. 25–38). UK: Routledge.

Greenbank, P. (2011). Improving the process of career decision making: An action research approach. Education + Training, 53(4), 252–266.

Hajek, J., & Baldwin, J. (2020) Remembering language studies in Australian universities: An Italian case study.

In J. Fornasiero, S.M.A. Reed, R. Amery, K. Enomoto, H.L. Xu., & É. Bouvet (Eds.). (2020). Intersections in language planning and policy: Establishing connections in languages and culture (pp. 65–82). Switzerland: Springer.

Harrison, H., Birks, M., Franklin, R., & Mills, J. (2017). Cast study research: Foundations and methodological orientations. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 18(1). Available at: https://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/2655/4079

Heller, M., & Duchêne, A. (2012). Pride and profit: Changing discourses of language, capital and nation–state. In A. Duchêne & M. Heller (Eds.), Language in late capitalism (pp. 1–21). NY: Routledge.

Holmes, L. (2013). Competing perspectives on graduate employability: Possession, position or process? Studies in Higher Education, 38(4), 538–554. https://doi:2010.1080/03075079.2011.587140

Humlum, M., Kleinjans, K., & Nielsen, H. (2012). An economic analysis of identity and career choice. Economic Inquiry, 50(1), 39–61. https://doi:2010.1111/j.1465-7295.2009.00234.x

Jackson, D. (2016). Modelling graduate skill transfer from university to the workplace. Journal of Education and Work, 29(2), 199–231. https://doi.org/10.1080/13639080.2014.907486

Jackson, D., & Wilton, N. (2017). Career choice status among undergraduates and the influence of career management competencies and perceived employability, Journal of Education and Work, 30(5), 552–569. https://doi:2010.1080/13639080.2016.1255314

Jackson, J. (2011). Host language proficiency, intercultural sensitivity, and study abroad. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 21(1), 167–189.

Johansson, R. (2003). Case study methodology. A key note speech at the International Conference: Methodologies in Housing Research, Stockholm, 22–24 September 2003. Available at: http://www.psyking.net/HTMLobj-3839/Case_Study_Methodology-_Rolf_Johansson_ver_2.pdf

Johnson, M., & Anderson, C. (2019). The impact of education abroad on competency development. In R. Coelen & C. Gribble (Eds.), Internationalization and Employability in Higher Education, (pp. 49–58). NY: Routledge.

Jones, E. (2013). Internationalization and employability: The role of intercultural experiences in the development of transferable skills. Public Money & Management, 33(2), 95–104. https://doi:2010.1080/09540962.2013.763416%20

Kinash, S. (2020). For university educators: How to embed employability and career-perspectives in the curriculum. Online presentation hosted by University of Melbourne, 29 July 2020.

Kinash, S., Crane, L., Judd, M., & Knight, C. (2016). Discrepant stakeholder perspectives on graduate employability strategies, Higher Education Research & Development, 35(5), 951–967. https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2016.1139555

Kinash, S., Crane, L., Capper, J., Young, M., & Stark, A. (2017). When do university students and graduates know what careers they want: A research-derived framework. Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability 8(1), 3–21. https://doi.org/10.21153/jtlge2017vol8no1art584

Kramsch, C. (2014). Teaching foreign languages in an era of globalization: Introduction. The Modern Language Journal, 98(1), 296–311. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.2014.12057.x

Leach, L., & Zepke, N. (2005). Student decision-making by prospective tertiary students: A review of existing New Zealand and overseas literature. Ministry of Education New Zealand. https://www.minedu.govt.nz/goto/tertiaryanalysis

Leung, C., & Scarino, A. (2016). Reconceptualizing the nature of goals and outcomes in language/s education. The Modern Language Journal, 100 (Supplement 2016), https://doi:2010.1111/modl.12300

Lock, E., & Kelly, K. (2020). Ignorance is risk: An exploratory investigation of Australian higher education students’ perceptions of their education–employment pathways. Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 11(1), 22–36. https://doi.org/10.21153/jtlge2020vol11no1art894

McIlveen, P., Brooks, S., Licjtenberg, A., Smith, M., Torjul, P., & Tyler, J. (2011). Perceptions of career development learning and work-integrated learning in Australian higher education. Australian Journal of Career Development, 20(1), 32–41. https://doi:2010.1177/103841621102000105

Medina-López-Portillo, A. (2004). Intercultural learning assessment: The link between program duration and the development of intercultural sensitivity. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 10, 179–200.

Mendoza, A., & Phung, H. (2019). Motivation to learn languages other than English: A critical research synthesis. Foreign Language Annals 52(1), 121–40. https://doi:2010.1111/flan.12380

Moloney, R. (July, 3, 2018). Learning languages early is key to making Australia more multilingual. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/learning-languages-early-is-key-to-making-australia-more-multilingual-99085

Molony, J., Sowter, B., & Potts, P. (2011). QS Global Employer Survey Report 2011. QS Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd. https://content.qs.com/qs/qs-global-employer-survey-2011.pdf.

Mueller, B. (2021). It’s all in the mind: Developing new ways of thinking and acting during a semester abroad: An Australian case study. In E. Mikulec, S. Potempa & K. Pike Inman (Eds.), Education Abroad: Learning Environments in a Global Context (pp. 19–37). Information Age Publishing.

Munro, K. (June, 1, 2016). Why students are turning away from learning foreign languages. Sydney Morning Herald. https://www.smh.com.au/education/why-students-are-turning-away-from-learning-foreign-languages-20160610-gpg6ek.html

Oakes, L. (2013). Foreign language learning in a ‘monoglot culture’: Motivational variables amongst students of French and Spanish at an English university. System: An International Journal of Educational Technology and Applied Linguistics, 41(1), 178–191. https://doi 10.1016/j.system. 2013.01.019

Oguro, S., & Mueller, B. (2020). Learning abroad and graduate employability: Challenges articulating international learning outcomes. In E. Heinrich & R. Bourke (Eds.), Research and Development in Higher Education: Next generation, Higher Education: Challenges, Changes and Opportunities, 42 (pp 85 – 93). Australia: HERDSA. https://opus.lib.uts.edu.au/bitstream/10453/140018/1/Oguro%20and%20Mueller%202020_Learning%20Abroad%20and%20Graduate%20Employability.pdf

Oliver, B., & Jorre de St Jorre, T. (2018). Graduate attributes for 2020 and beyond: Recommendations for Australian higher education providers. Higher Education Research & Development, 37(4), 821–836. https://doi:2010.1080/07294360.2018.1446415

Otsuji, E., & Pennycook, A. (2010). Metro-lingualism: Fixity, fluidity and language in flux. International Journal of Multilingualism, 7, 240–254. https://doi10.1080/14790710903414331

Parks, A., Mills, J., Weber, D., & Westwell, M. (2017). Ready or not, here I come! Learning to support year 12 students’ university study choices. Conference Proceedings, HERDSA Conference, 2017.

Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia. (2020). Higher Education Support Amendment (Job-Ready Graduates and Supporting Regional and Remote Students) Bill 2020. https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/legislation/bills/r6584_aspassed/toc_pdf/20107b01.pdf;fileType=application%2Fpdf

Potts, D. (2015). Understanding the early career benefits of learning abroad programs. Journal of Studies in International Education, 19(5), 441–459. https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315315579241

Potts, D. (2016). Outcomes of learning abroad programs. International Education Association of Australia. https://www.ieaa.org.au/documents/item/750.

Potts, D. (2018). Learning abroad and employability: Researching the connections. IEEA Research Digest. https://www.ieaa.org.au/documents/item/1267

Prospect Marketing. (2006). The attitudes and perceptions of Australian employers towards an overseas study experience. Melbourne, Australia: Queensland Education and Training International and the International Education Association of Australia.

Thompson, A. (2017). Language learning motivation in the United States: An examination of language choice and multilingualism. The Modern Language Journal, 101(3), 483–500. https://doi:2010.1111/modl.12409

Trede, F., Macklin, R., & Bridges, D. (2012). Professional identity development: A review of the higher education literature. Studies in Higher Education, 37(3), 365–384, https://10.1080/03075079.2010.521237

Universities Australia (2016). More Australian students see the value of study abroad. https://www.universitiesaustralia.edu.au/Media-and-Events/media-releases/More-Australian-students-see-the-value-of-study-abroad#.XJLgp7hxXIU

Universities Australia (2019). Career Ready Graduates. http://acen.edu.au/career-ready-graduates-ua-report/

Young B., & Harper C. (2004). Australian student mobility through exchange: A Universities 21 case study. Paper presented at the 18th IDP Australian International Education Conference, Sydney, 5–8 October.

Young, E. (June, 5, 2018). Should we insist Aussie kids learn a second language? https://www.sbs.com.au/news/should-we-insist-aussie-kids-learn-a-second-language

Yorke, M. (2006). Employability in higher education: what it is-what it is not (Vol. 1). York: Higher Education Academy.

Published
2021-05-18
How to Cite
Mueller, B., & Robert, J. (2021). Two sides of the same coin? Internationalisation and employability - students’ perceptions of employability and career outcomes from International Studies. Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 12(2), 19-35. https://doi.org/10.21153/jtlge2021vol12no2art973
Section
JOURNAL PAPERS