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Note From the Editor: Inclusive Diversity, Leave or Remain?

VU International News and Reviews No. 98 September 25 2017

September 2017

My previous Newsletter showed that students from less represented groups in the UK are less likely to go abroad than students from more privileged backgrounds. There is no reason to believe that this is a typically British problem, on the contrary. Research from the US and more anecdotal evidence from continental Europe shows that internationalisation is still a perk for the happy few.

Engaged universities may not content themselves with such a situation. They should pool their resources, their ability to collect, improve, build on, and design new best practices to give students from underrepresented groups an equal opportunity to profit from an international experience in their HE studies.

Let me tread on more dangerous grounds: might it be that internationalisation is not only for the happy few but also preaching for the converted? I would argue that students learning to the Leave-camp, to Marine le Pen, Geert Wilders or Alternative für Deutschland, are less likely to have a study abroad experience – or at least a study abroad experience which has the required pre- and post-departure guidance.

This is an excellent opportunity and a fearsome challenge for universities professing societal relevance in addition to academic excellence.

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