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Internationalisation in Chinese Higher Education in the time of the Belt and Road Initiative: The experience of Harbin Institute of Harbin Institute of Technology

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sara GanassinORCiD, Dr Müge SatarORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of a conference proceedings (inc. abstract) that has been published in its final definitive form by IVEC , 2020.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


This paper shares insights from a transnational project on internationalisation at home (IaH) in the context of Chinese Higher Education. The project ‘Enhancing Internationalisation of Chinese Higher Education Institutions: An Intercultural Approach, 中国高校国际化建设:跨文化的路径’ is a partnership between ECLS, Newcastle University, UK and the School of English, Harbin Institute of Technology, PRC. The project seeks to investigate opportunities and issues in internationalisation of Chinese HE with focus on internationalisation at home. The current strategy of the Chinese Ministry of Education in relation to ‘opening education to the outside world’ focuses on the promotion of student mobility, the development of joint international degrees along with teacher training and ‘study abroad’ programmes. However, despite the increasing number of students and staff able to study and work abroad, the large majority of those involved in Chinese HE do not get access to such opportunities. In our project, we are particularly interested in how the physically non-mobile majority of students and staff understand and experience internationalisation. We report on our preliminary findings that show that students, staff, and administrators at HIT see VE as an opportunity both for themselves (individual level) and for their institution (strategic level). In the participants’ views, advantages of VE over physical mobility include sustainability, replicability, digital skills development, and environmental friendliness. More importantly, VE might provide an inclusive way of accessing an international and intercultural experience to students and staff members who cannot take part in international physical mobility programmes for various reasons (e.g. caring duties and limited financial means). The paper offers an exploration of internationalisation in the context of Chinese Higher Education and it argues how the development of VE has the potential to enhance internationalisation and global engagement of Chinese HEIs.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ganassin S, Satar M, Song L

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: The International Virtual Exchange Conference (IVEC)

Year of Conference: 2020

Online publication date: 14/09/2020

Acceptance date: 30/08/2020

Date deposited: 27/10/2020

Publisher: IVEC