Students as global citizens

1st February 2022 : 14:00 - 15:00

Category: Webinar

Speaker: Xi Tao, Institute of Education, UCL; Stephanie Mitsuko Kukita, Soka University

Location: Zoom webinar, registration required

Audience: Public

Chinese Students Study Abroad Experience and Sense of Being Global Citizens

Speaker: Xi Tao

Given the dramatically increasing number of Chinese students who study abroad under the impact of globalisation, the new era of China’s development calls for international higher education with the aim of cultivating global citizens who are able to learn, participate and contribute to an interconnected world of diversity, complexity and uncertainty. To fulfil the literature gap in understanding the relationship between Chinese students’ global citizenship and their study abroad experience, this research explores how Chinese international students perceive themselves as global citizens and what specific skills they have developed while studying in the UK. The research applies a qualitative approach within a longitudinal case study consisting of questionnaires and in-depth interviews undertaken at the beginning, middle and end of students’ postgraduate programme from September 2019 to July 2020.

Based on Transformative Learning Theory, the findings demonstrate that overseas study can enhance students’ global outlook, intercultural competence, critical thinking, life skills, academic skills, social engagement and digital literacy. There is also strong evidence that Chinese students’ sense of social justice was enhanced under the impact of COVID-19. The research identifies the experience of being out of comfort zone, encountering otherness, pedagogical adjustment, social participation and accessing global media as the primary triggers for GC development.

Personalized and Dynamic: Life Experiences Tailor How Young People Engage Locally and Globally

Speaker: Stephanie Mitsuko Kukita

In recent years, there has been a growing movement among higher education institutions to implement programs promoting global citizenship. Nevertheless, these programs have often been designed based on what key stakeholders determine as desired qualities of ‘global citizens’ without much consideration as to how their approaches may be received by learners. According to Bronfenbrenner’s Process-Person-Context-Time framework, personal interactions and experiences could uniquely shape one’s development as a human being—e.g., learner’s life experiences could influence their perceptions and engagement with various societal issues as well as how they embody characteristics associated with global citizenship. This study consisted of interviews with 22 students in Japan when they were in senior high school, of which five were interviewed four to five years later as university students. The findings show that young people engage in various activities in personalized and dynamic ways. Personalized in that their views and ways of engagement are shaped by their life journeys—i.e., how they perceive the world, their interests in societal issues, and/or their desires to participate in civic activities could be different depending on their life experiences. Their views and engagement are dynamic in that it could change depending on the context they are placed in and their circumstances over time. Thus, what is assumed as best practices for global citizenship education (GCE) may not be equally effective for all learners, and therefore, it is important to consider individual learner contexts when implementing GCE within higher education.

This webinar is part of the free public seminar programme hosted by the Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE).