Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. Goli Rezai-Rashti


Internationalization, as a response to globalization, is one of the key drivers and shapers of the fundamental changes transforming the world of higher education. There is a need to understand internationalization within higher education from the vantage point of the domestic and international students who are currently being educated because their experiences testify to the provision of quality education. Using a Case Study approach this research explores ways that the internationalization of higher education impacts students’ intercultural relations, identities, intercultural sensitivity, critical understandings, notions of citizenship and futures. A postcolonial perspective is used to explore how students perceive the influences of globalization. Contemporary ideological constructions of globalization are seen in historical and cultural contexts and not as naturalized and reified economic processes. Various themes were identified in international Chinese and domestic students’ accounts of their experiences of internationalization at a Canadian university including: education and marketization, academic pressure and performance, language, intercultural connections and barriers, and cultural hybridity. Results indicated that students are impacted by internationalization in complex and contradictory ways. The Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) was used as a tool to demonstrate growth in students’ intercultural sensitivity. The intercultural experiences students discussed in interviews were difficult to compare with the inventory results. The IDI did not, in the space of one academic year, capture the finer nuances and changes in students’ intercultural growth and sensitivity. Students’ intercultural sensitivity did not necessarily progress or improve with increased intercultural contact and in some cases, it decreased.