Internationalism – An Overview

Cooperation and adaptation are the key elements of Internationalism. It is all about understanding different nations across the world and maintaining cordial and friendly relations on all fronts in order to benefit mutually.

In our fast growing world, we can witness around us that people are already ‘ going international ‘ in the sense they are freely moving across borders. It is individual choice one needs to make between nationalism or internationalism, i.e whether to look inwards and feel contented with the nation and nationality they belong to or to get drawn towards other nationalities and their nature of thinking.

When it comes to international education what a student develops is not only the ideologies of cultural harmony, academic engagement and English proficiency but an overall international understanding. It prepares a student to be equipped to lead a productive life as part of an increasingly globalised world.

Internationalism has several benefits in various aspects of society. But one should not run the risk of losing roots and lose insight of their own traditional and cultural values. There are some drawbacks in every system and although there might seem some in internationalism, what we need to see is beyond the now and look into tomorrow, when this system will benefit the local, national, and international society as a whole.

– Simi Sheffi
  Primary Coordinator, International Centre for Excellence

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What is really ‘Internationalism’ in Schools?

“Mom, why don’t you teach me the way you teach in your school?” my ten year old told me, while I was researching on a topic, to be taught in school the next day.

“Is that because you are in an international school and I am not? I wish you could send me too, to an international school”.

Ha! how I wish all schools could teach the ‘international’ way!

But what is really ‘internationalism’ in schools?

While I was with ‘The Hindu’ in their NIE department, I had the good fortune to visit and teach at number of educational institutions, many of which claimed to be ‘international’. Back then for me, ‘internationalism’ was a ‘cool’ term. It meant a HUGE campus with lush green landscape, a cafeteria serving global cuisine, ‘white’ kids and teachers, may be horse riding and golf as extra curricular activities. And then, I had the chance to visit a school which claimed to be international AND it broke all my preconceived notions. It wasn’t huge, no ‘foreign’ crowd, extracurricular was music and dance and to top it, they followed the state syllabus! Ok, so one myth busted!

So again, how is international, international?

I think, being international doesn’t come with the ‘name tag’ but it’s the approach and attitude of a school. It is on us as teachers and the school management, to see, howwell is it embedded in our curriculum. What is our goal? What do we want our kids to be?

Internationalism in schools should be ‘internationalional mindedness’ in ‘international education’ and when I mention‘international education’, it is

  • NOT studying the history and geography of other countries or
  • NOT having a strong foreign language department (though both might help)

International education should focus on global issues and not just of a particular country or culture. It should encourage students to understand that all cultures have equal validity and to practice tolerance and understanding, leading to a peaceful world.

Howard Gardner describes “declining ego-centrism” as the basis of human development. Therein perhaps lies the most helpful way of considering what international-mindedness might be: a journey from ‘self’ to ‘other’. If we can help our students to develop a strong sense not only of themselves and their own identity, which is crucial, but alongside that, a deep sense and awareness of other peoples, cultures, countries and customs, then we offer them a great chance to be truly 21st century global citizens. Living in such an interconnected world as we now do, and facing complex challenges –ranging from climate change, to terrorism, to poverty elimination – will require a generation of problem solvers and creative thinkers, who see problems not from one perspective but from many.

If we are an INTERNATIONAL school, we should strive to nurture our kids into Global Citizens. Someone, who is aware of the wider world and has a sense of their own role as a world citizen, takes responsibility of their actions, respects and values diversity, participates and contributes to the community from local to global level and is willing to act to make the world a more sustainable place!

– Shynara Reddy
Primary English Facilitator, International Centre for Excellence
References taken from:, Slide

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International Awareness

This is something that learners of all ages need, for even young children come face to face with the controversial issues of our time through the media and modern communications technology.

Far from promoting one set of answers, an internationally minded education encourages students to explore, develop and express their own values and opinions, whilst listening to and respecting other peoples’ points of view.

We aim to encourage international awareness in young people by developing an international mindset and intercultural understanding, giving students the skills and knowledge to participate in an increasingly global society.

– Kassi John
  French Facilitator, International Centre for Excellence

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Time and again we have debated on the definition of Internationalism.

A student once told me that Internationalism is a movement towards creating a global village. To elucidate further I added ….it is one big umbrella under which people from different countries benefit from each other in spite of cultural differences and this in turn helps people to think in terms of the whole human race. We all know that Internationalism has brought about various economic, political, cultural and educational benefits.

Being an educationist, I’m interested more in expressing my thoughts on international education. Today International Schools are mushrooming in India and why is it so? It helps students to think from a global prospective and make positive contribution to a larger community. It connects students from different countries and helps them understand different cultures, embrace cultural differences and bring about International mindedness.

I believe that international mindedness is a frame of the mind and not something which can be taught.Schools should develop a strong sense of the ‘other’ in students. We should create problem solvers who can deal with problems that have no clear cut solutions. We need to create creative thinkers who can communicate clearly and work with others across races and nationalities.

If you ask, has the student community benefited from international education? The answer is …..Yes! As most Universities have opened doors to deserving foreign students. Moreover,besides creating a culturally varied environment, these Universities enable global education.

Now,does International education help in bringing about Internationalism?Does Internationalism always help Nations to be linked together with bonds of love, goodwill and cooperation? All these questions loom large in the horizon.

Do weigh both the pros and cons before drawing a conclusion.

– Geetha Somanathan
Secondary Coordinator, International Centre for Excellence

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