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International education – How do you define “international education”?



International education

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) chooses to define international education according to the following criteria.

  • Developing citizens of the world in relation to culture, language and learning to live together
  • Building and reinforcing students’ sense of identity and cultural awareness
  • Fostering students’ recognition and development of universal human values
  • Stimulating curiosity and inquiry in order to foster a spirit of discovery and enjoyment of learning
  • Equipping students with the skills to learn and acquire knowledge, individually or collaboratively, and to apply these skills and knowledge accordingly across a broad range of areas
  • Providing international content while responding to local requirements and interests
  • Encouraging diversity and flexibility in teaching methods
  • Providing appropriate forms of assessment and international benchmarking.
This is similar, but not identical, to the way international education is defined by other sources. On Wikipedia, for example, the first definition offered is:
“…education that transcends national borders by the exchange of people, for example, by students travelling to study at an International Branch Campus, as part of a study abroad program or as part of a student exchange program.”
The second definition is the one the the IB would share, suggesting that international education is a:
“…comprehensive approach to education that intentionally prepares students to be active and engaged participants in an interconnected world.”
There is clearly a distinction in the definition of what international education really is.
What are your thoughts on the true nature of international education?

  • In addition to all the things written above, International Education is that feeling of partnership you get when talking to anyone else in the world they’re worried because they don’t perfectly understand what’s ‘perestroika’ and neither do you.

  • X-mam35

    International education is the key to knowledge. It teaches you how to live in an international context, and prepares you to life. It’s gonna be easier to travel, to meet new people and to find a great job. I’m glad I make part of this adventure, even if a lot say that’s hard, I guess I’m ready to handle international education in September!

  • Wow. I read this question 5 hours ago and I am still thinking… I am an IB Diploma graduate (45 points, if you are wondering!) and have studied and lived abroad since then, often working across borders. I guess that self-reflection and lifelong learning are key to international education as boundaries change, languages evolve and people interact…

  • Gaby, that’s great! I’d like to have students with the scores like yours in future as we’re just starting IB. I am greatly interested in TOK and would like to know what was TOK for you?

  • Andresjo13

    International education is just what it says, an oportunity to achieve knowledge from all the globe, knowing new cultures, lenguages, and habits. All this learning allows us to think in a diferent context, one more tolerant to the things we don’t know.
    As an IB Diploma graduate, I’m sure that the program is a wonderful tool for people who wants to get succes.

  • An international education should expose you to new and conflicting paradigms. In the end, it should make you a better listener, a better observer and ultimately a better innovator and communicator.
    Because you take no one way of living or knowing as a default, you learn to choose, to delay judgment of others and to care more freely.

  • Anonymous

    Some really great answers…many of them try to reach the root of the question. Perhaps there is no true definition…perhaps the true meaning of international education is in what is to come from internationally educated generations.

  • International Education

    “It’s not a relief plan.
    It’s not a love note.
    It’s not a million signatures.
    The most powerful way to
    help change the world
    is with a university degree
    that gives you both
    knowledge and experience.
    The better educated we are.
    The better our world will become.
    Start today.
    Make a difference tomorrow.”

    UniSA television commercial

  • International Education

    “It’s not a relief plan.
    It’s not a love note.
    It’s not a million signatures.
    The most powerful way to
    help change the world
    is with a university degree
    that gives you both
    knowledge and experience.
    The better educated we are.
    The better our world will become.
    Start today.
    Make a difference tomorrow.”

    UniSA television commercial

  • Nicholas_tait

    The one thing that binds us all together as an international race, regardless of age, gender, race or creed is the environment in which we live. It is as interconnected as the air we breathe, the water that makes us whole and the food that fuels our every day – yet, where is this recognised within the studies embarked upon by IB students? Where is the opportunity for environmental subjects to sit within the IB framework? Where is the chance for students to trulely engage and understand the environment in which they live, breathe, drink and eat – our environment shapes the very beings we are.
    I am a teacher of Outdoor and Environmental Education in a school being enveloped by the IB program. My subject and it’s students may be likened to an Amazonian Rainforest – soon to be gone forever…
    Education or marketing a buisness? Sad.

  • Belinda Baxter

    We are educating young people for an undefined future on the global stage. The world has become smaller with the enhancement of communications using technology.

  • Zane Dickey

    An international education should also focus on the big questions Political, Social, Economic, and Environmental problems with the focus on searching for real world solutions to these problems through non-violent means. Students begin to look at the world in which we live as US and WE. WE, as global citizens, work to make the world better for all.

  • International education also resembles the unity of the nation and the unity of people from various regions..Its really a great thought of introducing the international study.

  • Yvonne

    I am interested in how U.S. institutions can better serve international students studying online. What are some of the challenges administrators in a U.S. online institution face when advising international students online? Is it assumed that the administrative processes used by institutions can meet the needs of students globally?

  • Asna Khan88

    International education is the first step towards creating a better World for all .

  • Very good education, thx for nice post

  • Nemajournal

    Learn to live internationally you mean like the international communication and cooperation I experience while playing games on my computer over the internet – and it didn’t cost my town a thing. By the way how can you set IB standards of assesment and education while also encouraging “diversity anf flexibility in teaching methods” If there is true diversity anf flexibility then there is no need for IB.

  • Swati

    I think international education is really the global approach towareds learning about knowledge that has been created by individuals who reside in diverse economic, political, cultural, and language systems. Through international exchange of knowledge, educators and students close the gap between the various systems that exist. It’s really about uniting the world through shared knowledge whether be it in math, science, english, or the arts.

  • Karuna Arya

    Well, the word INTER itself express its value, and true sense of education reflects genuinely when student interconnect with all carrying high respect in regard to their culture and individualities. If we can’t assist our student to be ready for all this then we as teachers try to become a student again to learn the seriousness of this issue called international education .
    In spite of reducing positive energy in debate for limitation, we should try to over come by adopting collaborative approach to attain success and peace.

  • Nora

    I totally agree. I for one always wonders on how we can give an international education when most of the educators in these IB school are from only certain parts of the world. We need more diversity in our teaching corps as well as the administrative cadres of the IB schools. I believe that the more representative the teaching staff is the more diverse the teaching methods and exposure the students will have. This prepares them to face the world in all angles and not just in a “western” way.

  • Ggraham3

    Still a bit confused- but am I really?

    “International” as a term has been defined as:
    (A company, language or organization) that involves more than one country.

    “Education” :The process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, esp. at a school or university: “a new system of public education”.

    So together it seems IB should be promoting- The process of receiving or giving systematic instruction involving more than one country. Yet, IB promotes:is similar, but not identical, to the way international education is defined by other sources.

    (So kids from the very start are told one thing in dictionaries (Webster in this cases…)- and are asked by IB to modify and internalize and reformat that which is already logical and quite easy to understand?)

    Thus- upfront- IB seems to be just another “frame work” in which to place currently non functioning content – developing methods – into a “new” construct and run with it.


    Inquiry: Learning by asking questions is fantastic when a “developed” prior knowledge exists and gaps can be acknowledged by the student asking the questions. But what happens when the prior knowledge is not there to work off of?

    Answer: A blank stare, loss of focus, frustration, and acting out!

    IB needs to be able to have someone ask a student:
    What did you do in school today?

    And the student should reply- almost in every case!
    In school today we learned how to ask a question. We used these tools to help us work out the problems. We met and came up with a decision to act. I took away from this lesson………

    I understand that learning starts when a “gap” in experience is comprehended.

    Case in point:

    A baby tries to walk. Trips and falls. Gets hurt. Tries again a different way. Walks and does not
    get hurt. (Lesson Learned?) Does baby internalize all that we think he does? Or does he simply
    do something that works for him?

    I’m guessing the latter- Inquiry? Possibly….? What was the question? I can’t tell myself, the baby did not “ask” one….. The baby simply acted differently on the second try.

    Call it what you may. Doing things, what ever the “things” are, successfully, indicates learning taking place. Assessment of successes and or failures is learning over time.

    IB….. It allows a mistake to take place, and an even greater ability to learn from it.

  • Lucila Sotomayor

    When the word International is introduced in any setting, conversation, environment my mind links it immediately to interconnected. This idea takes a deeper meaning when I visit a different community, city or country from the one I spend most of my time in. Even within my own family, or being with a different age group… there are always ways, situations, words that I am not used to but which enrich my own perspective of the world I live in. Based on what I have just said, I envision the true nature of international education as one that provokes and fosters this interconnectedness…

  • Margaret

    I read with interest and try and picture what you are saying. I think that I am quite successful in teaching international education as I am lucky in the subject area of economics that allows me to discuss international economies. However, I find that sometimes my students are not really interested in some of the countries that I mention as case studies – is it because they do not know much about the country or is it that they think that the country has nothing to offer the young minds? I also find that international education is always something discussed in the classroom only and once they leave my classroom, are they still interested enough to try and apply to other areas of their student life; for example, maybe thinking about how they can help a child living below the poverty line when they are throwing away a half eaten packet of crisps because they did not like the flavour….

  • An education that instills “situational unflappability”, a growth mindset.

  • International education is like education for everyone. It’s really important and must be valued, help those kids who cannot able to go to school due to some financial problems.

  • International education is like education for everyone. It’s really important and must be valued, help those kids who cannot able to go to school due to some financial problems..

  • Mounds Park Academy

    Great job on helping to clarify this definition! Thank you for sharing

  • Page Private School

    Thanks for sharing, internal education can indeed carry multiple definitions as you’ve pointed out.

  • I think it’s important in today’s world to incorporate education across the culture/country lines. We live globally, so it only makes sense to learn about other countries and reach out with an open mind.

  • What an important element of education that is too often missed. Making an effort to teach children about cultural awareness and diversity is the only way for us to succeed globally.

  • prof premraj pushpakaran writes — let us celebrate International Environmental Education Day!!!