WHY INTERNATIONALISATION OF DESIGN EDUCATION BENEFITS UK STUDENTS
Editor: Guy Bingham, Darren Southee, John McCardle, Ahmed Kovacevic, Erik Bohemia, Brian Parkinson
Author: Clive Hilton
Institution: Coventry University
Chinese design students are drawn to the UK for a variety of reasons, not least of which is a consequent increase in their worth in a post-graduation employment market. By undertaking a UK design education Chinese and other international students can demonstrate to potential employers a willingness to undertake difficult challenges allied with a capacity to collaborate productively in a transcultural context. Such prime qualities command a premium in a competitive global employment market. Notwithstanding the benefits that visiting international students gain from studying in the UK, such rewards are not confined solely to visiting international students. At Coventry University, undergraduate design students have the opportunity to experience a culturally disruptive experience by way of a ten-week studentship at Chinese institutions with which the University has established collaborative relationships. The skills they acquire are globally relevant and help open the door to opportunities not available to those UK students who choose to adopt a more parochial approach to their design learning journey. Through case study, this paper explores the advantages that UK design students can also gain from being exposed to transcultural collaborative learning experiences among Chinese students both in the UK and within Chinese higher design educational institutions. It also offers insights that challenge Western preconceptions of the stereotypical Chinese learner and suggests that unquestioning adherence to cultural expectations risks missed pedagogical opportunities that can benefit UK and international students alike.