EDU/DEV Series | How might common practices with international students perpetuate ‘othering’?

9th November 2023

Jenna Mittelmeier – University of Manchester


The presence of large numbers of international students has had a significant impact on higher education practices, which frame the teaching settings of many teaching and support staff in the sector. This has led to a wide range of practices aimed to support international students’ transitions and success in their programmes. However, many of these practices (often inadvertently) tend to focus on a deficit framing of what international students lack, while simultaneously homogenising their experiences and needs. This presentation reflects on whether universities and teaching staff may be othering international students through ‘us versus them’ mentalities about their backgrounds, identities, and prior learning experiences. Considerations will also be made for moving towards more ethical and transformative future practices, reflecting on how staff can purposefully dismantle harmful othering in our work with international students.

Dr Jenna Mittelmeier is a Senior Lecturer in International Education at the University of Manchester, where her research broadly focuses on the internationalisation of higher education. She is particularly interested in the experiences of and practices with international students, including the ethical internationalisation of curricula and pedagogies. She convenes an Internationalisation Practitioner Network and is lead editor for the upcoming book Research with International Students.