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The Challenge

Internationalisation is an important topic for the University of Twente which can be read in the policy documents Vision 2020 and 2020: Educating the Global Citizens - Internationalization Vision, The challenge formulated in these documents is the following.

The University of Twente has decided that by the year 2020 all Bachelor programmes should be taught in English to enable more international students studying in Twente. When international students enter the classroom, the international classroom emerges. This international classroom is different from a domestic classroom; existing manners of teaching might not work for students with a different cultural background. Integrating the domestic and the international students requires special attention.

A second challenge lies in preparing our students for an international labour market and work place where they probably will have to work with colleagues from different cultures. This requires competencies in intercultural communication and an international view on the subject of study that have to be developed in the programme.

In the sections below you can find links to collected resources that can help you taking on these challenges. For further information or advice on this topic you are most welcome to contact the Expertise team on Internationalisation from the Centre of Expertise on Learning and Teaching: Chantal Scholten and Marie-José Verkroost, or to participate in the course How to teach the international classroom.


1. Which forms of internationalisation exist?

Over the years internationalisation is influenced by external and internal social, economic, political and academic factors (Beelen& De Wit, 2012). It is clear however that internationalisation is more than students going abroad or teaching in the English language.

Nowadays there is much more attention for internationalisation of staff and the curriculum. This happened because institutions felt the need to prepare all students for life in a global society, so also the non-mobile majority of domestic or home students. Internationalisation at home–activities help all students to develop international understanding and intercultural skills. So it is much more curriculum-oriented: preparing your students to be active in a much more globalised world.

To learn more about internationalisation and what internationalisation at home is, you can read the article of Beelen and Jones (2015) who define internationalisation at home as the purposeful integration of international and intercultural dimensions into the formal and informal curriculum of all students within the domestic learning environments.

2. Why is internationalisation important?
3. What characterizes the international students?

Knowing the cultural and educational background of foreign students and which problems they are facing is essential for good communication with your students and to adapt to your students’ needs.

4. How do we prepare international students for their stay at the University of Twente?

The University of Twente offers a variety of services especially designed and organised to support incoming international students. These are, amongst others:

5. Which teacher competences support teaching an international classroom?

Teaching in an international classroom requires extra efforts and competences from the teacher. It is good to be aware of these to make a plan for personal development.

  • The International Competences Matrix from Els van der Werff offers an overview of the competences a teacher needs at different levels of mastery. The vision behind the matrix is described in a short article on The Development of Competent Teaching Staff.
  • Cultural Intelligence (CQ) is a person’s capability to function effectively in situations characterized by cultural diversity. Linn van Dyne keeps a website on this topic. The Cultural Intelligence Scale (CQS) is developed to measure this. Click here to get the instrument to score your own cultural intelligence.
  • Intercultural competence and related global learning outcomes are increasingly becoming a priority for postsecondary institutions to assess. This chapter on Assessing Intercultural Competence from Carla Deardorff discusses the complexities of assessing this outcome.
6. How do you develop a curriculum with an internationalisation focus?


7. Do you have tips on teaching and learning in an international classroom?

We have found a vast amount of tips on the Internet for teaching and learning in the international classroom. This is our selection:

8. How do you assess in an international classroom?

Assessment is an important aspect of education and of very high importance to international students because they all want their studies to be a success. It is therefore important to take into account the cultural differences regarding assessment and marking.

  • Cultures differ in their attitude towards plagiarism. In the Netherlands it is important to be creative and unique, while in other cultures it is very normal to use the ideas of others. In International students and plagiarism: A review of the literature by Bethany Hall an overview is given.
  • The report Assessment and Feedback from the Higher Education Academy identifies problems teachers encounter when assessing and giving feedback to international students and offers possible solutions. Topics addressed are, amongst others, how to connect to students’ prior experiences, clarification of what is expected, marking criteria, and feedback strategies.

9. How can you stimulate the integration of domestic and international students?

Dutch and international students do not mix automatically. When they are mixed and work together in a project, this will not always be successful.

  • How can you stimulate students to mix?
  • How can you support students working together in a project?

An answer to these questions is provided in the following articles:

Experiences at UT

Faculty ITC
The Faculty ITC of the UT has experience with teaching international students for more than 65 years; mainly catering for students from less-developed countries. All students and many staff members are international. The Master programme acquired the special feature Internationalisation from the Dutch-Flemish accreditation organisation in 2015.Incoming students are supported by a two week introduction programme, facilities such as administrative, housing, visa and study support. The content of the Master programme is truly international.

International Business Administration
The educational Bachelors Program International Business Administration (IBA) and Masters Program Business Management (BA) already have the international EPAS accreditation (international programme accreditation for Business/Management programmes). This is a good step in the direction to also receive the NVAO distinctive feature internationalization.

One of the things that IBA does is that they offer an acculturation workshop (a workshop about intercultural awareness) to the first year students at the beginning of each new academic year.

Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS)
The Faculty EEMCS has developed a learning track for academic skills that will be used in all Bachelor programmes in the Faculty. One element of this track, to be used in the first module of all Bachelor programmes, focusses on Intercultural communication. Several programmes in this Faculty are being taught in English and attract international students. The programmes offer activities to integrate the international students with the domestic students.

Contact persons
Chantal Scholten MSc
Educational advisor CES-CELT

Dr. Marie-José Verkroost
Educational advisor CES-CELT