The Internationalization of Higher Education: A US Perspective


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Virginia Tech


Globalization affects many sectors of society. Higher education is no exception. Universities worldwide respond to challenges presented by globalization in various ways. One response is the internationalization of the university campus. This paper argues that many US higher education research institutions engage in processes of internationalization. This study examines the geography of international education programs associated with US research institutions and shows that world cities emerge as popular places for US institutions to interact with other universities. The paper contributes to both educational and globalization literature by examining on a macro-scale the internationalization programs associated with US research institutions.

This research shows that Paris, Tokyo, Seoul, London, and Melbourne emerge as the top five locations for US abroad activities among the universities studied. While in many instances US abroad programs displayed characteristics that allowed students and researchers the opportunity to gain exposure to another language and culture, some abroad programs expanded the opportunities for participants by including the opportunity to work and interact with international firms and pursue degrees (international business, masters of economics, and international law) that make individuals competitive in the global employment market. Finally, this research shows that many US universities locate abroad programs in world cities. Although no clear reason or relationship for this phenomenon emerged during the course of this research, it illustrates and area for potential further study in a variety of fields.



Internationalization, Transnationalization, Education, Higher, Cities