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The rise in the number of international students, in the UK over the last decade, has led to a growth in the cultural diversity of many UK universities. While many recognise the cultural enrichment that these students bring to the University Killick, 2008, there is growing concern at the academic performance, of these students. While considerable effort has been expended on recruiting an increasing number of international students, from specific target markets, very little has been spent on understanding the challenges these students face studying in UK universities. This paper will highlight the opportunities to successfully recruit and help students overcome, many of the challenges, and adapt to the learning style of higher education in the UK. The results reveal that if universities are to claim to have a global reach they will need to introduce a strategy to internationalise their university. A claim that many make but the reality of the international student experience, through national student surveys, reveals contradictory findings. Therefore, to help universities develop a coherent and internalised strategy of internationalisation the author has developed a nine stage approach to help universities create an environment that welcomes cultural diversity and aids students and staff to develop a global perspective.

While it could be argued that there is a moral imperative to strive towards global awareness the pragmatic financial forecasts reveal that by 2025 the demand for international education will grow to 7.2 million students and if universities intend to play an active role in this market they urgently need to implement an international strategy. That not only helps international students adapt to the UK academic environment but also permits UK students to gain a much richer academic and cultural experience to help them prepare for a career in industry that is increasingly looking for graduates with a global perspective.
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Keywords: Cultural diversity; higher education; international strategy; internationalisation; student engagement

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2012

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  • The International Journal of Management Cases (IJMC) developed in 2002 from its predecessor The Journal of Management Cases, and present case studies across a broad range of management disciplines. The IJMC is the official journal of the CIRCLE Research Centre. CIRCLE (Centre for International Research Consumers, Locations and their Environments) is a virtual research group spreading over 70 universities.
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